The end of summer is approaching quickly but for those of us in the wine community, the end of summer means the beginning of a new adventure. It alludes to the next two or three months of intense labor, poetry, and a little bit of magic. The 2013 harvest here at DAOU is sure to provide all of that and a little more.
For winemaker and proprietor, Daniel Daou, this vintage is much like being a kid on Christmas morning. Only the present he will be receiving this year is Cabernet Sauvignon from a rare clone that is known to produce an extremely low yield and some of the highest quality Cabernet grapes in the wine world. “I am most excited to harvest the To Kalon clone 31,” Daou said. “This will be the first time that it will be harvested in Paso Robles and it is looking phenomenal.”
Ancient Greek for “the highest beauty,” the To Kalon Vineyard in Napa, California has become recognized as one of the first growth vineyards of the world. The original To Kalon Clone was first planted in 1868 and the Vineyard grew in fame for the quality of fruit it produced and was purchased by Robert Mondavi in 1962. Mondavi donated cuttings to UC Davis when it got infected by a virus. UC Davis cured the virus and in 2011 Daou planted 11 acres of the original To Kalon clone 31.
After picking, sorting, and extended maceration the wine will be aged for 22 months in 100% new French oak barrels; a very limited quantity of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon will be bottled. This will be the first time DAOU has produced a single-varietal Cabernet. The bottle will bear the name Patrimony. “It means an inherited estate. This has been a legacy for the Cabernet grape and we feel like we have inherited a great legacy that we can continue on our mountain for us and our children,” said Daou.
Harvest is estimated to begin late August and Daou expects to have the mountain, 54 acres of producing vines, picked by the end of September which is a couple weeks earlier than normal. DAOU Mountain benefits from a special micro climate. As a result, the DAOU estate has seen five days over 100 degrees so far this year and received approximately 16 inches of rainfall. “The heat waves we have seen this year in Paso Robles haven’t affected us. 2013 has been an ideal climate from bud break to now,” said Daou. This microclimate is precisely why Georges and Daniel Daou purchased this property. The combination of a 2,200 foot elevation, cool marine influence from the Pacific Ocean, and winds coming from the Templeton Gap keep the vineyard cooler in the daytime to prevent heat damage and warmer at night to prevent frost.
Beautiful climatic conditions, an incredible terroir, and harvesting a rare clone for the first time in Paso Robles are sure to make the 2013 vintage a memorable one. “This terroir has exceeded every one of our expectations,” said Daou. “In the early 1970’s, Andre Tchelistcheff called this property ‘a jewel of ecological elements.’ It has taken us a few years to really understand what he was talking about but we now taste and see the magic that this property produces every year.”
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