Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Pay attention!

With the vineyard being sprayed for the final time last Thursday, requiring a 48 hour no re-entry time (or re-entry interval, REI), and being distracted by four little feathery chickies, I hadn't noticed the onset of veraison in the Cabernet sauvignon vines.  Well, here we have it.  Whether I am paying attention or not, the grapevines will carry on doing their thing.  Thank goodness.

Monday, August 03, 2020

New chicks on the block.

I had just popped out with the sole intention of buying chicken feed for Vinoland's six breakfast-laying ladies, but I somehow came home with four new, three day old chicks.  How did that happen?  Look how adorable they are.  How could've I resisted?  Problem is, I don't know what breeds they are.  I'm hoping the brown one is a Sussex and the black one is an Australorp.  The other two?  No clue.  No matter, as long as they are all indeed female (the most important consideration).
Continuing with the theme of naming my chickens after Henry VIII's warships, meet Little Barbara (Babs), Jennet Prywin (Jennie), Magdeline (Maggie) and Katherine Bark (Katie).
Here's to fresh eggs at New Year.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

PG-20.

As I expected, the onset of veraison in the Pinot grigio vines was not too far behind the Syrah.  About a week earlier than in 2019, walking through the vineyard this particular cluster caught my eye due to the dramatic contrast between the deep, grey-blue and the verdant green of some adjacent grapes.
I love the randomness of the change in colour of the grape berries in a given cluster.  Of course, there are some vines that are more advanced than others (they tend to be the strongest vines in perhaps better areas/soil in the vineyard), but that doesn't make veraison's progress any more predictable.  Nope, the vines know the exact sugar accumulating-schedule they are on: it just appears to be haphazard to the casual observer.  Like me.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Rock 'N' Roll Wine School.

I did something a bit out of the ordinary today: I went wine tasting.  What?  Is that really that unusual for Vinogirl?  No, not really.  But please, let me elucidate.  I went wine tasting with an in the flesh, genuine rock star - and his lovely family.  Yup, I went drinking with the stars (sounds like a TV show, maybe it should be) at Black Cat Vineyard (BCV).  Being a bit starstruck, it would all have been a bit of a blur if I hadn't been roused out of my reverie by the fabulous, expertly crafted wines at BCV.  A truly fun, and tasty, event.
When it comes to producing fine wine, Tracey Reichow is a bit of a rock star in her own right.  Winemaker and proprietress of BCV, Tracey is a brilliant person to taste wine with, very engaging and terrifically passionate about her art.  Our little, socially distanced group was schooled on the wonders and trials of making wine; the challenges and rewards that different vintages can bring; and the varying approaches and skill sets needed to work with fruit sourced from different AVAs across the Napa Valley.
Our tasting began with a 2018 Napa Valley Chardonnay.  Focused and crisp (lots of Granny Smith apple), aromatic and generous with just a touch of oak (quite Mersault-esque).  The rest of the tasting was comprised of red wines all from the 2017 vintage; the Winemaker's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the Family Cuvée, the Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and the Rutherford Cabernet Franc.  All beautiful and distinctive.
My favourite amongst the lineup was the Cabernet Franc (CF).  At once intense and subtle, the fresh yet super-ripe-perfumey-raspberry component was delightful.  As the wine opened up in my glass the telltale vegetal characteristic of the varietal began to pop, but not in a bell pepper-like way.  No, the green character in the CF was more like gently bruised grape leaves, sun-warmed and earthy.  Stunningly complex, the CF went from strength to strength, palate-pleasing with supple, polished tannins and just a hint of dark chocolate.  Yum!
Overall, the entire tasting was a lesson in quaffability.  #funfortracey and everyone else.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Get ready, get set, ripen!

Yup, it's that time of year, again.  I know, I start posts about veraison off with the same thing every year.  But really, there is nothing that I could write that would better illuminate the onset of veraison than a snapshot of the little marvel that Mother Nature visits upon grape-growers year after year.  I love it. 
These are the very first berries to begin veraison in Vinoland and, as usual, it is the Syrah (a particular old, gnarly vine on 110R.)  I'm a little more on top of things than last year when I was a little tardy to the party.  Be sure, the Pinot grigio won't be far behind.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Waterberry.

Waterberry sort of sounds like a quaint hamlet in a fairy tale of old, but it's not.  No, waterberry is a grapevine disorder that interrupts the development of ripening berries.  Waterberry is known to manifest itself in two distinct ways; one occurs on the very tip of the rachis (which I've observed over the years in Vinoland's Cabernet sauvignon); the other, as photographed in the Pinot grigio above, can impact berries anywhere throughout the cluster.  The affected berries become flaccid, shrivel and eventually turn raisin-like.  Certain grape varieties are more susceptible to the disorder than others.
What causes waterberry?  Hmm.  Studies have shown that there is no clear relationship between the disorder and irrigation practices, although heat stress is thought to be one likely cause.  It is possible that waterberry occurs when grapevines are overcropped, giving rise to competition in the vines for a limited amount of the nutrients and materials needed for both fruit and tissue development.  Possibly the xylem vessels in the pedicels become plugged up with tyloses (tyloses are outgrowths of parenchyma cells: parenchyma is soft cellular tissue) thus obstructing the movement of goodies to the berries.  It also has been noted that in growing operations were girdling is practiced there seems to be elevated instances of the disorder.  Who knows for sure?  I don't.   
It's not like I see this phenomenon every growing season.  In fact, I had to actively seek out a Pinot grigio cluster with waterberry damage for this post.  Growing conditions are different each year, one vintage is not like the next.  And the relatively small occurrences of waterberry in Vinoland's grapevines do not negatively impact the overall crop.     

Friday, July 17, 2020

Some privacy, please!

I love butterflies.  I recently heard a character on a television programme describe them as, "Worms with wings."  And I suppose they are, really, but I still think they are beautiful.  A favourite butterfly from my childhood is the Cabbage White (Pieris rapae).  They were frequent visitors to the nasturtiums and stock that my mother had planted outside the living room window and could be spotted all summer long fluttering over the lawn from flowerbed to flowerbed.
The cabbage white is so named because it is rather fond of all cruciferous vegetables.  Too fond, actually.  This small butterfly is probably one of the most successful invasive species on the planet.  Having been spread from Europe to all over the globe (by human travel mostly), it is considered a very worrisome pest when it comes to agricultural crops.
There are a lot of cabbage whites around Vinoland right now, they seem to be especially partial to hanging around a few stands of mallow that are flowering.  Problem is, for me, they don't alight with their wings open (unlike the Pipevine Swallowtail and Common Buckeye) and they are constantly flitting to and fro, so they are hard to photograph.  And that's why I disturbed the privacy of this couple (wings closed, but stationary), who were busy working on producing a whole new generation of mustard munching caterpillars.  Sorry, don't mind me.  Carry on.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The new house white.

I love Sauvignon Blanc (SB).  I think I drink more SB than any other varietal wine.  And especially when the weather is toasty, which it has been this past week.  The right SB can simply hit all the spots.
I had almost exclusively been drinking one particular producer's SB for the past 15 years. (I'm a creature of habit, so sue me.)  Not anymore.  Some relationships just need a clean break.  So, without further adieu, let me introduce my new SB crush: the 2019 Laird Family Estate (Napa Valley).  Love it!
The Laird SB is primarily fermented in stainless steel tanks, with just 15% fermented in neutral oak barrels, so it is clean and crisp.  Floral and citrus aromas on the nose, with some tropical and melon notes on the palate.  Winemaker Brian Mox does a great job with all of Laird's wines.  Vinomaker is partial to Laird's Cold Creek Ranch Chardonnay, whilst I have been a fan of their Cold Creek Ranch Pinot Grigio for years.
New love affairs are so exciting.  I think I can foresee my Laird liaison lasting for quite some time.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Independence Day: 2020.

Happy 244th birthday, America!
Being in the midst of a pandemic may have dampened this year's festivities for most Americans, but not for Vinodog 2.  Donning yet another pair of patriotic, but cheap, sunglasses she is ready for any fun today will bring (which may include a little ZZ Top).
Around the USA, Independence Day celebrations have been drastically curtailed this year, but I hope everyone can find some joy in the spirit of the holiday.
And remember, be grateful and gracious.
Oh...and God Save the Queen.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

A few words from the Goode doctor.

Yay!  It's my 1500th post on Vinsanity.  Whoo hoo!  This time last year I didn't think I wanted to continue blogging.  But here I am, still going on about nothing much in particular.  Today, however, I have something special to post.  Something quite particular, in fact.  An interview.
Dr. Jamie Goode PhD is a scientist, newspaper columnist, award winning author, wine judge, lecturer and an expert on all things oenos.  He travels extensively and is much in demand as an authority on wine-grape growing regions around the globe - places the rest of us just get to read about in books.  Sigh.
I am currently reading his book  I Taste Red (2016) which is a study of the science of tasting wine.  The title refers to synaesthesia which is a condition that muddles up the senses.  I experienced synaesthesia myself once.  The experience was, to say the least, bizarre.  It's a good book, intense, but interesting.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Goode has been hosting web-forums on Instagram (@drjamiegoode) and Zoom which I have been thoroughly enjoying.  He also has a daily wine review series called Wine on Camera (Instagram).  Sometimes the internet connection leaves a little to be desired (illustrated by the fuzzy screenshot above), but it's only a minor bother.  
Anyway, here is what the doctor had to say:

Vinogirl:  Are you drinking wine right now?  If so, what is it?
Jamie Goode:  No, I had a big night with friends last night (socially distanced and outside in a garden, of course) with some amazing bottles, and it was very late. So I’m rather tired today.

VG:  You're a scientist.  Is it hard for you to enjoy a glass of wine and not always be tempted to break it down into its chemical components?
JG:  I think there are different levels of enjoying wine. Sometimes I examine what I’m drinking in a sort of scientific way. Other times, I drink. Some wines have something interesting to say, and then I pay attention. Other times, the wine is just wine. Science is good at answering some questions, but wine needs more than science to understand it. I’m also not so keen on reductionistic approaches to wine. A chemical analysis of a wine can’t tell us much about its quality. Breaking a wine down into its components doesn’t tell us what the wine is like – the wine is a whole.

VG:  What is your take on writing reviews of bad wine?  The less said the better?  Or full disclosure?
JG:  The problem with reviewing bad wine is that if you get it wrong, then you might have damaged the reputation and feelings of a producer. A false positive is much less problematic than a false negative. Our perception is not always right. If you taste a wine and it seems to be really bretty, for example, sometimes it’s best to just say nothing about that wine rather than pan it. Some writers enjoy saying negative things, but there is a person behind the wine, and often a small business. We have to be careful here.

VG:  During the shelter-in-place, I've watched a lot of your Instagram/Zoom presentations.  I like the virtual-access afforded to the consumer of some really great wines, producers and regions.  Is this something that you'll continue in the future?
JG:  Yes, I enjoy doing it. The tasting wine on camera videos have been very well received. Producers have approached me about getting their wines tasted live. The interviews with producers have been great, but internet issues can make them a bit tricky: you just don’t know how good other peoples’ connections are.

VG:  You seemed to be having a blast with Ernie Loosen. Do you have a favourite amongst the online presentations and virtual tastings that you have hosted thus far?  
JG:  I really enjoyed chatting with Ernie, who is great value. It was also good to connect with Elaine Brown, and it was super fun to chat with Anna Jorgensen in the Alentejo: she’s just taken over her sizeable family property and is making some really interesting changes, especially in the vineyard.

VG:  You actually contracted Covid-19 early on and spoke about losing your sense of smell and taste.  How scary was that for someone who earns his living smelling and tasting wine?
JG:  It’s pretty scary when your career is potentially over! Fortunately it came back. But for quite a while I was having to ask deep questions of myself. What would I be without my career? There was a lot to process.

VG:  I was recently re-reading Wine & Philosophy (2008).  Twelve years on, how are your orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala holding up?
JG:  I’m really fascinated by perception, which is why I wrote a book on it. You can only really make sense of perception with a multidisciplinary approach. The brain really is remarkable.

VG:  It is a little unusual for a wine-writer to be so philosophical.  Wax lyrical about which dead philosopher you'd like to share a bottle of wine with?
JG:  I guess I am unusual, but I like to think deeply. Sharing a bottle of wine with a dead philosopher? I’d go big and right back to ancient Greece, and have a night out with Plato. There’d be a language barrier, but with a Babel fish in my ear, I think we’d have some interesting discussions. I’d be pretty curious to taste the wines he drinks, too – wine back then would have been quite different, but maybe not as different…. Hmmm. It would be great to catch one of the symposia, too. Lots of smart people drinking wine together and musing on deep issues. 

VG:  I am impressed that you seem really interested in viticulture, again a tad unusual for a wine-writer.  Where does that interest spring from? Is it just part of the holistic and scientific way in which you approach your work?
JG:  I did a PhD in plant biology, and I have a love for all things botanical. Viticulture is at a very interesting place right now. It’s incredibly hard to do good experiments in vineyards if the readout is wine quality, and so if you rely on the scientific literature you probably won’t get a very good understanding of what’s going on in the vineyard. I find travelling and talking to people is a great way to learn.

VG:  You've traveled all around the world and been in some fabulous and storied vineyards.  Do you find it difficult to stop yourself from hugging the odd vine, or two?
JG:  I have this bizarre affection for good vineyards, and I’ve seen some famous ones. But the vine should just be part of the vineyard, not the whole focus. It should be seen as part of an agroecosystem. I love vineyards that are full of life. It’s also amazing to see vineyards where the vines are incredibly old. There’s something special about an old vineyard, even if they look a bit raggedy sometimes.

VG:  I know you used to grow a little back garden Pinot noir.  If you produced your own wine, what grape variety would you pick?
JG:  It depends where I am in the world. I’d love to work with Palomino, Trousseau, Pineau d’AunisAlbariñoPinencTintaBarocca and Pais

VG:  Although I know you love dogs, I don't take you for a critter-wine-label type of person.  What type of packaging do you think gives a wine shelf-appeal?
JG:  It depends on the segment, but for fine wine, good typography, simplicity and elegance, and wax.

VG:  And a name for your virtual wine?
JG:  Tetraphis pellucida. It’s the latin name of the moss I first grew in sterile culture when I began my PhD.

VG:  Besides yourself, who is your favourite English wine writer?
JG:  Andrew Jefford.

VG:  I personally don't believe it is possible, but do you love Hugh Johnson as much as I do?
JG:  His writing is effortless and a joy to read. But I’m guessing you win here.

VG:  When the travel ban is lifted, where will you be off to first?
JG:  Maybe Canada.

VG:  Next time you visit Napa, are we going to hang out and dish the dirt on some wineries?
JG:  Totally. I think we’d hit it off.

Thank you for indulging me, Dr. Goode.  
For more from Dr. Goode, go to Wineanorak.com.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A Tale of Three Wineries.

Or, perhaps:  Love (Ethics and Betrayal) in the Time of Covid.
When the Governor of California shut down all Napa Valley tasting rooms on March 16th, no one knew what to expect.  It was an unprecedented situation and the response to the immediate cessation of all hospitality business varied greatly from winery to winery.  Here are three tales, two uplifting, one of woe, of how a few wineries handled the financial, and mental, well-being of their personnel.
Winery no. 1, family owned, kept all of their staff working.  They found their employees lots of different things to do; telemarketing, shipping (because ecommerce went through the ceiling), filing, stuffing envelopes, cleaning, etc.  My source (and I do have one) did not lose a single hour of pay.  From now on, I will be buying this winery's wine in support of their admirable commitment to their staff.
Winery no. 2, a large international concern, simply paid all of their staff through June 1st to stay at home.  And stay safe.  Sure, the parent company of this winery has plenty of money and could afford to take this approach, but they didn't have to.  (So much for the big, evil corporations widely vilified in many media outlets.)  I already buy a lot of this winery's product and I will continue to because I think they cared for and treated their team in a very honourable way.
Winery no. 3, another family owned winery, sent some of their hospitality staff packing on March 16th and then...crickets.  When the restrictions on tasting rooms were lifted, the furloughed staff only learned that the tasting room was reopening when the winery posted about it on social media.  A few days later their employment was terminated, one staff member just 51 days shy of working for the family for 15 years.  Classy.  Not one drop of this winery's wine will pass my lips ever again, it would leave a very bitter taste.
It was difficult coming up with a photograph with which to illustrate this post.  How does one capture in a picture an example of a loathsome and heartless business practice.  The image of a big, steamy dollop of chicken manure popped into my head (I have a lot of it around nowadays).  But chicken poop is chock-a-block with goodies -  nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - it's great stuff.  No, winery no. 3 is just plain chicken s**t.  So I went with another avian themed photo instead, the bird.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Drip, drop, dribble.

I spent the entire day up close and personal with every single vine in Vinoland.  Tomorrow the vineyard is being sulphured so I needed to get all the shoots stuffed up under the trellis.  I also spent some time removing some laterals in the fruit zone.  Wow, there seems to be plenty of extra vigour this season.  All that surplus greenery just gets in the way of where the sulphur needs to go, so it was, "Off with their heads!"  It's okay, they don't feel a thing.
The vines also got their first watering of the year.  That meant checking every emitter, two for each vine, to make sure that they weren't clogged up with gunk.  All in all not bad, only a handful needed to be replaced which is much better than some past years.  The recycled water we are now using is much easier on the emitters than Vinoland's well water.
Drink up kids!

Friday, June 12, 2020

All five words.

Thus concludes my mini series of 'Wine Word Association'. 
In psychology it is believed that words can reveal something about a person's subconscious mind.  So then, what did my whimsical word game reveal?  In summary:
Gratitude.
Restraint.
Olé.
Tannins.
History.
Well, fancy that!  Titter, titter.
Alright, I'm finished with all that nonsense, fun though it was.  I need to return to writing more meaningful posts.  For example, stuff about my loyal Vinodog 2, all things flora and fauna and, of course, viticulture - after all, there is no wine without wine grapes.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

History.

One word: History.  Groth Vineyards & Winery made Napa Valley history when their 1985 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon received the first 100 point score (for a domestic wine) from wine critic Robert Parker Jr.  There is only ever one first time for anything, just one.  The first perfect score is a great history to have and Groth owns it.  In reading histories of the Napa Valley, it bothers me when I read articles about some or other bog-standard Napa Valley winery and the way in which said winery has helped shape the valley that both locals and visitors see today.  Groth is never mentioned.  (In the same way it irks me when a German, Charles Krug, is credited with producing the first commercial wine in Napa, when historical documents quite clearly show it was an Englishman, John Patchett.)  I always believe credit should be given where it is due.
Groth also have a history of making varietal wines that taste like what the label purports to be in the bottle: 38 years of that particular accomplishment to be exact.  (One would think that was a simple ask, but not every Napa Valley winery can claim that feat.)  Personally, my favourite Groth wine will always be any vintage of their Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon  The Oakville is my go-to cab when I want to drink something that truly tastes like a cab.
Groth most recently proved that they are not the new-kids-on-the-winemaking-block when it comes to producing wonderful Cabernet sauvignon.  Groth's 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was named no. 4 in Wine Spectator's top 100 wines of 2019 (an international list).
So what's the wine like?  Gorgeous.  The nose, redolent with blackcurrant, black cherry, lavender and mint is everything one would want in an Oakville AVA Cabernet sauvignon.  The mouth has more black fruit, red current, raspberry, elegant tannin structure and perfect acid (that is on point, like the acid in cranberries).  Those peeps at Groth know a thing or two about making a winning red wine...again, and again, and again.
Groth is history.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Tannins.

One word: Tannins.  I cannot count the number of times that I have been told, in almost a folkloric way, that a Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet sauvignon when young is so tannic that it is almost impossible to enjoy.  It is advised that one ages this wine for 20 to 25 years before drinking it.  (Hmm, that would take a lot of forethought.)  I have tasted a few vintages of this winery's Cabernet sauvignons (CS) in the past and, yes, I found them to be tannic.  I have also tried a barrel sample of their CS (and Chardonnay) when I visited the winery for a hillside viticulture class (as part of my degree programme at Napa Valley College) and it was, of course, very tannic.  So I was very curious to try this, not quite, 26 year old bottling from one of the classic wineries and much lauded producers of CS in California.
Tannins are naturally occurring phenolic compounds (technically, they are plant derived polyphenols) found in wine-grape skins, seeds and stems.  Tannins in wine are felt, not tasted - they are the textural component of a wine that has that astringent, tooth enamel stripping effect on the mouth.  CS as a wine-grape variety is inherently high in tannins.  And this particular wine is made from mountain fruit, so tannin extraction is elevated.  In addition to contributing texture, tannins act as a preservative enabling the cellaring of wine for an extended period.  So how tannic was this 2½ decades old wine?  Drum roll, please.
The 1994 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon was simply fabulous.  The cork was a little dry and broke on removal, usually not a good sign.  The colour was amazing, a deep garnet, showing very little age in the meniscus.  On the nose, cedar, blackberries, blueberries and an appealing savouriness.  On the palate, cedar again, woodsy, red currants, black fruits and vanilla.  Amazingly long finish.  Amazing!  Velvety and silky, but firm and precise structured tannins, pepper and other spices.  Delicious.  Despite how tannic this wine may have been upon release, right now it is elegant, luscious, classy, refined and mind blowing.  I'd predict that the 1994 still has many years of ageing ahead of it.  Thank goodness for polyphenols.
Mayacamas oozes tannins.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Olé.

One word: Olé.  I have to admit, 90% of the times that I have enjoyed drinking a Herrera wine it has been at a party; a blessing of the winery, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, release parties, a child's christening.  Just name a special occasion and I have been there enjoying wine.
In the same manner as hearing Greek music transports me back to the idyllic island of Ithaki, or the aroma of French roast coffee firmly plonks me down amid the boulevards of Paris, drinking this particular wine has me conjuring up some convivial, festive event in my head.  Herrera is a second label from winemaker Rolando Herrera, co-founder of Mi Sueño Winery.  Each small production wine in the Herrera portfolio is named for Rolando's wife and their six children.  Meet Lorena, the matriarch.
The 2017 Herrera Selección Lorena, Red Wine is not a shy wine: it is bold and spirited like its namesake.  On the nose, hot sagey-undergrowth (a descriptor I never could have understood back in England), black cherry, plum, vanilla and cedar abound.  On the palate, perfect acid, candied raspberry, berry compote, vanilla (could be a mixed berry pie, but it isn't) and smooth, lush tannins.  This wine is a wine-blanket for ones senses, nothing is left out, everything is covered, more than delivers on the quaffability-quotient.  Party in a bottle.
Herrera embodies olé.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Restraint.

One word: Restraint.  Farella have always practiced the art of producing finessed wines that age well and pair beautifully with food.  (Indeed, the winery's motto is 'Farella with food'.)  Pioneers of the planting of Cabernet sauvignon grapes in, what is now, the Coombsville AVA (2011), Farella's winemaking philosophy hasn't changed since the winery was founded in 1985.
Not every wine has to be a big, bold Napa Valley red, sometimes a more sober approach to wine making is more appealing.  Farella wines are excellent because of their subtlety.  The 2019 'La Luce' Sauvignon Blanc is a fair representation of the restraint that Farella exercise in all their winemaking.  I've had this wine many times before.  Lovely hint of grass on the nose with pear, mango, pineapple and honeysuckle - clean.  A little green apple skin on the palate, gooseberry, a soupçon of minerality and a trace of bitter almond on the finish.  In my honest opinion, if I was going to age this wine I would have liked a tad more acid.  But who am I kidding?  The wine was gone with one meal.
Farella shows restraint.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Gratitude.

One word: Gratitude.  Actually this word is not necessarily about the wine, but rather the wine's proprietors.  Mountain Tides (MT) is a wine project headed up by Scott Kirkpatrick and his wife Allison Watkins (best photography teacher ever, hence the cool label).  Remarkably, although a very small concern, MT have been offering a 30% discount on their wines since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic if purchased by, or for, a health care worker.  (The discount code is the first thing that comes up on their website.)  Amazing, I don't know how they do it, their wines are so value priced to begin with.  (Simply explained to me, they both have health care workers in their families and they are very appreciative of the sacrifices that doctors and nurses et al., are making during these difficult times.)  Wines with a purpose.
Concentrating on one grape variety Petite Sirah (PS), with which to produce the entire MT line up of wines, Scott and Allison source all of their grapes from more affordable vineyards and grape growing areas (i.e., more accessible fruit pricing than in Napa and Sonoma).  Smart.
The 2019 Carbonic Petite Sirah is a fun wine.  A beautiful ruby hue (packaged in a clear glass bottle), quite light bodied, low in alcohol (11.5%), pepper, cranberry, plum, perfume, earth and with a hint of those unmistakable PS chalky tannins on the finish.  It was suggested that I chill the wine before trying it, so I did, but I much preferred it when it warmed up to room temperature.  The MT Carbonic (yes, like Beaujolais) PS is a fresh take on a wine varietal that people don't often consider trying.  Go try it.
Mountain Tides has gratitude.

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Wine games.

With a particular bottle of wine in mind, I headed into Vinoland's wine cellar for a look-see.  Yikes!  I didn't realise that there is so much crappy, old wine in there.  There's a lot of good stuff, but there is a fair percentage of wine that needs to disappear - down the toilet if necessary.  Then, I had a thought.  I should select a bottle a week, taste the wine and post about it even if the wine is awful and undrinkable.
I remembered that I like doing series/themes of posts.  Amongst some in the past, there have been; Winery Christmas Lights (WCL), Napa Valley's American Viticultural Area Signs (AVA Sign), Wines of the World (WOTW) and, Thud's personal favourite, Week of Weeds (WOW).  Titter, Titter.  (To see all posts related to these series, click on respective labels below.)
As my search continued, dodging cobwebs (some with spiders in them), stubbing my toes on cases and almost triggering a small avalance of teetering bottles, I had fun trying to recall the provenance of individual bottles I espied.  Where did I buy this bottle?  Was it a gift?  Have I been to this winery?  Memories, mental images and single words popped into my head like a game of word association.  Or rather, in this instance, wine word association (WWA).  A ha!  A new idea for yet another (short) series formed in my mind.  One wine, one word.  I grabbed five random (local) wines with which to start.
Never did find the original bottle of wine that I was looking for.
Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Overjoyed.

Whilst working in the Pinot grigio (PG) this morning, stuffing shoots, I looked down and found an old earring of mine.  Why I looked down I do not know.  Stuffing shoots is definitely looking up through the canopy sort of work.  I am overjoyed to say the least.
I'd given up all hope of finding this earring.  I was fairly sure that it had dropped out whilst I was leaf-pulling in the PG block (almost 2 years ago).  But I had been in a vineyard that was being developed/ripped that day also, so when I noticed my earring was missing I wasn't 100% sure exactly where it had vacated my earlobe.  I looked along the rows a million times.  I contemplated buying a metal detector.  I decided the earring was a lost cause, I despaired.  They were very special earrings: Thud had bought them for me one Christmas and I wore them at my wedding to Vinomaker.  I was devastated.
Two weeks ago, I spent a whole week hoeing/hand weeding the PG block, so I had cleared a fair bit of real estate under the vines.  Didn't see a thing.  Then today, purely by chance, eureka!  None the worse for wear, just covered in Coombsville clay, I am really surprised that my filigree hoop hadn't been squashed by a tractor.  Vinomaker reckons the chickens unearthed my earring (the girls are wherever I am in the vineyard, I'm sure they think I'm the best chicken-scratcher out there).  But methinks my new guardian angel had something to do with me striking gold in the vineyard.  Thanks, mum!