Heard it Through the Grapevine II: Winemaker Commentary

A couple weeks ago we received a post from Judge George Shinas, one of our favorite Australian producers, discussing the difficulties of the vintage down under in 2009. Around the same time, Stephen Ross Dooley came to Montclair and poured his wine in Amanti Vino. I asked Stephen to pen us note our the blog and he sent along this letter on Saturday. Looks like we are in for another great vintage from Stephen Ross Wines.


It was very nice being in your store again and meeting some of the locals of Montclair. At your request, here are my thoughts of the day. I barrel tasted through a number of 2008 Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs with one of my barrel suppliers Alain Sirugue and his USA agent Francoise Gouge (Dooley uses French Oak to age his wines). We are very fortunate to have a great 2007 vintage on the market and a really great 2008 vintage in the barrels. For most California wineries, the 2007 vintage was superlative, it wasn’t just Stephen Ross, but I think the results were mixed with the 2008 vintage due to an erratic growing season especially with Spring frost damage in some areas. The Stephen Ross 2008 wines have great flavor concentration, a good level of acidity and fine tannins. The only vineyard we work with that was hurt by Spring frost was Dante Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel, and although the crop level was reduced, the wine is excellent. Unfortunately, for the Dusi family, they had less fruit to sell than in a typical year. All in all, we remain positive, and we are very pleased with a couple of recent outstanding vintages.



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