Fall 2020 Winemaker Insider

The holidays are traditionally the time of the year when we gather and share memories of the past year with our friends and family. 2020 brought many challenges to everyone so we won't have as many exciting stories and gatherings will be kept to a minimum. Yet, more than ever, it is a time to reach out to those in need and show our appreciation to others. I am very appreciative for all your loyalty, friendships and support. I have heard from many of you who have shared and reflected on special times. You have sent numerous pictures including bottle shots of our wines being part of your festivities. Thank you. It brings me happiness to know that my wine brings some sunshine and enjoyment in your house.

Côterie Bon Vivants

2020 is already Côté Nicault's tenth year, since the first vintage in 2010. To mark this milestone, we created a vertical with one bottle each of the first 3 vintages nestled in a wood box. This is an offer only available through the Côterie Bons Vivants which was created earlier this year. Since its inception in April, the demand to join was a success and prompted us to start a waiting list. It is an exclusive group established for those who live life to its fullest. More than just a wine club, my vision for the CBV is to bring together people who share the same passion for the well-known French joie de vivre, share some epicurean moments and create memories. For more information on the waiting list, please send me an e-mail.

We Crushed 2020!

With the elements forever changing, making wine is never a walk in the park. As winemakers, we need to assess the situation and make the best with what mother nature gives us. It is not a recipe with each year being different; 2020 being 2020, this growing season threw many curveballs at us. Although the weather was unseasonably cool well into the summer, the heat picked up in mid-August and September threatening the physiological maturation with sugar spikes and loss of acidity. When the smoke engulfed the entire region, in mid-September, it reduced the temperatures from the 100' down to the 70'. The photosynthesis came to a halt and the ripening was placed on the back burner; giving space for the hang time and capturing the fruit vibrancy. Heavy smoke or close proximity fires can give an undesirable notes on the palate via the grapes. The trickiest and most nerve-racking part is that the precursors to this smoke taint are bound to the sugars in the berries, making it nearly impossible to detect with our olfactory senses. An alternative was to send grape samples to labs but because of all the fires in California and Oregon, they were totally overwhelmed. So we did multiple micro-fermentations in buckets ahead of harvest to deplete the sugars into alcohol in order to release the smoky compounds in the wine and make it detectable. To our surprise, because the fires were remotely located from our vineyards, we were able to escape basically unscathed.
The 2020 vintage yielded wines with impressive concentrations of color and aromatics doted with silky textures and mouthfeel. In short, these wines could be the best thing to come out of 2020!

2016 Pedestal Merlot

The 2016 Pedestal won "Best in Class / Best Merlot" and double gold in the San Francisco International Wine Competition, a huge honor especially given the significance of this tasting. The Pedestal Merlot is made in partnership with Michel Rolland, one of the most renowned and respected winemakers in the wine world, he has worked in 20 different countries in his career. Since Allen Shoup created Long Shadows in 2003, I have had the privilege to work closely with Michel using unique techniques, such as fermenting Merlot in 1500 gallons upright wood fermenters. The use of wood during fermentation enhances the oak and grape aromatics integration and provide layers of complexity while providing a round and rich mid-palate. The wood provides oxygen and tannins which help protect and stabilize the color pigmentations (anthocyanins) in the wine. We purchase and replace one of these tanks every other year to keep the quality and style of the wine consistent.

Warmest wishes for the holidays and cheers to a healthy 2021!

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