As we are sitting here running fruit samples for what may be the earliest harvest on record, we thought that it was only appropriate to discuss what it is about seasons, weather, and our terroir that makes Canyon Wind unique. (*Note- in between the time this was written and printing, we picked Pinot Gris- starting our harvest 14 days earlier than we ever have before!).
Terroir is the single largest factor that influences what we do in the winery, and has the greatest effect on our finished product. Terroir is defined as “the geography, geology and climate of a certain place”, or more simply a region’s “sense of place”. Some of the many factors of terroir, include: elevation, hours of sunlight in a day, orientation of the rows, wind, prevailing weather patterns, and the list goes on. For us, wind is one of the most significant elements of our terroir. This should be no surprise as we named ourselves after the wind from the canyon, not to mention our other winery Anemoi, which means “winds” in Greek. Wind is so important here because it keeps us a little cooler then other locations down valley, allowing to us hang our fruit longer and in turn produce more complex wines. Our soils also keep our wines consistent; noticeably, we have a softer mouthfeel and more integrated structure. This is due to our sandy soil, which allows us to keep control over our water and truly “make” the wine in the vineyard, instead of the winery.
Weather is, in many ways, the antithesis of terroir. Where terroir is constant, and omnipresent at CWC, weather is fickle and ever changing. As this shipment was created to demonstrate, we see seasonal variation within the wines, yet the constant effects of terroir. 2006 was a cool year and with the Cab Sauv you can see bright cassis and bold fruit flavors, both great examples of a cooler climate wine. The 2009 Syrah is a wonderful example of an even colder year and how it can exaggerate the fruit and “jamminess” of a wine. This Syrah is by no means a jam bomb or super concentrated in its fruit character, but that is because of our terroir- Syrah from our vineyard always has a minerally character. Lastly we get to see our first glimpse at a red from 2011, the latest incarnation of the blended 47-Ten Red. Last season was a short year with a hot mid-summer and early fall, yielding a wine that is youthful and bold, yet still maintains its sense of place.
Hopefully this brief comparison of place vs. season helps you to gain some insight into the wines in this shipment. If you have any thoughts on this, or questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email. As always, we welcome feedback on the wine and any comments or ideas that you might have. Also, check out one of the cool new features on our updated website which allows you login and review our wines online!
Jay & Jennifer Christianson (Grape Slaves) and
Finley (Vineyard Quality Control)