Friday, September 30, 2011

Not so vile a zin.

I really like Zinfandel.   I generally find this particular wine varietal's combination of raspberries and pepper to be a winning one...that is when it is made well.  Unfortunately, this evening's Zinfandel selection did not deliver the goods.
It's not that the 2008 Turley, Duarte Zinfandel was horrible.  It was pleasant enough, but it was slightly thin and, disappointingly, a little too oaky for me. Vinomaker and I acquired this bottle, and also one bottle of 2007 Turley, Cedarman Zinfandel, in a silent auction.  Thankfully, we didn't pay that much for the two bottles.  I'm hoping the second bottle is better than the first.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Biding time.

The folks at Far Niente have not been letting the grass grow beneath their feet, in fact they disked said grass into their Coombsville vineyard's floor a couple of days ago. The FN vineyard crew also, whilst playing the waiting game with Mother Nature, made hay while the sun shined and drilled-in this coming winter's cover crop.
The Chardonnay clusters are looking very nice right now, just a little bit of sunburn, but with more rain forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday who knows how long the fruit will stay looking this pretty. Waiting for harvest is not a total waste of time, there are a number of other vineyard operations for vineyard managers to busy themselves with whilst they wait, and wait, and wait. Sigh!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"So run, you cur."

So, last night in class I learned how to make sepia (and selenium) toned prints. It just so happened that I was printing a vaguely Western themed photograph of Vinodog 2 and I thought it'd make a great candidate for my first attempt at sepia. Isn't she cute?
Move over Wyatt Earp, there's a new cowdog in town!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First autumn rain.

A wet spring, late budbreak, a cool summer, elevated powdery mildew pressure, senescence of the vines, and now a rather untimely autumn rain. Apparently, Mother Nature gave up drinking wine in 2011 without telling anybody about it, and now it seems that she has determined to not let anyone else even consider producing a vintage this year.
My poor grapes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bye bye leaves.

The leaves of Vitis vinifera live for approximately 150 days: that's almost a full 5 months, from the time of budbreak, of basking in the warm California sun. The basal leaves, the first to appear in the spring, have done their very best for this vintage and are now amongst the first to slowly take their leave. See ya next year!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Black and white grapes.

The current assignment in my darkroom photography class calls for me to create a series of images that are inspired by a published photographer of my choosing. Whilst I would have liked to do a series of photographs of the Vinodogs, a la William Wegman, the reality is that my poor, arthritic Vinodog 1 can no longer be contorted into various poses just to satisfy my photographic aspirations. Instead, I have decided to create a portfolio of botanical images...starting with grapes of course.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just because 5...

In an effort to do absolutely anything but my photography homework, I have decided to take a break and post a photograph of my favourite (for very obvious reasons) wine bottle-stopper. Thanks Thud!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Worth the doe?

Without getting into a discussion about the placement of the apostrophe in Stags' Leap, versus Stag's Leap, I'm posting about a fabulous 2010 Viognier from Stags' Leap Winery, formerly owned by Carl Doumani who is known for having had a bit of a punctuation disagreement with Wayne Winiarski (of the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting fame), who formerly owned Stag's Leap Wine Cellars (now owned by Tuscan producer Piero Antinori). Okay, I think I just gave myself a headache.
I don't particularly care who owns the winery now, or indeed where whoever decides to put their particular apostrophe (although the California Supreme Court may care), I just love this wine. Redolent with the usual Viognier stone-fruity suspects and a big, blossomy nose, it is the ultra bright acidity in this Viognier that makes it a real winner. The finish just goes on and on. The wine retails for about $25 and it is well worth it. A fitting libation for California Wine Month.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ashes to ashes.

Lord Byron wrote: "...truth is always strange; stranger than fiction." Some things in life you just can't make up. And, some things are best left unsaid.
Whilst chatting with an older couple (in the winery where I am gainfully employed), who were in the act of purchasing a 6L bottle of one of the finest Cabernet sauvignons in the Napa Valley, they shared a little too much information with me. "We are going to drink this wine at our wedding...and then save the bottle to use as an urn for our ashes." Yes! These folks were going to store their earthly remains, albeit incinerated, in a rather large antique-green Bordeaux bottle. I really didn't need to know that, definitely TMI. Very strange indeed.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Pick a barrel.

Now is the time of year when producers, throughout wine country, are fervently preparing for harvest, although there has been a little bit of breathing room this vintage.
The purchasing of new barrels is a major concern for winemakers, and each winery will have a very individualistic barrel protocol. The winery at which I am gainfully employed purchases a butt-load, (that is a technical term), of new French oak barrels, for Chardonnay and Cabernet sauvignon production, from perhaps as many as a dozen different cooperages. Consequently, quite a large number of barrels have been arriving at the winery for the past few weeks; preceded by a passel of barrel salesmen, eager to secure large contracts, bringing with them promotional materials they each hope will curry favour with the winemaker. These promotional materials often include t-shirts, coffee mugs, wine thieves and...toothpicks, French oak toothpicks no less. It could be worse, The Boswell Company could have offered the winemaker a peg leg, or George Washington's false teeth, as a conciliatory gift.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Happy Blogday.

This evening, I felt that the third anniversary of my blog called for a celebratory dessert. So, one chunk of banana nut bread (topped with a scoop of banana gelato and drizzled with a Cabernet syrup) later, my craving for revelry was satiated. I think I really should have treated myself to a candle though.

Once again, I want to say a quick thank you to those who regularly comment on Vinsanity. It is always a lot of fun to read your comments and I am very appreciative of your time and input.
Roll on year 4!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

True Wine Lover 11.

One word: Jancis. In the world of wine, in fact in the history of the entire world, not too many people get to be known by their Christian name alone (think Napoleon and Elvis), but my True Wine Lover 11 is one such person.
The Oxford educated Jancis Mary Robinson OBE - where she read mathematics, so you can be fairly certain that she has a brain the size of a small planet - is one of the, if not the, world's leading writer of educational and encyclopedic material on wine. In fact, Jancis is probably better known to the wine-imbibing public than my beloved Hugh, but I bet Jancis loves Hugh too.
It was whilst watching the televised trials of Jancis becoming the first journalist to pass the battery of exams to become a Master of Wine in the 1980s, that a nascent oenophilia really metastasized in the teenage Vinogirl. However, despite her obviously vast all-things-wine-knowledge, the ever modest Ms. Robinson maintains that she is first and foremost a wine writer, not a wine critic.
If you don't know who Jancis is then you have been deprived the experience of truly great wine-writing and I pity you. Do yourself a favour, read something by Jancis today!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

California Wine Month 2011.

California's Governor, Jerry Brown, has proclaimed that September 2011 is California Wine Month.
Different governor (Arnie is now history), same message: Drink California wines...and keep Vinogirl gainfully employed.