Actually, I don't know for sure that the block of chardonnay that Wolffer Estate Vineyards' Richie Pisacano harvested earlier this week was the very last bit of chardonnay to be harvested, but he certainly let it hang longer than most... if not everyone else.
Why wait so long? I think what Richie told me yesterday says it all:
"Yes, chardonnay is off and beautiful. This Dijon block always gets me pumped. I think of it as a great example of the right variety/clone/rootstock on the perfect spot that crosses the finish line every year. Keep a look out for the 2008 Pearle (chardonnay). I think this will likely turn out to be a great one. The long hangtime paid big dividends in the flavor department."
Vineyard managers, winemakers and wineries in general are always playing a balancing act during harvest season. It's ripeness and flavor development against Mother Nature. The quality-focused wineries are always pushing, trying to get as much sugar and as much flavor complexity as they can... before frost or disease wipes out the fruit entirely.
On Long Island and in other cool climate regions, you just can't play it safe and make great wines.