May 2011

“According to Eric Sussman, “the 2008 harvest worked out well for syrah because we got a true Indian summer, which gave the grapes a last kick up in ripeness, but not too much.” And that was an important point, he added, because “if anything, I like to err on the early side for picking so that freshness is maintained.” He absolutely does not want stewed or heavy character in his wines, he said, and being careful not to let sugars run up in the grapes “is one of the most important tasks of the year, and we like to spend a lot of time on the vineyards.” The 2009 growing season for pinot played into Sussman’s hands almost perfectly, he said. “When you get full maturity with no drop in acidity, that’s pretty much ideal, and that’s what happened in ’09,” he told me. “The down side is that it was dry in the winter and spring, and cool during flowering, so yields were diminished somewhat, so it’s a slight quality/quantity tradeoff.””

–Stephen Tanzer
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