2012 was a year of fairly consistent warm weather. Bud break was between the 4th week of April and the 1st/2nd week of May for my blocks, the last of which were my Old Block and the Long Rows at Maresh. The spring was quite fair (for here) and there were no strong rain events during bloom, which in my blocks was around the fourth week of June (perhaps going a bit into July for my old vines at Maresh). The summer was quite warm and dry. The heat accumulation was the 5th highest of the last sixteen years (closest to 1998 and 2004-I am not saying the character of this vintage matches the character of those vintages-it does not).
In my Maresh blocks, I noticed as I was shoot thinning (early May) that the vines were producing more strong shoots than I had seen in previous vintages. I decided to respond to the vines and leave the strong shoots, regardless of expected tonnage (or how it looked-can appear a bit chaotic with a few extra shoots on the cane with arc-cane positioning). As it turned out, I am very happy I did so. The clusters were smallish and the berry sizes, too, and September was the driest we had seen in the history of Oregon. But because my vines had borne enough foliage and fruit to avoid altogether any concerns for high sugars and overripe fruit at picking. A huge relief. In fact, the final alcohol for most of my fruit was 13.0% (and even my Momtazi was 13.1% due to the position and the terroir of the block and not due to more shoots like at Maresh). The Old Block and Block 8 ended up being about 13.5% tops. It goes without saying the disease pressure in 2012 was next to nothing. Veraison in my blocks occurred around the end of August/early September. In September I pulled some more leaves on the eastern side of the rows and removed all clusters I did not want picked in my blocks at Maresh. Picking occurred between 11 October and 20 October for my sites.
My wines in 2012 are not very typical with regard to the talk about 2012, for the good or the bad, depending on one’s preferences. I was also a bit surprised that the acidity in the wines was as high as in the much cooler 2011, but showing very differently because of the different year and the different forces of equilibria associated with 2012.