David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 44
October 27, 2002 to November 2, 2002 

  Wednesday October 30, 2002

I have been hard at work reviewing all 204 barrels we have full. Actually I don't consider it work. I consider what I have been doing, and obsession. I love this time of year. I can't believe I have finished calculating the first potential blending spreadsheet. I have enjoyed every minute. 

First of all I had to tabulate every gallon of wine that went into every barrel. Some barrels, as you will see, have 100% zinfandel; some 100% cab and so on. Some barrels have a combination of many varietals. As I said last week, I have many different alcohols, from a low of 12.10 in one barrel of "Cab Bot", our estate cab in the bottom sandy loam, to a high of 14.72 on our carignan. Brendan and I calculated all the alcohols on the barrels that had finished fermentation. Also all the ph's were run on these barrels. PH is a measure of acid. We are aiming for an acid between 3.40 and 3.70 on a finished blended wine. This ia a reverse relationship meaning a PH of 3.3 is high acid and a PH of 3.8 is low acid. Since the Bennett Valley pinot came in at about 3.90 ph and our carignan from the knoll (PK) had ph's about 3.2, they were a natural blend. Also the barbera's were about 3.2 ph so I had to do some thinking on that. I am trying to produce a wine that is anywhere between 13.5 to 14.5 alcohol so some blending had to be done on some wines. I also want to produce a zin and carignan over 14% alcohol. I was hoping to produce a petite sirah over 14%, but that was not possible this year (Don't worry, the intensity is there). 

In general I was surprised that the alcohols came in lower than we expected. Obviously, we will have to re-evaluate our calculations with our new alcolizer. I must also remember, that since we ferment fast and furious, the alcohol is blown off faster than if we had fermented at low temperatures. 

9:00PM I can't stop. I have changed the spreadsheet, containing my blended wines, several times today. I know I will change it many more times in the next two months. We blend at the end of January so I have time, but I love coming up with more possibilities. Brendan today came up with the possibility of blending our Bennett Valley syrah with some of the  Dry Creek cab we bought two weeks ago. That sounded great to me so I am now working on that option. Steve, Brendan and I tasted all 10 of our zin possibilities today and we were very happy with what we tasted. ALL ten were good and consistently the same. I can't remember when we were happy with all samples at this time. I know I say we don't taste the blends, but we do taste the components. Remember we are not making a 100% zin and will never, but we do need to taste these zins to decide if some are more different than others. I will report more tomorrow. 

Thursday October 31, 2002

I am confused and I am shook up and it is not because of Halloween. I just tasted two bottles of wine that were identical except for size and they were totally different. These two wines were our 2000 dry 2000 Sauv Blanc. One was oxidized and one was not. Brendan told me yesterday that he was informed by several retailers that our 2000 SB in half bottles was not tasting well. I was skeptical; but Pat and I did taste our full bottle and half bottle blind and there was no question that the half bottle was oxidized (meaning, to be nice, it was tasting somewhat caramelized). I have had many half bottles over the years including many great Bordeauxs that had not shown any sign of aging so I was surprised. I can't explain it, but maybe there is something to the size of the bottle. BUT I STILL DOUBT IT! There is more to this story, but I will never figure it out. Isn't wine wonderful. 

Brad and I have spent much time on my Excel spreadsheets and now have uploaded the original Excel files (Barrel Placement in Winery; First Blending Spreadsheet ) and standard web page links for those of you who don't have Excel (Barrel Placement in Winery; First Blending Spreadsheet). I am hoping to have many questions concerning the ART of my blending, but really it is more spreadsheet than not. I am toying with you somewhat, but before I go on, I need to hear back from those of you who are interested in my blending schemes. Pat thinks I am giving away too much of my secrets, but I am not worried: There is more to this BLENDING. 

Friday November 1, 2002 

Besides tasting many of the wines out of the barrels, I should explain how the information was transferred from the  "Barrel Placement in Winery" [Excel File; webpage] to the "First Blending Spreadsheet" [Excel File; webpage] . I simply cut and paste. I first write down and then transfer all the information containing the make-up of each barrel to the placement spreadsheet. Then by selecting individually the information for each of the 204 barrels I move it to the blending spreadsheet. I will explain more later.


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