David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 42
October 15 to October 21, 2000 

Monday October 16

Sunday and today, Monday has involved my trying to decide blends. I started yesterday gathering almost every pertinent P.H. reading on our wines. I have done total acids before, but I feels that P.H. is more important and far less time consuming. Total acid is just that (supposedly all types of acids), but P.H is something I can relate to more from past experience. Now everyone knows that a lemon is very acidic. Actually a lemon has a ph of 2.0 and is 10 times more acid than vinegar at 3.0. Finished wine starts at 3.0 very acid to 4.0 very little acid (ten times less acid than vinegar). As most of you know water is 7.0 or neutral and can go to alkaline up to 9.0. My readings yesterday were as usual predictable, but also unpredictable. I got readings as low as 3.28 (our newly fermenting carignan) and as high as 4.08 (The gringo/ Bernier). All my Aca wine is at high enough acid to age for over 10 years (3.5 to 3.6) and my petite sirahs are all under 3.5. Our zins are perfect at about 3.6 and the syrah is low acid at 3.9. Also surprising--the cab franc from Jones is 3.9. The block 4 is at 3.7 and may be a little too low for my tastes and the Teldeschi fruit is at 3.5, great for blending. 

Since I must now consider acids in blending, as I usually do, in the next few days I must try to estimate by the computer what I think will blend into a balanced wine of ph of between 3.55 and 3.7. After that, starting next weekend, hopefully I will start barrel tasting so that I can eliminate the computer and evaluate what my palate says. 

Tomorrow we will press our bottom cab for the Estate Cuvee. Right now the ph is sitting about 3.5. On Wednesday we will press the new carignan (ph of 3.30) I will use all the various ph's in consideration for my new potential blends. 

Wednesday October 18

Yesterday I tried to celebrate. No not because the Raiders won Sunday; no not because Gore kicked ass even though Bush might of won because he was a nice guy, but yes because I finished harvesting. Then I realized I'm not finished!!! Next week we will consider starting the harvesting of our Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc. It will be an effort, but I know Brendan is up for the task. He will have to endure bee stings, and be patient enough to harvest only the most ripe bunches at first. Then he will have to go back every few days or after a rain to harvest a little more. As you have guessed, I have no desire to make or help make the wine anymore. Since I am on a modified Atkins diet, I have no interest in sweet wines. As a matter of fact even sparkling wines don't interest me, because most of them do have residual sugar in them. 

Yes we did finish harvesting red grapes yesterday. We harvested only 850 lbs of second crop from our vineyard (mostly cab). And 1.3 tons of Jones Cab Franc. I sold the rest of the cab franc to Keith Mietz who may blend it with his cab. If I did not have the mourvedre, I would have taken the other 1.25 tons sold to Keith. This Cab Franc was wonderful looking fruit and, if it holds up to what we produced last year, will blend in well. The acid and sugar was perfect and the flavor was great. 

We did press our new carignan and yesterday our estate cuvee cab. Both had more than enough acid and color that will lead to great intensity. I can not say the same for the mourvedre that we purchased from Contra Costa County. Even though several who should know think the wine is typical of mourvedre, I feel it is light with some pepper character. It does have good fruit so I will produce about 250 cases and blend in some syrah for color, barbera for color and acid and a barrel of what we harvested yesterday for complexity. Any of you interested in purchasing this wine at $12 are welcome. I am certain by blending I will make a wine I will like. I will guarantee you that if this wine is wimpy I will not release it. As some of you know, I was not crazy about my 1998 Neighbors' Cuvee, but I sure did not think it was light. Also, my 1998 Estate zin is coming around even though I was concerned of the lack of depth. 

Another wine that I feel is lacking in character at this time is my 2000 Pinot Noir. Since we blended in some fruit from a different vineyard this year, I feel it may have contributed to a lower acid wine. Remember, I do not like Pinots because they are wimpy. This wine so far is wimpy so many of you Pinot fans may like it. I need your input!!! I will not release this wine under my name unless I feel it has enough body to stand up to pizza (that is my test for a worthy wine). 

I have been so busy with winemaking, customers, and the paying of bills that I have not been able to complete a new estimate of the blending of our wines. The PHs and thus acids are crucial in my calcuations so I need more time. There are so many possibilities!!!!!! But I will not rest until I at least make a decision at this time, of what I consider the best blends of acid, color and character. 

Saturday October 21

I've started tasting some barrels in the last few days and have been real impressed with the cabs and petite sirahs. Also the carignan is going to be exactly what I want. Both zins (estate and neighbors' will be much better than 1998, but may have trouble topping the concentration of the combination I made in 1999. I even tasted the pinot and mourvedre and feel I have been too harsh on their potential. The pinot does have good body now that it has gone thru M/L. Also the mourvedre has some interesting pepper tones. 

Here are new figures for the Petite sirah and carignan. Also we are offering the mourvedre for $12 until nov 6.  We now again have a limited amount of carignan and petite sirah available. 

2000 Mourvedre   75% mourvedre, 11% barbera, 9% syrah and 5% cab franc.     240 cases   $12
2000 Petite sirah   76% petite sirah, 24% cab franc                                              330 cases   $14
2000 Carignan      75% carignan, 21% cabernet, 3% cab franc and 1% barbera     275 cases   $14


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