Thursday, April 2, 2009


Rainy, windy, cold...brrrrr...and wonderful all the while. Must never again get caught up in anything that keeps me off Grape Hill. Here now and feeling right about the world. Snow on the Blues. We're into April yet hardly anything has started to bud. The vines remain dormant, so I got lucky in being able to prune this late without concerns.

Grape Hill has not changed, except that we put up "Ramon" (the working name until somebody comes up with another). I tried last night to mount the Bordeaux boxes high up on the center pillar and then realized that this was not worthy of a life or death commitment...balancing on one foot with level and hammer, nails in teeth, twelve feet about the concrete floor and leaning around to measure, level, hammer while hooking my other foot around the pillar. Nope. So, our memories of Bouliac are much closer to ground-level. Still, it is such a pleasure to look at these wineboxes! Each time I glance at these makes me think of collecting soil from Ch Margaux, Ch Mouton, Ch Latour, Ch Laffitte, Ch Haut Brion, Ch Petrus, Ch Cheval Blanc, and Ausone (maybe?). Midnight, in the rain, no signs to go by, and barking dogs getting too close for comfort...maybe Ausone, maybe not...

Soil from each of these vineyards went into the loess soil here in the Little Vineyard. I tried the cabernet this week, the '08 that just came off malolactic fermentation. It is rounding out and far less of the tartness. Not a huge wine and certainly not something noteable, but this could blend really nicely with the syrah. The syrah, on the other hand, gets me on my tippy toes...blueberry and violets, bacon fat and cassis...pretty pretty girl!

I hardly ever go to wineries anymore, tasting more often just with friends or visiting winemakers with friends from elsewhere when we are here together. I really like wine tasting, it's just that Grape Hill is three-dimensional and not a wine thing per se. Walla Walla Brewery is doing some terrific beers. I had my first martini, my first hard liquor drink ever at Grape Hill, the other night. Didn't feel odd in the least. More than anything, I don't drink a whole lot anywhere, so the wine thing is really about the land and farming and connections and celebration rather than about consuming.

There are times when I feel that "king of the world" thing, knowing that having this land is the product of my vision, my effort, and it is REAL. But much more often, I feel privileged to have this Grape Hill in our lives. I feel the responsibility of stewardship and I feel immensely protective, yet the Native American's have it right...nobody can own the land or the sky or the water's flow.

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