Good Fruit Grower

August 1

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10 AUGUST 2015 Good Fruit Grower I n a perfect wine world, winemakers would only make wine from fully ripened grapes. But wine- makers must often deal with fruit that is less ripe or too ripe. Just as growers must often manipulate fruit qual- ity in the vineyard, winemakers, too, have techniques they can use to improve fruit quality. Veteran winemaker Brian Carter recently explained how to overcome some of the challenges presented by grapes that are under- or overripe. Carter, with 35 years of winemaking and wine consulting in Washington, has worked for some of the top wineries in the state. Since 2000, he has made wine for his own winery, Brian Carter Cellars, and specializes in wine blends. Carter seeks diversity in his wines and goes out of his way to source Cabernet Sauvignon from various sites in Washington. In each vineyard, he's looking for specific varietal characteristics brought out by the site. "I want each lot of grapes to be different," he said. For example, in most years, Cabernet Sauvignon fruit for his favorite Cabernet-based blend comes from Red Mountain, while Cabernet Sauvignon grapes for his favorite Merlot-based blend come from Wahluke Slope. "My favorite Cabernet for my Sangiovese-based blend typically comes from the central part of the Yakima Valley, which is the coolest of the three appellations." Certain varieties are more dependent on the site than others and do best in a narrow range of site parameters, he says. Others perform fine in a wide range of locations. He's found that Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Malbec can handle a wide range of sites and do well. But not so for other Bordeaux red varieties. Embrace wine DIVERSITY Grapes A veteran winemaker gives tips on making wines from cool and warm sites. by Melissa Hansen "Don't try to make your wines meet one particular standard, but embrace the diversity we have from all sites in the state." —Brian Carter

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