From the Vintner: 2019 Will Be Remembered as a Remarkable Year for Muse Wines
Oddly enough, this year’s harvest began early after a late start to bud break which was a couple of weeks late. At the end of August, we were bringing in white wine grapes, beginning with Chardonnay to be used in our Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. Following the Champagne method of production, we pick the grapes very early when acidity is high and potential alcohol is low.
Next was Sauvigon Blanc, a reliable early ripener that should be picked when ripe, but just barely ripe. If left on the vines too long, acidity declines and the wine can lose aroma, become flabby and lack the brisk energy the wine ought to possess in the glass.
Then we harvested Chardonnay for our barrel-ferment program. This wine will be full and deep on release. But it must possess sufficient ripeness to benefit from a malolactic fermentation and one year of barrel aging with lees stirring. (Lees are the dead yeast cells that fall to the bottom of a barrel bottle once their work in fermenting the wine is complete. Lees stirring was developed in Burgundy to give the subtly creamy texture (braced with good acidity and framed by French oak) that is found in the best Meursaults and Montrachets.)
Next was Roussane and Marsanne harvested and fermented separately before their marriage in barrel as Thalia.
And on to the reds. First was Gamay, the fruity, soft, low tannic wine that is perfect as a light, conversation-enhancing drink. (A digression: Gamay had little following in Paris until after World War II when the writers [e.g. Albert Camus], artists and journalists returned from their self-imposed exile in Lyon where the German occupation was more relaxed. In Lyon they came to appreciate the local Beaujolais wine made from Gamay, and brought that taste back home to Paris where it has never left the cafés).
Merlot is the next to ripen, along with Teroldego (our brisk red wine from the Italian alps).
2019 will be remembered as a remarkable year for Muse wines
A note on the vintage: 2019 will be remembered as a remarkable year for Muse wines, and should rival the 2010s and 2017s. A large harvest and beautifully ripened grapes characterize the vintage and will make memorable wines. We look forward to seeing those who are interested in barrel tastings in the spring.
We’ll end on a note of thanks and appreciation to Wilson and his full-time crew, Remberto and Arturo. They have worked non-stop for weeks to protect the grapes from birds, maintain meticulous standards in the vineyards and assist Tim Rausse in making this year’s wine in very challenging conditions of compressed ripening. And equal thanks and appreciation to Tim, the indispensable figure in producing what you taste in every glass of Muse wine you taste.