A Vintage Concerto in C for Flute, Harp and Orchestra K. 2011

So how was the 2011 vintage? We had a lot to overcome this past year – including the proud distinction of having an earthquake and a hurricane both in the same week! No year is ever easy, but the 2011 harvest for Bedell was a complete triumph. We have an outstanding vineyard team and I'm so proud to be working with them. The dedication that I see every day is unparalleled. The end result is that we have a cellar full of beautiful wines.

2011 started off like most vintages on Long Island- cool and damp. Unlike last year (when bud break was more than 2 weeks early)  bud break occurred closer to the historical norm - for the North Fork this is around May 1st. The end of Spring and early Summer brought lots of sun and heat. We experienced many crystal-clear days with little cloud cover and maximum UV light. For a while as we  burned into August and the vintage picked up steam it looked like we were going to get close to accumulating as many GDD as last year. The sun and heat of summer - even during rainy periods - led to beautiful ripeness levels in the whites and the complete maturation of flavors and tannins in our Bordeaux reds. Our yields were low – 1-2 tons/acre – so our crop ripened quickly, well before the late October rains. Sugar levels are lower than last year but flavors are more similar to 2007 than any other vintage in the past 5 years.

As usual the wines will be about balance - lower alcohol levels will be found in whites and reds - at least by those winemakers willing to allow the wines to develop naturally. I find these vintages extremely interesting and exciting because they offer a winemaker the ultimate test - whether or not one can adapt to different flavors and conditions and guide the wine through those conditions accordingly and allow the wine to retain its optimal balance. Every year is different on the North Fork.  It's what makes making wine on Long Island so challenging but at the same time so exciting and creative!

I'm really pleased with what we have in the tanks right now. I love the combination of delicacy and strength in our reds - particularly Cab Franc. It's the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove. And I love the ethereal lightness of being in the whites. At the end of it now I can say that it’s a beautiful vintage - we've accumulated approximately 3500 degree days -  one of the highest ever on Long Island. (2010 was the highest with 3700) The wines will all be elegant and full of grace - more Mozart than Metallica, more pastels than bright colors, more Audrey Hepburn than Marilyn Monroe - I can't wait for you to taste them…

In the meantime, if you’d like to get a feel for what the 2011 wines will be like, close your eyes and listen to this…

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