2015 Moraga Red
2015 Moraga Red
It seems that we once had “normal” vintages, but recent growing seasons have led us to the belief that normal no longer exists. The 2015 growing season was unlike any that we had previously experienced. It was another year of drought and we saw bud break occur slightly early due to warm soil temperatures. The droughty soils decreased nutrient uptake at flowering and a cool spell at the same time decreased flowering and fruit set to the point that our crop was cut by nearly half. That led to exceptional concentration, but required a great deal of skilled work on the part of our vineyard team to balance the canopy with the small fruit load and slow down sugar production to more closely match flavor evolution in the fruit. There wasn’t a single extraordinary heat event during the vintage, but a number of minor heat spikes in August pushed the red grapes through a short, rapid veraison.
We followed our normal practices by picking each lot at optimum flavor and tannin development, based on walking the vineyard and tasting the fruit. Although we’re used to picking individual rows or even only parts of a row, as opposed to an entire block of grapes, the challenge was greater than most vintages because we saw more variation in ripening than usual; the parts of the vineyard that we picked at any given time were accordingly miniscule. The day before each picking, the crew walked the vineyard and removed any clusters that looked less than perfect. After picking, we hand-sorted clusters, then hand-sorted individual berries after destemming. The must soaked for about a week before an ambient fermentation ensued and we began our routine of many punch downs each day. After fermentation, the must underwent extended maceration before being pressed and aged in 100% new French oak barrels.
Simply put, Moraga’s 2015 Red Wine is delicious. The nose is big and expressive with notes of blackberry, cassis, French plums, cedar, graphite, and tobacco mixed with a bit of rich earthiness and minerality. The palate is rife with black fruits, mineral, red cherry, tobacco, and a hint of black licorice. The entry is round and voluptuous, reinforced by micro-grained tannins that are at the same time velvety and intense. This wine is another in a recent string of truly exceptional red wines.
As much as we’d like to take credit for Moraga’s intense deliciousness, we’re really only stewards trying our best to amplify nature’s beauty and bounty by showcasing just how special a place Moraga is – our job is to accurately express a place in a bottle. Please enjoy this wine with people you love and care about. After all, that is what wine, in its purest form, is all about.