Thursday, February 27, 2014
I finished pruning the Pinot grigio vines today, but I only have about 25% of the canes tied down (thanks to Vinomaker). It's forecast to rain tomorrow, but I can still tie-down in the rain. Then, on to the Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
The Smith-Madrone is not the oldest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (CS) that I have enjoyed, that is a distinction reserved for a 1982 TWWIAGE. However, it had to be the most stunningly alive, wonderfully structured and still strikingly relevant Napa Valley CS that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. Subtle echoes of black-fruitiness, wonderfully understated integration of oak, with firm, assertive tannins...blah, blah, blah...this wine had all the winning characteristics of a well made, aged and balanced CS from anywhere on the planet. To me it was very reminiscent of a Left Bank Bordeaux. Loved it. Vinomaker, on the other hand, was not nearly as enthused as I was about this wine; he thought it lacked fruit, I thought he was crazy.
Not everyone enjoys older wines. Some people, and Vinomaker is one of them, prefer more pronounced fruit characters in wine. I like fruity wines myself, but I also like the complexity of older wines. I drank a lot of older, French wines growing up, so I have a little bit of experience with how CS, for example, bottle ages - whereas the average Californian is used to drinking younger, fruit forward wines. That doesn't necessarily mean that I am cleverer than the aforementioned Californian wine consumer, but it does mean I have had a slightly more expansive older-wine education than most. In the case of the Smith-Madrone, I was able to balance the loss of some of the bold-fruit notes (a minimal loss, I might add), for the the complexity that the wine had attained through bottle-aging for 28 years. Curiously, Vinomaker finished this bottle of wine the next evening and loved it: for him the wine had opened up and was now displaying an acceptable level of fruitiness. In my estimation, this beautiful, middle-aged wine had many more years of age-worthiness ahead of it. And look at that price tag, I wish I could buy this wine at that price today.
Friday, February 21, 2014
1st Place: Celia Perez, V. Sattui
2nd Place: Maria Romero, Walsh Vineyard Management
3rd Place: Maria Dolores Torres, Promontory
4th Place: Maricruz Gutierrez, The Napa Valley Reserve
1st Place: Omar Perez, Joseph Phelps
2nd Place: Victor Silvestre, Renteria
3rd Place: Rolando Esquivel, Beckstoffer Vineyards
4th Place: Jesus Juarez, Moulds Family Vineyard
Now, I wouldn't normally be as specific as to name names, except for the fact that this year, for the first time, women were able to compete. And it's about time that women were included in this fun contest. Beginning at 8 a.m., at Beringer Vineyards Gamble Ranch, each contestant pruned six Chardonnay vines in the preliminary leg of the competition. Three judges reviewed the quality of the cuts which accounted for 40% of the total score, and the time it took to prune the vines which accounted for the remaining 60% of the score. The top six scoring women and top eight scoring men moved on to the finals, where four men and four women placed as winners.
Good job girls!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Happy birthday Vinomaker!
Friday, February 14, 2014
Happy St. Valentine's Day to you all.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Sunday, February 09, 2014
The photograph shows where the creek passes under the deer fence on the northern end of Vinoland. The water is only about 24-30 inches deep there, but it is moving quickly and a little further on has flooded a 10' wide flat area - another 7-8 feet and the creek will have reached the Pinot grigio vines. And to think I was going to start pruning the white grapes this weekend. The best made plans...
Friday, February 07, 2014
Now, I don't normally like labels to have too much information on them. I am more interested in the wine than somebody waffling on about their family history etc., but this label happens to be informative and fun. I was interested to learn that this Savignon blanc (SB) is made from two different clones of SB; Sauvignon Musque (from the Loire) and the Preston clone (from Graves). Am I familiar with these two clones? Can I taste each of these clone's unique characteristics? No, on both counts. But it does get me thinking about viticulture and all the other stuff I love about wine other than simply how the wine tastes. As it happens, this SB tasted great; nicely balanced acidity, a mouth-filling mid-palate, nice tropical fruit expression (with lashings of sweet candied-pineapple) and a satisfyingly long finish.
The fun stuff? I like the inclusion of the case production figure - I just find it an interesting little factoid. And I love the line, "...slowly made into wine by Gamble Family Vineyards" - because I agree with the old adage that says that 'wine is a journey, not a destination'. Though I'm not sure about the Gamble Family's being desirous of me to, "...enjoy this wine over several hours" - I think I'd need more than just one bottle to make this delightful tipple last that long.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
It also happens to be Chinese New Year (well, I'm a day late), so gung hey fat choi! Incidentally, it happens to be the year of the horse, so Tiggs is doing double duty. (Yea, so OK, pony, horse - let's not split hairs here.) Fittingly, I read in yesterday's paper that China is now the world's largest red wine consuming nation - ahead of France and Italy - according to a survey done by Vinexpo, the international wine and spirits exhibition organisation. The Chinese were responsible for downing 1.865 billion bottles of wine in 2013. Part of red wine's allure for the Chinese is said to be it's actual colour, as red has great symbolic importance within the Chinese culture. I'm thinking they may just like the way it tastes too.
It also happens to be St. Trifon's Day, so glad tidings to all grape-pruners out there...which reminds me that I need to get started pruning soon.
So happy, happy, happy day!