ALDER SPRINGS VINEYARD, Laytonville, Mendocino County, California

It’s a good time to walk the vineyards. It’s summer, the vines are cranking up to produce their amazing fruit and it’s great to see what’s happening out there. I walked the Alder Springs Vineyard – not the whole thing – that would take days; just the part of the vineyard that produces the grapes for TERMINIM. It looks like a bigger, smaller, about the same crop with early, later about the same tracking to ripeness. Confused? So it would seem is the vineyard.

Every vineyard site is tracking at it’s own pace – some are producing an abundant crop, for example – Viognier while others like Syrah at least currently looks like it will be smaller than the past couple of years. It’s going to be both early and late – depending upon the variety, so basically another year of fun in Mendocino.

First, impressions:

Picpoul Blanc – Alder Springs Vineyard “Spirit Rock” / these clusters look smaller than normal to me. I’d say that while in 2018 and 2019 we dropped a bit of fruit we probably won’t have to be aggressive this year. Let’s see how the clusters mature – maybe one pass through to drop some clusters that get tangled into “Fruit Balls”. Otherwise, everything looks great. The purpose of Picpoul Blanc is to add some refreshing acid “zip” to the Cépages d’Or blend.

Syrah – 2 blocks one part from Spirit Rock “Terraces” and one part from the main planting at Spirit Rock. Both sites look small – the clusters are small and the number of clusters per vine appears to be reduced from 2019. If we have luck, then 2020 will be a year for Syrah to remember. We are still almost 2 months from harvest so declaring victory might be premature.

Marsanne – Alder Springs Vineyard “Spirit Rock” / this is looking like a normal sized crop for now. It’s possible that the clusters could fill out with larger grapes later this season but for now it looks beautiful. I really am glad to see the crop size be not overwhelming for 2020.

Roussanne – Alder Springs Vineyard “Spirit Rock” / cluster sizes are somewhat smaller than Marsanne (typical) but otherwise, it also looks like a really great quality crop. The clusters have some missing berries but overall look normal in size with plenty of clusters out there. This will allow us to do proper thinning to get the balance of clusters just right.

Viognier – Alder Springs Vineyard “Spirit Rock” / Alder Springs Vineyard “Cahto Clay Field” – depending upon (no kidding) bears – we may get grapes from either one of these parts of the vineyard. Bears love Viognier. Is it because the Viognier grapes smell like honey? In some years, the bears will roll through the vineyard and decimate the Viognier crop. That’s no fun. The Viognier in the Cépages d’Or cuvée is really there to support the Marsanne/Roussanne majority. It doesn’t have to be dramatically aromatic just a hint of the Viognier perfume in the blend is great.

With some luck – it might be possible to visit again with François Villard next month. I am not holding my breath on that one. 2020 is going to be a lovely year for these 2 Terminim wines. We look forward to sharing the 2020 vintage with you in the coming years!


VINEYARD WALK – July 8, 2020