Growers were probably hoping for more from the first vintage of the new Millennium, but the 2000 vintage ended up with good wines, if somewhat variable results overall. Spring was uneventful, and the year started off on the right foot. Overall, the growing season was on the cool side for the summer, after a heat spike in June. Rain during the harvest in late August prompted the only real worries. The harvest was fairly compact and finished in mid-October. Yields were up a tick, as many vineyards planted after the phylloxera problems of the last decade came to fruition.
In mid-September, rain from a tropical storm threatened, but it mainly stayed away and produced only moderate showers. As usual, those who managed their vineyards carefully and kept yields low had the best chance for achieving good degrees of ripeness, and as a result made the best wines. Overall, the coolness of the vintage can show in the wines, with a little more acidity, structure, and restraint than the typical Napa vintage.
Moderately cool temperatures
Temperatures in Napa and Sonoma hit 95°F-108°F
Cool weather and more rain
In 1981, after years of research, lab work and avoiding the border authorities, Jayson Pahlmeyer planted his smuggled Bordeaux clones in Napa Valley. In 1986 he released the first Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red to critical acclaim, and he's been on the way up ever since. Pahlmeyer is an ambitious guy who thrives in the spotlight -- he was once a trial lawyer -- but he also has a phenomenal knack for spotting talent. Over the years he has consistently nabbed up-and-coming winemakers who have made the label what it is today. The list, which includes Randy Dunn, Bob Levy, Helen Turley and Erin Green, now has two new names to round it out: Kale Anderson, director of winemaking for Napa Valley, and Bibiana GonzÕlez Rave, consulting winemaker for the Sonoma Coast holdings. Each winemaker is in charge of one of the estate's two main vineyards. The first, the Waters Ranch Vineyard, located on the ridge of Atlas Peak, high in the eastern hills of Napa, has 72-acres planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Chardonnay. The Wayfarer Farm Vineyard in Fort Ross-Seaview, covers 30-acres planted exclusively to Burgundy varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Fruit from the Waters Ranch Vineyard goes into the noteworthy Proprietary Red, a consistently strong Bordeaux blend, and the flamboyantly ripe and often outsized Merlot.