2015 was another in a line of drought years for Napa. Starting in the winter months, due to the scarce amounts of precipitation and warm soil temperatures, the vines came alive and we experienced bud break for both of our vineyards very early on, around mid-February. May was unusually cool and the flowering period carried on for almost the entire month which resulted in a smaller than average set.
The summer months saw a substantial influx of heat, with over 20 days above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The tiny amount of winter rainfall combined with above average temperatures resulted in an earlier-than usual harvest (October 5 for the R.M. Kennedy Vineyard) and, unfortunately, extremely low yields throughout Napa Valley.
Throughout the 2015 growing season, we worked closely with the R.M. Kennedy owners and vineyard management team to maximize it's naturally advantageous soils and exposure. We achieved greater balance and uniformity through measures started during pruning, including leaving kicker canes in high vigor areas to diffuse some of the excess energy that the plants displayed the previous vintage and pruning the future canes back in lower vigor areas. Luckily, we were able to get a larger allocation of fruit in 2015 from R.M. Kennedy Vineyard, allowing us to produce more wine than we had in 2014 from this vineyard, despite the lower yields. We are extremely pleased with the 2015 The Figure from the R.M. Kennedy Vineyard and look forward to working with this property for years to come.
Whereas the 2013 vintage was marked by its tannin profile
and 2014 by its transparency of underlying terroir, 2015 is marked by the generosity of fruit. Yields were down dramatically in 2015. First, cooler than normal weather during flowering and fruit set limited the berries per cluster. Second, dehydration at the end of the growing season due to the high temperatures further reduced cluster weights.
Being just our second vintage from this vineyard, we made some farming adjustments in 2015 to help achieve better balance and structure. Like its 2014 predecessor, this wine is dense and really shows the vintage’s concentration.