What do these idyllic conditions at flowering, with moderate summer heat and a cool dry finish, mean from a vine’s perspective? Near perfect weather at bloom/flowering promotes a high percentage of set berries, i.e., berries that will stay through to harvest. A long warm growing season provides time to develop aroma, color and body. The dry summer causes the berries to be smaller and have thick skins that concentrate the fruit flavor. A cooler finish keeps the fruit brightness and depth of color without excess sugar accumulation from dehydration. A year when weather conditions are so near perfect gives me the confidence to experiment a bit in the winery to advance my winemaking techniques. For 2012 Ramspeck Pinot Noir, I allowed the fermentation to be completed 100% by the wild yeast that came in on the fruit. This can be risky as native yeast is less vigorous and prone to getting stuck, leading to an incomplete fermentation that leaves the wine too sweet. The benefits, though, are an increased mouthfeel, and more interesting fruit aromas, flavors and complexity. Through careful yeast nutrition we were able to complete fermentation without sticking so the 2012 Ramspeck Pinot exhibits a little more character than normal. Try it and see!