Sunday, March 30, 2014
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Friday, March 28, 2014
It was a pretty easy process as the Cabernet sauvignon vines are still slumbering. The cooler weather this week has slowed things down a bit, so I'm predicting that budbreak won't happen for another 4 or 5 days yet.
Also, got a couple of dead vines removed (thank you, Vinomaker) and filled the holes (that Vinomaker dug) with new, baby vines. The photograph shows, but not very well (I should have used a different background), one of the extracted vines which has a deep, 11" split along the lower half of it's trunk. Did this split cause the death of this vine? No, I'm sure this vine had just run it's natural course and the split occurred postmortem. Hate when that happens. But I love it when I have finished pruning.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
As is our tradition, Vinomaker and I like to surprise each other with a visit to a new restaurant on the other one's birthday. My surprise eatery this birthday was Lulu's Kitchen at 1313 Main. 1313 Main is a wine bar/lounge located at 1313 Main St. in downtown Napa.
And as is our tradition, our wine choices for the evening were from the 'Wine by the Glass' wine list - not as extensive as at some other restaurants, but nevertheless we found enough variety to keep us entertained. And the wines were;
Weingut Knoll, "Lobiner" 2012 Grüner Veltliner, Federspiel, Wachau, Austria.
Terre Rouge, 2012 Viognier, Amador County, California.
Xarmant Txakolina, 2012 Hondarabbi Zuri, Arabako Txakolina, Spain.
Gamling & McDuck, 2010 Cabernet Franc, Napa, California.
Lioco, "Satira" 2011 Carignan, Mendocino County, California.
Muga Reserva, 2009 Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain.
The tapas-style small plates we paired with these wines were all fairly decent, but really nothing to write home about. I enjoyed myself, but I'm not in a hurry to revisit Lulu's, there are so many more restaurants in the valley to try.
Thank you Vinomaker for an enjoyable birthday evening.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Oh...and Happy Birthday John Toshack.
Vinogirl loves birthdays.
Friday, March 21, 2014
One distraction was a huge cluster of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) that just looked so splendid I had to get a closer peep. The poppies got going a little later this year, because of the lack of winter rain, but they are now blooming spectacularly en masse. And they are everywhere: this year's crop is perhaps the most prolific display of full-on-poppy-goldiness I have ever seen. There should be plenty still blooming by California Poppy Day, which is April 6th.
Then I got distracted by a crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes) who in turn was distracted by a small, pollen covered beetle. The beetle flew off and I went back to pruning.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
Now, back to the Cabernet vines.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
During the dessert course a few vintners were asked to speak about wine and aging, and here are the aforementioned quotes. Firstly, John Williams of Frog's Leap Winery compared wine to people claiming "if either starts out ugly, they're doomed to remain ugly." Titter, titter. And secondly, Warren Winiarski (he of '1976 Tasting of Paris' fame) waxed a bit more lyrical than Mr. Williams philosophising that "wine is not a living thing (as many espouse), but rather a dying thing, hopefully dying gracefully." Snigger, snigger.
I am going to add a third quote, more about people than wine, from my dearest mother who has been known to quip, "I don't plan on aging gracefully. I plan to do it disgracefully." The older I get, the more I am inclined to agree with her. Chuckle, chuckle.
Friday, March 14, 2014
If anyone needs to find me, I'll be in amongst the Syrah.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Happy birthday V1!
Sunday, March 09, 2014
I had to abandon pruning in the Cabernet vines because the Syrah vines simply cannot wait. I did, with Vinomaker's help in removing last year's growth from the trellising, get quite a bit pruned. It makes it very difficult to prune when the buds are so advanced, as even the simple act of pulling the old growth away from the trellis wires can easily knock off adjacent buds - never mind the fiddly process of wrapping and tying down the new canes.
I will get everything pruned eventually, even with my day-job paring into my pruning time, but I will have to accept the loss of some crop. At least the Orange Muscat and Pinot grigio pruning went smoothly this season.
Friday, March 07, 2014
The weather has cooled down a bit and more rain is forecast for this weekend, so I think I am on schedule to finish pruning all of Vinoland about the same time as last year (March 30th). I think I have plenty of time, at the rate I am going, to finish pruning before the Cabernet Sauvignon (CS) and Syrah vines become enthused. I am a little under half way through the CS vines (which still seem to be snoozing), but unfortunately I have to work at TWWIAGE today and won't be able to do anything in the vineyard. It's OK, I'm not panicking. I repeat, I am not panicking.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
My pruning wasn't nearly as productive as the vineyard crew from Far Niente, who pruned their entire Chardonnay vineyard in one go today. And not a moment too soon: each bud, especially in the eastern block of this vineyard, was pushing - right on cue with last year.
I was thinking that budbreak was a little earlier than last year, due to our warm and dry winter. But as I have said before, despite mankind's narcissism in believing that we control everything in the universe, the vines know what to do and when to do it.
Sunday, March 02, 2014
Whilst perusing the Real Estate section (I'm noticing that Napa County housing prices are definitely on the rise), I came across this week's 'Featured Property'. Now, it's not unusual that some of the higher end properties for sale come with acreage planted to vines, but, invariably, the usual grape-suspect is Cabernet Sauvignon. So I was surprised to see that this property included a planting of Ribolla Gialla, one of the indigenous grapes of Friuli in Northeast Italy. Ribolla Gialla seems an unusual choice for a Napa vineyard, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the only Ribolla Gialla planted in the entire county. I shall have to do some research.
A snip at $5,750,000 (I'll take two), I can't help but wonder how much real estate could be acquired in Friuli for that amount of money. Them there's some expensive grapes.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
March definitely came in like a lion in Napa. Extremely high winds overnight, that continued until about 11 a.m., have made a mess of Vinoland, with branches and twigs strewn all over the place. V2, who is morbidly afraid of wind, has been pinned to my side and has been loath to go outside - even for her morning ablutions. I generally don't like wind myself, it's very unsettling. One good thing, however, is that the wind has dried-up the ground a bit. It was very muddy working, tying down canes, in the Pinot grigio vines yesterday. I should have better luck today, at not getting stuck, when I start pruning the Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
So Happy St. David's Day to all - whether one is of Welsh extraction, or not.