Lori and I went to Armida recently to check in with Winemaker B regarding the upcoming harvest. We also brought his kids to the winery and had lunch on the deck. Maybe the best picnic location in Sonoma County. The picnic was enhanced greatly by a glass of the 2013 Armida Sauvignon Blanc, the first vintage from their new estate vineyard. This Sauvignon Blanc is already receiving accolades from various sources, and was light, fresh, crisp and fruity when we had it. This new estate vineyard, in addition to the conventional Sauvignon Blanc clones, has the Sauvignon Musqué clone, which provides some interesting new flavors and different nose. It still tastes/smells like Sauvignon Blanc, but with some subtle and enjoyable differences.
Regarding the 2014 harvest, the fifth for Winemaker B running the show at Armida, he’s cautiously optimistic. Harvest is starting early, which is a chain reaction from a warmer and dryer winter, resulting in earlier bud break, resulting in earlier start to the harvest by about 2 weeks. Earlier harvest is not a negative though, it’s just that the grapes are ready. In fact, the hang time for the grapes is effectively the same as for a normal year. Also, the lack of water with the drought this year will stress the vines, which can produce higher quality grapes. So cautious optimism going into harvest.
It was also interesting at Armida to see some of the facilities improvements and additions that they’ve made. First is a new deck, separate from the original deck, perfect for wedding ceremonies. And second is a renovation of the upstairs area from the tasting room, which now includes an area for private tastings. And while this doesn’t exactly fall under facilities improvements, Armida has been making wine and bottling it for Fender (the guitar folks), and there is a nice little display in the tasting room.
With the great wines and the great view, this is one of the best tasting experiences in the wine country.