The importance of hang time
A vertical tasting of Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel 2000-2007 and Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc 2001-2008

Paso Robles Big Sky

I spent an hour or so rambling around the vineyard on Monday to get a sense of to what extent we'd been hit by the frosts the mornings of April 25th and 26th.  It looks like the damage was serious -- the worst that we've seen since 2001 -- but hopefully not devastating.  Roussanne and Mourvedre (our two most-planted varietals) were hardly out at all yet, which meant they weren't affected.  Syrah and Viognier seem to have largely escaped.  The varieties that were hit worst were Grenache and Grenache Blanc, particularly in the newer plantings near Tablas Creek.   Overall, I expect an impact of perhaps 25%-35% in the affected varieties, maybe 10%-15% overall.  The walk was, on that level, somewhat reassuring, as I was worried it would be worse.

Plus, mitigating the frost losses, there appears to be a heavier than normal number of flower clusters on the vines.  This would be a good thing; we've had very light crops the past two years.

While I was out I was struck by the openness of the space.  I've noticed it from time to time in Paso Robles, but was particularly struck on Monday.  Perhaps it was the scattering of cirrus clouds; normally the sky is a relatively undifferentiated cloudless blue.  But I managed one shot that captured pretty well the sense of space:

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You can view the entire album, with photos of budbreak and of the frost damage, on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=78059&id=27438997414

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