Learn, discuss, and share lessons in Viticulture and Enology experienced from the people behind Larner Vineyard & Winery, located in Ballard Canyon AVA - Santa Barbara's Wine Country's Syrah territory.
n. A contact surface between successive rock masses or strata that represent a missing interval in the geologic record of time, produced either by an interruption in deposition or by the erosion of depositionally continuous strata followed by renewed deposition. An unconformity is a type of discontinuity where there are periods of time that are not represented.
Whether it was climate change, drought, or adverse weather patterns during the growing season, the 2015 vintage represented a discontinuity for the Larner Estate. Coming off of consecutive vintages of average crop levels, marked by significant heat, this year proved quite frustrating. The beginning of the vintage started similar to 2013 and 2014, starting with early bud-break and warmth. However things changed dramatically around inflorescences (fruit set) with humidity and occasional rainstorms. Uncharacteristic heat returned in early summer, which pushed fruit ripening in a disjointed fashion where sugars advanced faster than flavors and acid respiration. Overall far from a normal vintage, which also had its toll on the crop level, with Syrah coming in 63% down from previous harvests.
Fortunately, as the saying goes – “lower yields equates to higher quality wine”. So far this has defined the wines rendered from this year’s harvest. Unparalleled in intensity and distinct from the previous vintages, the family’s initial take is although we are frustrated not be making a lot of Syrah for the 2015 vintage, we are excited that what has been laid to rest in barrel exudes the richness and opulence of wine lots typically destined for our Reserve programs. The unconformity may be a lesser production of our Estate Syrah, allowing for the relatively small remaining quantity we have to age longer and once again exceed our expectations.
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