Now that all of the grapes have been carefully hand-harvested, sorted, destemmed, crushed and fermented, it is time for the verdict: How does this vintage measure up against the others?
Winemaker, Roman Roth, and Vineyard Manager, Richie Pisacano, proclaim they couldn’t be happier. “It was certainly one of the driest years on record,” says Roman, “resulting in rich fruit aromas, great structure and concentration.” Our sustainable farming and viticulture practices help improve the quality of the fruit on the vines every year. Plentiful sunshine all summer long produced fully ripe clusters and nicely tanned skins (yes berries get tan too!).
Richie admits he is usually reluctant to declare a vintage "one of the greatest," especially this early in the winemaking process, but says, "I can't be more thrilled with this vintage and with confidence, believe this to be one of the greatest of my 38 years of Long Island grape growing. The extreme finesse in the vineyard, aligned with the warm, dry and sunny season, brought gorgeous fruit to the winery. These wines will be celebrated for many years to come."
We also broke several records this year. For one, this was the biggest harvest we’ve had so far. It is also the earliest we have ever finished our harvest, hand sorting the final lot on the 28th of October. Additionally, the sugar level for the noble rot grapes reached a record-breaking 73.5 Brix, well above the average of 40 Brix. The last botrytis-infected wine made by Wölffer Estate, Descencia 2012 (now sold out), earned 94 points from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. “This time,” Roman says, “we’re going for 100.”
All of our reds are still macerating on their skins, already showing marvelous character and inky color, with great texture and lushness. Other favorites like our Landius Pinot Noir and Perle Chardonnay are starting their barrel aging, exhibiting their distinct Wolffer characteristic elegance and texture.
For rosé lovers, good news for next summer as winter comes in. 2016 will be the year of Wolffer Rose. As Roman’s renowned pink thumb begins blending our Estate Selection, Summer in a Bottle and Grandioso, his true winemaking artistry comes through. “The key to our success it to strike great balance. That is the path guiding our winemaking” he adds.
The final secret for this year’s glorious harvest – soccer. “We’re playing hard and working hard,” Roman laughs as the harvest team gets ready for the afternoon shift. “Tremendous attention to detail and some TLC will guide this wine securely into bottles holding another fantastic vintage to be enjoyed.