This is our second Quaker Run Tannat bottling. While we use most of the Quaker Run Tannat for blending purposes, we continue to bottle a small amount to show what this singular grape variety can do at Quaker Run. Much like the 2017 vintage (and the inaugural bottling of Quaker Run Tannat), 2019 was hot and dry resulting in high ripening and intense fruit concentration.
We consider our approach to Tannat in the cellar as ever evolving. It is a variety that produces wines with high alcohol, richness and aromatic intensity, and can certainly stand up to large amounts of oak. However, with such a “beast” of a wine, often comes the inclination to lean into the extremes. With the Quaker Run Tannat, we have always looked to embrace some of the often-overlooked varietal nuances and lead with dynamic aromas, which are highlighted by the inherent power of the grape.
With this bottling, we have begun relying less on new wood barrels, but rather utilizing larger and older oak barrels, tempering the wine’s oak extraction. With this aging, we have found the wine prefers additional time in barrel, developing broader secondary and tertiary attributes.
2019 was an excellent vintage with reds with ripe intensity and richness. The season began early, with picking for sparkling at the very beginning of August, resulting from a moderately early budbreak. While this notably early start to the vintage was psychologically challenging, the fruit was well-balanced and we’re excited to see how it develops in the cellar.
It is understandable to compare 2019 to 2017, however yields were more typical and balanced in 2019, compared to high yielding 2017. We were able to apply the learnings from the very ripe 2017 vintage to our farming and picking decisions in 2019, which often led us to pick blocks earlier; and rather than simply pursuing sugar ripeness, we have been able to farm and pick based on phenological ripeness and aromatic complexity.