The harvest at Pine Ridge Vineyards is winding down, with the last of our red wines getting pressed off the skins and barreled down for élevage. We saw a compact harvest this year, that is, many of our vineyards ripened close to the same time, so we picked the grapes fast and furiously. While a more leisurely harvest can be preferable, we’re fortunate to have enough feet in the vineyards to constantly monitor each block and row to determine ripeness levels. It’s one of the things that differentiates Pine Ridge, a vine-by-vine attentiveness that allows us to make focused picking decisions.
Though it’s still early to make concrete predictions about the 2021 vintage, I can say that our Cabernet Sauvignons are showing great extraction; they are big, dense and highly concentrated. The name of the game in the cellar this year was tannin management; we monitored our ferments closely, metering the extraction to make sure we drained and pressed the wines before they became too tannic.
I always say that 80-90% of winemaking happens in the vineyards, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the hard work Gustavo and his team put in to bring us incredible grapes this year. Harvest is the culmination of nine months of six-day work weeks for this team, and we appreciate their dedication immensely. I’d also like to recognize the cellar and lab teams for all they’ve done to add to the quality of the vintage. It’s cool to think that when any of us walk into a wine shop years from now and see a bottle of Pine Ridge wine from 2021, we’ll know the blood, sweat and tears that went into producing it.
The three wines in your shipment are from a vintage that was simply stellar. The 2018 FORTIS speaks for itself, and for club members who expect the best of the best, I promise you will not be disappointed. Taken from the finest blocks in our four Stags Leap District AVA vineyards, we’ve blended the ultimate Cabernet Sauvignon with an eye toward cellar worthiness; this wine will soar for at least 20 years.
Charmstone consistently satisfies every palate. From the sophisticated wine connoisseur to the wine novice, it hits that sweet spot of rich fruit, toasty oak, good supporting acid and soft tannins. We’re always overwhelmed by the quality and enjoy every sip.
I love Merlot, it was the first wine that blew my mind, and our 2018 Merlot is up there with my favorites. When Merlot is taken seriously, as it is at Pine Ridge, it has presence and staying power. This one has that velvety texture Merlot is known for, but with an element of tenacity and an underlayer of tannin. It will be best in the next 10-15 years.
We hope you enjoy these wines, and we thank you for your continuing patronage and support. With the holiday season just ahead, we send merry greetings and our sincere wish that you enjoy quality time with your family and friends.