2013 Moraga Red
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes 

The 2013 growing season was the second year of serious drought at Moraga, with less than 4” of rain for the entire season. The positive side of this phenomenon was warm, dry weather during flowering and fruit set in June which set the stage for a reasonable crop load. Even though temperatures never reached triple digits (the high for the year, 96oF, occurred in mid-August), overall, the year was slightly warmer than average. The grapes responded by producing a modicum more high-quality tannins than we often see. The first half of September was a bit on the cool side, allowing us to pick our first grapes September 24, when the first fruit had achieved perfect ripeness. We picked sporadically over the next two weeks as each section of the vineyard hit optimal tannin and flavor development. The last day of harvest was October 7, two to three weeks earlier than the norm.

Following our normal practices, the vineyard crew spent the day before each pick inspecting the fruit on the vine and removing any clusters that were less than perfect. Each harvest morning started as the sun rose, ensuring that the fruit was processed while it was still cold. Once the fruit was picked, the individual clusters were once again inspected for defects prior to destemming. After destemming, sorting continued at the berry level to remove any fruit that was not fully colored, ensuring that we could achieve great color and tannin in the final wine.

The winemaking was simple, but intense. Each lot was kept separate from its siblings and underwent a pre-fermentation maceration to extract color and supple tannins. Once the ambient yeast took hold and fermentation commenced, the grapes were punched down by hand up to seven times a day. We sometimes supplemented the punch downs with gentle pump overs to increase extraction. After each fermentation was complete, the fermenters were sealed to eliminate oxygen and underwent an extended maceration. Once the flavors and tannins were optimized, the wine was drained by gravity into small tanks and the remaining grapes were pressed. The wine was settled in tank overnight to allow the largest solids to drop out, then carefully racked to 100% new French oak barrels. The total time from picking to barreling varied from 33 to 46 days. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in the barrels and remained unracked until the final blend was determined. The wine was bottled in mid-August 2015 and was bottle-aged for just shy of two years before release.

Aromas include cassis, briar, and cocoa with hints of sandalwood, pipe tobacco, and wet sandstone. The initial palate impression is textural – soft tannin on the entry, accompanied by juicy flavors that are consistent with the nose - cassis, Marion berry, and black cherry mingle with briar and a bit of cocoa. This is all mingled with a core or sweet, ripe fruit. Moderately concentrated, the wine finishes with a juicy persistence.

The secret of Moraga is the essence of place – there is no other vineyard in the world quite like Moraga. We hope that you enjoy this special gift from nature and the dedicated crew at Moraga.

Scott Rich, Winemaker
Carlos Contreras, Vineyard Manager