David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 9
February 27, 2000 to March 4, 2000 
Sunday February 27, 2000

I thought a few of you might be interested in an update on how I'm doing with my diet. I've been averaging 40 carbohydrates a day. To give a reference, only one-half cup of cooked white rice is 28-1/2 carbohydrates, one slice of sourdough bread is 13-1/2, and two ounces of cooked pasta is 14-1/2. In other words, I haven't been eating much of those foods. I still appear to be losing at a rate of 3 lbs. per week, or at this time 22 lbs. in 7 weeks. One of my customers who came by last Saturday happened to be a medical doctor and knew quite a bit about Xenical. Xenical is a prescription dietary supplement which blocks 30 percent of fat intake. I've also been taking Chitosan which is a natural fat blocker. The medical doctor felt these two pills that I'm taking daily could be responsible for part of my weight loss. As I've said before, this is the easiest diet I've ever been on and I have no question that I can lose as much weight at I want. As I told him, I know for sure I will be adding back some risotto and occasionally, bread. I will also be adding some fruits to my diet soon and of course I have been eating vegetables, which account for most of the 40 daily carbos. Once every two weeks I've been having a half of a potato, alternating each week with a couple pieces of pizza. I hope to lose at least another 35 lbs. hopefully within the next six months. 

Tuesday, February 29, 2000

Within the last week, we have had occasion to taste quite a number of local wines. I feel it is inappropriate for me to post tasting notes on some of our local wines that I may not rate highly so I will only mention those that I have rated favorably. 

I will start with a few Petite Sirahs. My favorite Petite Sirah to date has been the  '96 Edmeades Eagle Point (92) - it has fabulous fruit and body and terrific balance. My '96 Petite Sirah (91)  is not as big but I felt it had more  complexity, with good balance. 1996 Stag's Leap, Napa (82) had little fruit. 1996 Ridge York Creek (88) had good fruit and improved after one day. 

A couple of days later, we tasted a few Zinfandels. The 1997 Forchini is a very big wine and goes well with food but at over 15-1/2 alc. is not my style of Zin. I rated it 85, but others rated it over 90. The 1996 Edmeades Zeni had too much oak for my preference and thus I rated it 86. Surprisingly, the '96 Edmeades Mendocino at 16.5 alc. had better balance. I rated this one 87. 

Last night we had a few guests over and opened several bottles of 1997 Zinfandel. The 1997 Pezzi-King Maple was round and had good spiciness and I rated it 88 but I preferred the '97 Pezzi "SLR". To my palate, it had more spiciness and more fruit. I rated the SLR 90. My 1997 Zinfandel surprised me in that it was showing very well because of its very pronounced fruit component. It seemed to be very round with possibly the best balance of all the wines. I rated it 92. The 1997 Rafanelli was very intense with maybe slightly less extended finish, a very different style than mine but I rated it also 92. My favorite and I believe also the favorite of most people was the '97 Dashe Russian River. It was very intense with great fruit and I rated this one 93. I'm sure glad I bought a case of that one and plan on buying some '98. 

Rick Hutchinson of Amphora Wines was by recently and I bought a case of his 1998 Amphora Dry Creek Zinfandel. He opened a bottle when he was here for me to taste. My first impressions of this wine are very favorable. Tonight I plan to open a bottle to compare with my '98 Zin. 

Tuesday February 29, 2000 (9:00 p.m.)

We just finished tasting four 1998 Zinfandels from Dry Creek. Let me state right up front, it's hard to go from tasting '97's last night to '98's tonight. As I've stated before, I've been disappointed in my 1998 Zinfandels right from the press. Go back and take a look at our postings during harvest in 1998 for confirmation of this. Nevertheless, the wines have surprised me and I'm happy with the quality, but I still think they will never compare with the '97's, 99's or even the 96's. 

Pat always enjoys and even relishes in giving me blind tastings so tonight when I first tasted the four '98 Zins, I had different impressions than when I tasted them blind a little later :-). What I will give here are my impressions on the blind tasting only. I decided to open up the '98 Unti just before the blind tasting, so since it was not open nearly as long as the others, I will not rate it at this time. My 1998 Estate Zinfandel is still not showing a great deal of intensity at this time. It still seems to be fairly balanced but had a certain harshness in the blind tasting. I rated it 86. My 1998 Neighbors' Zinfandel is in my opinion definitely showing better than the estate with a great deal of spiciness, but compared to some of the better '97's doesn't stand up (88). The 1998 Amphora compares favorably. I'd like to talk to Rick Hutchinson about it a little more. I suspect it has more French oak than mine. It seemed to be the softest, most round while tasting it blind (88). 

Wednesday, March 1, 2000

I just got finished watching a great episode of Dawson's Creek (I have to check out what my Daughters are looking at - and there are some interesting new actors out there (:-)) ). To clear out the garlic from my roast chicken and vegetable dish I prepared, I took up to my living room a glass of the 1998 Unti Zin I opened last night. I didn't taste it until late again just like last night. It seemed to improve over night and did a great job of clearing out my garlic (a prerequisite of a good wine). It seemed to have less oak than mine and may be 100% zin. Very young and needs time. 

The other wines I tried tonight were three from last night and two new ones. My 1998 estate zin became more elegant and the Amphora and Neighbors' zin held strong and balanced. I opened a bottle of my 1998 Neighbors' Cuvee and a bottle of my 1998 Estate Cuvee. I thought the Estate Cuvee seemed very smooth and less intense than when it was first bottled. I would not taste any for another two months (89 pts). The Neighbors' Cuvee seemed much more lively and complex; more disjointed, but much more interesting at this stage (90 pts). I know I have been critical of this wine in the past so I am happy I was wrong. I know some of you feel it is one of my best wines of 1998. 

Thursday, March 2, 2000

Since I've gone ahead and finally decided that I'd post some sort of notes about my wines, we've added a page (which will probably eventually end up a set of pages) where you will be able to follow the wines all in one place (though it will just be a repeat of what I've posted to the diary).  You can get there by starting at our main "read" page, or directly by clicking here

We pulled up another 2 bottles of wine tonight. I want to assure all of you, we don't drink all of these wines we open up daily. As a matter of fact, we use most of the Coffaro wines that we do not consume to top off the barrels that are tapped into several times during the week for tasting. But to get back to tonight, we opened up two '97 Coffaro wines. After tasting 1998 wines for the last two nights, it was quite pleasurable to taste some of the '97 vintage. The two I chose for tonight were the '97 Carignan and '97 Petite Sirah. My first impression was that the Carignan was much rounder and fuller but that the Petite Sirah might be more complex and needed more time. After Pat and I consumed part of each bottle, I decided on a blind tasting. Since all of our wines are bottled in the exact same bottle, it is easy for me to create a blind tasting for myself. I was right in my perception but I was surprised at how different the two wines were when tasted blind. I felt the Petite Sirah seemed to be less complex and definitely needed much more time, and I preferred the Carignan. In the past, I had felt the 1997 Carignan seemed to be somewhat "light-weight," but tonight that definitely was not the case. I would rate them both equally - the Petite Sirah because of its potential and the Carignan because of what it is showing now - at 90 points each. After going back and tasting a small amount of the 1998 Estate Cuvee and 1998 Neighbors' Cuvee from last night, I have made a decision to try more of the 1997's because at this time they seem to be showing much better. I even opened up a 1998 Aca Modot just to see if my tastebuds were working right tonight and as I had perceived a few weeks ago, this wine seems to be shutting down. It had virtually no bouquet but had great tannin and intensity. I feel I'm going to wait at least a month before I taste another bottle. 

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