|Tuesday October 24
It's Pat's birthday today so we are going out to lunch. Brendan is filling our last 5 barrels. Two with cab franc 2nd crop and two with what was a fermentation that has finished, consisting of half cab franc 2nd crop and half a combo of our estate 2nd crop of cab and barbera. The last barrel he will fill will be a mixture of both fermenters. This barrel may be added to the mourvedre in January when we blend. I have instructed Brendan to taste many of our 190 barrels in the next few days. I am hoping to encourage him to post some tasting notes.
Wednesday October 25
Today we got some good news when we learned that almost all of our barrels have gone through malo/lactic fermentation. That means we will be able to add S02 in order to clear up some of these yeasty smells developing. Actually this year I am encouraged that we have less off smells than ever. I did taste several barrels today and did get Brendan to post his tasting notes that will follow. I have added comments, in order to clarify, when I have an opinion regarding which wine these barrels may go into.
Brendan's Tasting notes: (with my notes)
Sauvignon Blanc (Tank)- Great nose. Great acidic structure and explosive tropical fruit flavors. Lots of citrus. This is my favorite of the two S.B.’s.
Sauvignon Blanc- (Barrel Experiment)- O.K. nose. Orange peel/light citrus. Nice body and mouthfeel. I prefer the fruit of the Tank S.B. but I think the Barrel S.B. will add a lot of additional complexity to the final blend.
Zin P + B- (estate wine-to go into our estate zin) Clean, solid Zin. Decent but not intense fruit running from red cherries to darker flavors. Nice structure/mid palate. Nice finish.
3rd Zin- (estate wine-to go into our estate zin) Fresher fruit than the P+B. Full acid. O.K. finish. Focus is on fresh Strawberry/raspberry flavors. Also has a strong cherry element from the mid to the finish.
Block 4- I tried this wine out of a new American oak barrel and although it has only been in the barrel for a month it was packed with smoke and toast. In addition the fruit is focused on plums and blackberries. A little rough now but it has a lot of potential.
Gringo Red- (to go into our neighbors' zin) Starts nice but then dies on the palate. It has soaked up a lot of oak just like the Block 4. This will make a nice piece to blend with but as of now it doesn't have the depth to stand alone.
Gringo/Lane- (to go into our neighbors' zin) O.K. Kind of rough. Good, solid mid-palate and finish. Light tannins. It should add good structure to a blend.
Barbera- I am always fascinated by our Barbera. It is the only red wine that I ever drink that consistently tastes like citrus because of its aggressive acidity. Last year our pure Barbera tasted like lemons. This year it is a little more subdued with flavors of tart oranges/orange peel. It is rounded out with tart raspberries and fresh fruit flavors. Nice finish. As always, this is a great asset for blending.
Cabernet Franc- I have mixed feelings on this wine. On one hand I think it tastes more like classic Cab Franc then last year and is going to make a great wine with lots of depth and character. On the other hand, part of being “classic” Cabernet Franc is a slight green/herbal component which sets my nerves on edge. It is PURELY personal preference, but I HATE vegetal flavors in wine. Although these flavors are very mild in this years Cab Franc, they are still more pronounced then last years Cab Franc which I loved. Most people should love this wine, however. It has a great nose, color, body and finish. It also has fabulous tones of blueberries (another classic Franc trait) all through the mid-palate.
Carignan- Great fresh fruit flavors. Good mid. Great finish. Even as young as it is this wine has a very soft mouthfeel with compliments of cherries.
Aca Modot Cabernet Sauvignon- Yummy! Absolutely delicious. This wine has it all; color, structure, fruit, body and finish. This is going to be a monster wine.
Aca Cabernet Franc- Compared to the Aca Cab kind of disappointing. It has good but not great fruit and mild tannins. It will be interesting to see how it develops in the barrel.
P-Bot- Right now the Petite Sirah and the Aca are neck-in-neck for best wines of 2000. This wine is just packed with rich, dark fruit and has a long, velvety finish that is mouthwatering.
P/K- This wine is the same clone of Petite Sirah as the P-Bot but is grown a couple of hundred feet away on a different piece of soil. It is the perfect compliment to the P-Bot. Instead of an incredible finish this wine offers explosive forward fruit that almost attacks your taste buds with its intensity.
P.S. – The final element in this impressive trio is our second clone of Petite Sirah grown side-by-side with the P/K. The P.S. shares the explosive forward fruit of the P/K but also has a great full middle and mild tannins that fill your mouth and provide the perfect center point for the P-Bot and P/K.
(all three of these estate petite sirahs will be used in our estate cuvee, estate zin and petite sirah)
Pinot Noir- Pinot Noir is always difficult for me to provide an opinion on because it always seems to take a while to develop in the barrel and it defies a simple analysis by changing character constantly. What you taste and smell today may or may not be what you taste and smell tomorrow. With that said I wasn't a big fan of this wine by itself. The nose was a little off and it seemed a little light. It does have very nice strawberry highlights with a edge of spice but it still seems to be missing something. That something could very easily be a touch of Syrah. We ended up with an extra half barrel of Pinot Noir this year so we topped it off with some extra Syrah that we had. The results so far are very impressive. Just a touch of Syrah fills out the Pinot and transforms it from a slightly-above-average wine into an exceptional wine. This blend may shock many people who think that they are traditionalists but the truth is the Burgundy region of France has snuck Rhone wines into their blends for a long time.
Syrah- Absolutely black in color. Assertive flavors of plums, spice and darker fruits dominate. The shocking thing is that as bold and dark as this wine is, it has only mild tannins and has a very mellow mid-palate. Strength with finesse.
Syrah/Barbera- Yum! Delicious up-front fruit. Nice acid. These wines compliment each other incredibly well. The Barbera Tuesday October 24 provides the fresh fruit, acid and structure while the Syrah fills out that structure with smooth flavors of dark fruit and spice. This wine would be great on its own but will also be fantastic in a blend.
Mourvedre- We only pressed this wine late last week so it is still finishing fermentation and going through ML in the barrel. My initial impressions are that the color is very light but pleasant and the flavors are simple but tasty. It tastes sort of like a can of Kerns Strawberry/Guava Nectar. It will be interesting to try again in a couple of weeks.
Cab Bot- (estate wine-to go into our estate cuvee) Slightly vegetal nose (again, not a big fan of vegetal smells/flavors). Other than that, very nice flavors. This wine will make a great base for blending. It has a great middle and great structure. Also, its soft, ripe fruit and spice should mesh well with a wide selection of other varieties.
Teldeschi Zin/Cab- (to go into our neighbors' zin) Right now I am not a big fan of this wine although I think I just grabbed a bad sample. The barrel I sampled smelled kind-of funky. I need to go back and try it again after we add SO2 to the barrels and they sit for a week.
(Brendan did a great job, but I would have described some of these wines differently. I don't mind the vegetal smells and tastes-I feel it is more herbaceous and will add character. I really like the Teldeschi Zin/Cab and the gringo/Lane. I suspect the neighbors' zin could be very interesting this year. In the future I'll try to say more about what I think of these barrels blended into all our different wines.)
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