Pinot Noir Harvest 2015: Winemaker Andrew Delos on Harvest Philosophy, Bottling While Picking, and PlayList Wars

by on August 26, 2015

photo_family_andrew_delos

“There’s nothing like listening to a little Rush while bottling, receiving fruit – and glass, simultaneously! – sorting, crushing, doing additions, sampling vineyards, and all with a team of seven people, total. I love this stuff!”

“And the bottling line just broke!”

–Andrew Delos, EnRoute Winemaker

Harvest 2015 has started early in Russian River Valley and it started at full throttle: on Friday, August 14, we brought in our first Russian River Pinot Noir of the season–a full seven days ahead of last year’s harvest–and as of Monday, we’ve been both harvesting the 2015 fruit and bottling our 2014 “Les Pommiers” Pinot Noir! Bottling and harvest are each big projects (to say the least) and having them happen at once is a bit like riding a bike while spinning plates.

When we talked with Andrew on the first day of harvest, and just moments before bottling began, he became philosophical for a moment. “If you think about it, you only get to do [harvest] 50 or so times, and that’s if you’re lucky. This is our eighth harvest. Each year, we learn steps to make it better. Our new single-vineyard project energizes [Assistant Winemaker] Gordon and me, and it adds a layer to harvest which engages us intellectually.”

Andrew has been with EnRoute from the start, making each vintage since the first in 2007. But when he began his university studies, he hadn’t planned on winemaking. He headed off to UC Santa Barbara to become a marine biologist. The school wasn’t a good fit and Andrew escaped to Oregon and a business and economics degree. He happened to pick up a UC Davis course catalog and the enology and viticulture program jumped out at him. “I related to the food and wine culture because I grew up in it,” says Andrew, whose family is in the restaurant business.

One of the most highly anticipated aspects of EnRoute harvests are the Playlist Wars. “It’s all about the music,” he says. “Music makes harvest even more fun.” Each team member has particular music taste so when his/her music comes on, and as harvest intensity ratchets up, the jibes over song choice get better and better. “Kamyn likes popular music. J.P. has been on a real Aerosmith kick. Wham! was on earlier,” he laughs.

Andrew loves the distinct personalities that comprise the small, dedicated EnRoute team. Each year we hire harvest interns to join our core staff. It’s an opportunity for people passionate about wine, viticulture, and/or the beverage industry to get their hands dirty, learn a lot, and have fun–and it’s an opportunity for us to work with some great people!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we highlight individual team members. Cheers to another vintage, to another year working to make the Best Pinot Noir possible, and to our small-but-mighty EnRoute team!

IMG_1298_cropped

post

Springtime in Russian River Valley

by on May 19, 2015

Flowering is underway in the vineyards,and we captured this exciting stage of growth on a perfect spring day. In Green Valley, our Northern Spy Vineyard is showing beautiful flower clusters (second photo). Further north in Windsor, the majority of the caps covering the flowers in our Amber Ridge vineyard (fourth photo) are just about to pop off and stamens are about to emerge. Next up in the life of the grape is fruit set, when the berries begin to form.

NSV 01
Northern Spy Vineyard in Green Valley

NSV 02

 

AR 03
Amber Ridge Vineyard, the backbone of our Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

AR 02

post

Tasting Notes: 2013 EnRoute Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers”

by on March 31, 2015

Our Russian River Valley vineyards have yielded yet another wonderful vintage! Our recently released 2013 EnRoute Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers” presents an alluring combination of flavors with a dense, yet still silky, texture. Read on for a more detailed sensory evaluation from Winemaker Andrew Delos:

06v2-4755

The 2013 EnRoute Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers,” offers explosive aromatics of pomegranate and cherry with hints of perfume, tobacco leaf, mineral, baking spices and a lovely floral note. The entry is warm and coating, followed closely by rich, layered tannins. This is perhaps the densest wine that we have produced thus far, while still exhibiting the beautiful silkiness Pinot Noir lovers find so attractive. The finish is clean, bright and juicy, leaving palates refreshed and wanting more.

For complete winemaker notes, click here.

Please visit our online shop or call the winery at (707) 944-2412 if you’re interested in acquiring this beautiful vintage of “Les Pommiers.”

post

2014 EnRoute Harvest Recap

by on October 21, 2014

The craziness of harvest is winding down as we finish processing our Pinot Noir. If you follow us on Facebook, you might have already seen that we brought in the last of our fruit earlier this month. Overall, 2014 was a remarkable year for EnRoute Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Not only was this our longest harvest ever – we anticipate finishing at eight weeks as opposed to our usual five – but we also brought in a little more fruit of both varietals than we typically do.

graton 1
Pinot Noir clusters from Graton Vineyard, Russian River Valley

This year, our Graton Vineyard really started coming into full production volumes with its maturing vines. We’re excited to see what this will add to our Pinot Noir blend; this vineyard typically yields notes of dark red fruits, earthy mineral notes with lots of spice and gorgeous perfume. So far, the 2014 EnRoute Pinot Noir, “Les Pommiers,” is exhibiting great color and tannins and dark plum, raspberry and pomegranate flavors are evident already.

Weeks 1
Chardonnay from the recently acquired Weeks Vineyard, Russian River Valley

2014 was a particularly amazing year for our Chardonnay. We acquired three new Chardonnay vineyards, all in and around the Sebastopol hills. The 2014 EnRoute Chardonnay, “Brumaire,” is showing very bright acidity and is coming together nicely with fantastic tropical fruit flavors and citrus notes.

We definitely cannot wait to see how the 2014 vintage will evolve over the coming months.

post

Introducing Weeks Vineyard

by on September 5, 2014

Weeks Vineyard

The above photo is a shot from our recent acquisition, Weeks Vineyard. Situated west of the city of Sebastopol in the Russian River Valley, this hillside vineyard enjoys shade from the towering, adjacent forest at the base of its sloped terrain and is a mere ten minutes away from our EnRoute Graton Vineyard.

We chose this site for its proven ability to produce high quality Chardonnay. The cooler daytime temperatures, coupled with cool evenings, make this particular area ideal for this grape variety. The Goldridge sandy loam found on the property lends itself to producing vines of moderate size that facilitate the necessary concentration of flavors and flavor components.

So far, the fruit is holding up nicely and we anticipate starting harvest in about two weeks – 2014 will be the first harvest from this vineyard. Weeks is a remarkable property, and we believe the fruit has incredible potential for “Les Brumeux”. We look forward to sourcing Chardonnay from such a wonderfully picturesque location.

To read more about EnRoute Chardonnay, “Les Brumeux,” please visit our website here.

post
Enroute Blog