I sent this in email to a friend in Kansas and he re-posted it up on Wine Spectator. I thought I’d share it for everyone. His question was on suggested drinking times for our wines.
The Syrah is probably a little easier to target since Stef and I have had vintages from other producers up to 10 years old. The Ranch really seems to be best with 3-4 years in bottle. Reports are that our 2005 is very good right now at 4 years old. The pH’s are in the 3.7-3.8 range, so I would think 10-12 years would be the maximum before the wine looses freshness.
The Pinot Noir is a lot harder to call. The numbers are all very sound with a pH at @ 3.5. The vineyard is 30 years old and I’d expect the wine could be long lived. The vineyard has a checkered past though and stopped production from 1995-2002 so we don’t have recent samples of aged wine to know how it’s doing.
We’ve had older vintages 1983,84,89 but they were pretty roughly made and it’s hard to separate the rough tannin in those wines to say how they age. The best modern example is Windy Oaks which is very near by. Many people think Windy Oaks should be aged for a long time, but they’ve only been producing since 1998, and my experience is those wine are best at age 3-5. I’ve had examples at 5+ years and thought they were fading.
I’m telling people have the Pinot Noir younger vs older. 2-4 years should be optimal. There’s every chance it could go 12+ years, even up to 15-20 but there’s just not a good history yet from the area to really know how they’ll age. All the factors are there for it to develop well in bottle for a long time, but at this point it’s theory vs experience.
I’ll add a bit about our cabs. We do make them so that they will age and develop for 10-20 years. The pH’s are good and the tannins ripe and fine. The areas the grapes come from also have great track records of long lived Cabernet Sauvignon. Stefania and I have a few bottles of 1966 ‘Uvas’ from the same area as our ‘Uvas Creek Vineyard’, that are still fresh, fruity and complex.
But, I also take a lot of effort in the winery and vineyard to make the Cabs enjoyable at release. I think ideally open one a few weeks after your shipment arrives, then check in on them from time to time. I suspect they’ll be really good from 5-10 years old.