As the last truckloads of grapes come in across California, it’s clear that Monterey County’s Arroyo Seco American Viticulture Area (AVA) has experienced a keystone vintage that will go down in history as one of the region’s best.
"To sum up, Mother Nature was kind this year,” says Mike Kohne, winemaker for Mercy Vineyards, whose winery produces wines from the Arroyo Seco’s trademark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties. “In the Arroyo Seco we really had an idyllic growing season: dry and mild which limited yields and provided even ripening. Key indicators such as limited shatter, limited sun damage, small clusters and berries all highlighted nature's kindness. And, most importantly, the fruit tasted balanced and flavorful which points to outstanding vintage wines."
Jeff Meier, president, COO, and director of winemaking of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines concurred. “In Arroyo Seco we saw cooler weather in July and August, with a lot of fog and clouds, which delayed the ripening of the grapes and prolonged our harvest dates by more days than in an average year. As a result, the acids are looking typical for a coolish vintage, which will give the wines lovely structure and focus. The extra hang time on the Pinot Noir has also allowed for the signature fabulous color that is characteristic of Arroyo Seco Pinot Noir. Our Riesling and Valdiguié are the last grapes to harvest before we wrap up on this year’s amazing Arroyo Seco vintage.”
“This was certainly a harvest to remember,” says Roger Moitoso, wine grower at Arroyo Seco Vineyards. “It was a totally dry growing season, which kicked off with a good fruit set. During the summer months, the region was cooled just enough by our typical fog and aggressive winds so that the ripening season was warm and sunny. However, unlike average years during my 28 years of farming in the Arroyo Seco, we never had any heat spikes throughout the growing season. The mild weather produced even ripening across the board.”
Cedar Lane Vineyard and Mission Ranch Vineyard Owner, Mark Chesebro, describes 2013 as “a hallmark vintage.” “The dry, long and mild growing season with even ripening has turned out brilliant fruit across the Arroyo Seco. I couldn't be more pleased."
With harvest nearing an end, and many wines already barreled-down, excitement abounds across the region. Only time will tell but sentiment for the 2013 vintage could not be higher in the Arroyo Seco AVA.