Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I love pie!

On Monday, I got a lovely surprise from my TWWIAGE co-worker, The Doodler, (the same co-worker that drew a Liverbird for me), and his better half, Pie-girl: a wonderful, Liverbird-adorned, apple-cranberry birthday pie.  It is absolutely delicious.  Yum!  I tell ya, it is a real pity that this photograph isn't scratch'n'taste.
The Doodler's better half has toyed with the idea of going into the pie-making business.  I don't know how feasible a pie-making business would be.  I would imagine there could be a problem with scalability, (i.e., supply and demand, and dealing with competitors), but I would invest in her because Pie-girl's products are scrumptious. Besides, I can't imagine that Pie-girl would be in danger of getting too many orders for Liverbird-pies.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I love Groth!

I blame it all on my sister, La Serenissima, who played a little bit of tennis in grammar school (with nuns!), but who, come British summertime, was glued to the telly for the entire fortnight of Wimbledon. I mean, nonstop.  And being 10 years younger, what was a little Vinogirl to do?  La Serenissima soon had me hooked. Nowadays, if I am not watching the news, or something English on PBS, I am watching tennis. Only now, I get to blame my fondness for the game on Vinomaker, who does actually play tennis 3 or 4 times a week.
I tried learning to play tennis a few years ago (a funny story in itself), but I wasn't very good, as, alas, most English people aren't.  So, in lieu of having countrymen and women to cheer on, I gravitated towards the Australian players who were all just so good at chasing that little white ball - I'm showing my age - around the court.
Tennis is hard, really hard, and that's why I appreciate a player like Sam Groth, a current Australian player on the ATP tour.  Sam has the distinction of having the fastest serve on record, (that's serve, actually getting the ball in play), which was clocked at an incredible 163.4 mph.
I love tennis.  And I have it on good authority that Sam is "a big wine fan".
Go Grothy!
Photograph courtesy of Samuel Groth, professional tennis player.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Happy Mother's Day, mum.

It is Mothering Sunday in England, or Mother's Day as it is more commonly known.  And here is my mum, all smiley and young.  In her day, my mother used to be fond of a glass of Merlot, or a nice Rioja, but she doesn't drink much anymore. However, her real poison was Cognac, preferably Martell, although she did have a soft spot for Louis XIII (Rémy Martin), thanks to Thud.
In England, Mothering Sunday falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent and, as it has its origins in Christianity, is not really related to the American Mother's Day, which is celebrated in May (other than honouring mothers, that is). Of course, I am partial to the English Mother's Day because I am English. But also because it signals that the end of my Lenten fast is now only three weeks away.  All things chocolate be warned.  But, I digress.
Happy Mothering Sunday to all (English) mothers.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

It's birthday time.

Ta da!  Another birthday, what fun!
I had a great day, thanks to Vinomaker.  A wine tasting at Reynolds Family Winery (interesting), lunch at The Oxbow (duck taco, followed by a passion fruit cupcake) and dinner at Eiko's (lots of sushi, yum).
At dinner, I took advantage of Eiko's Wine Wednesday wine list and enjoyed a very refreshing glass of Albariño; a 2014 Calavera Wines, Dragone Vineyard (Calaveras County AVA).  And a few sips of some other good stuff. A very agreeable day.
Oh...and Happy Birthday John Toshack.
Vinogirl loves birthdays.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Don't rain on my Syrah.

A fine first day of spring this turned out to be: the rain is back.  It seems that I really did finish pruning in the nick of time.
At breakfast this morning, as I sleepily gazed out of the window, I thought I noticed a little fuzz of green in the Syrah vines.  Sure enough, this evening, upon closer inspection, in the rain, with V2 in tow (who had the expectation of going for a walk when I got home from TWWIAGE, not looking at some upright twigs in a downpour), I can confirm that budbreak is happening in the Syrah.  I am happy that the vines are having a great start to growing-season 2017, but they do look a little forlorn and soggy.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Tied and tired.

I'm done!  I achieved the goal I set for myself and pruning is finished for 2017.  It took a lot of effort, I ignored a lot of other stuff I could've been doing and my hands are sore, but all the vines are pruned and the canes are tied down.  It feels great to be finished.  Whoo hoo!
Meanwhile, one week later, the Orange Muscat vines seem to be growing before my very eyes. The baby shoots have lengthened about 3 inches in the past six days.  The nascent inflorescence are now clearly visible.  I love this time of year, but I'm just a bit tired to enjoy it right now.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Saint Patrick's Day, 2017.

Vinodog 2 wants to wish everybody a very festive, but safe, St. Patrick's Day.  But really, it is just an excuse for her to put on another pair of silly glasses, secure in the knowledge that I will then post her photograph on Vinsanity.
In addition, Vinodog 2 also wanted to share with you all one of her favourite Irish sayings, "May the cat eat you and may the devil eat the cat." Whatever the bejesus that means!
Diddly, diddly, diddly, diddly...

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Budbreak: PG-style.

I had my suspicions.  When I drove past the Pinot Grigio vines on my way to work yesterday, I thought there was something afoot.  And I was right. Seems the Pinot Grigio vines have been enjoying the spell of warm weather, as have I. We haven't missed the rain one bit.
The weather started to cool down Wednesday and it was forecast to rain last night, but it didn't, so I got a good day of pruning the Cabernet Sauvignon vines in.  I had set myself the goal of finishing pruning everything by this Sunday, the 19th of March.  Even though I have to work at TWWIAGE tomorrow, I think I am still on target.  Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Happy baking.

I got a lovely surprise in the post last Thursday - a gift from my big sister, La Serenissima.  How nice.
I usually pick up the post on my way back from my afternoon promenade with V2, but there is never anything very exciting in Vinoland's mail receptacle, (the good stuff goes to our P.O. box in Napa).  Imagine my surprise when I discovered a cheery, yellow bubble-wrap envelope, that jangled when I picked it up, in the usually junk-filled box.  What could it be?  I was intrigued and could not walk quickly enough back to the house to open it.  Well, inside the package was an adorable set of grape and wine themed measuring spoons with a simple little note that said, "Happy baking!" Thanks, sis, I'll get right on that.
Funny, but I had made a mental note to myself only that morning that I needed to get a new set of measuring spoons, as, for years now, I have been using an old set belonging to Vinomaker. How could my sister have known?  A case of sibling telepathy?  Or just a happy coincidence? No matter, I just love them.
It just occurred to me that my new measuring spoons almost match my spoon ring and bracelet - how perfect.  In fact, I think the measuring spoons are so cute, I may just wear them.  But not before I have actually measured something with them.  Thanks again, La Serenissima.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Evolution and the missing (internet) link.

This is what happens when one gets 4 days of mid 70° F temperatures, but doesn't have any internet access to document it sooner.  Not just budbreak, but fully fledged leaves.  The Orange Muscat grapevines are enthused, nature is taking its course.
Of course, the grapevines don't care if I have internet access or not. Then again, perhaps they do: I had 50 extra hours with nothing better to do than prune and preen the little miscreants.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

2014, already?

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to be able to do a comparative tasting of Cabernet Sauvignons from the Oakville AVA.  Four out of the six wines included in the tasting were from the 2014 vintage: the other 2 were 2013s.  What?  That's crazy!  I'm only just getting acquainted with the 2013 vintage, which, in my opinion, is a young vintage that needs to be laid down (and forgot about) for a quite a few years yet.
My favourite of the assemblage was a Plumpjack Winery, 2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  With 5% Petit Verdot thrown into the blend, this Cabernet was complex and layered. Surprisingly, a dizzying 15.6% alcohol content - winemaker Aaron Miller told me the fruit hung a little long that year - was not a problem.  This wine is so balanced, fruit forward (lots of cherry - red and black), well integrated oak and with a palate-pleasing acidity, that there was no telltale burn from the high alcohol.  Just loved it.
On the home front, today I started pruning for the 2017 vintage of Vinoland's Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon.  Tee, hee!

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Hail, filaree!

I spent most of the day finishing off tying down the Syrah canes.  And dodging hailstones.
Beginning with my morning perambulation with V2 (when we both had to run and take cover to avoid being peppered with hail), I was interrupted, about every six vines, by another heavy salvo. The hailstones were very tiny, but plentiful.  It was also very chilly, so the hailstones lingered in small drifts against walls, fences and tree trunks. And cupped in the leaves of weeds that grow in rosettes, e.g., dandelion, catsear, bristly oxtongue and this whitestem filaree (Erodium moschatum).  Brrr.
I didn't have a lot of fun as I worked, but I did eventually finish the Syrah, yay!  Now, on to the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Ready, steady, bud!

And there you have it - Orange Muscat budbreak, 2017.  Ever so slightly behind last year (not surprising seeing as Vinoland had just experienced 8 days of frosty mornings), the Orange Muscat vines are waking up from their long winter nap.  As expected, it is the apical buds that are the most enthused.  Go little buddies, but stay warm.
Meanwhile, I am frantically pruning the Syrah vines.  With rain forecast for the next two days, it means I will be pruning the vines with my waterproofs on.  Prune hardy!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

World Book Day.

Today is the 20th anniversary of World Book Day: a day designated by UNESCO to celebrate books, authors and reading.
I wanted to celebrate some of my personal favourite wine books which, over the years, I have read again and again.  There is a handful of wine books that I continually return to and use as reference books.  (My list of books dedicated to the topic of viticulture is actually bigger.)  And some I just read for fun.
A special mention, once more, has to be given to the book Wine by Hugh Johnson.  That particular book, a gift when I was 17 years old (thank you, Thud), started my interest in all things wine.  And eventually viticulture. Wine is definitely one of my favourite books of all time, written by my favourite wine writer.  Thanks, Hugh.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Dewi Sant: 2017.

Happy St. David's Day from Vinoland.
Vinodog 2 is posing with fake daffodils. Why, might one ask?  Well, as usual, the daffodils are nearly finished blooming in our little corner of California, and when they were nice and fresh the rain and wind battered them to the ground. It was very upsetting to me.  Have I mentioned that I really don't like rain?  I think I have.  So, fake daffodils it is for this 2017 St. David's Day.
I hope everyone who is of Welsh extraction takes a little time today to celebrate their patron saint.
Bore da!