|Thursday June 26, 2003
After last weeks car sale, some of you have been concerned about whether I still have a wife. I can assure you that Pat is still here and we are working hard to keep you happy. This is a big job, but we both enjoy what we are doing.
I am now setting up to make the final arrangements to bottle our 2002 vintage wines. We bottle, all of our wine, within 10 months so we do not hold any of the past vintages for later bottling as do most wineries. I want to preserve fruit. Next week I will post our schedule for the wine to be bottled.
We finally had a spike up in the high vineyard temperature to day. This high of 108 degrees is normal for this time of year. What we will see now is night time lows into the 50's again. Lately we have seen night time lows above 60. I am very happy with the temperatures this year even though we could be two weeks behind normal.
Thursday July 3, 2003
As I predicted our nighttime lows have moved below 60 degrees, even as low as 44 yesterday. Again this is normal for us. The vines need a rest every night.
Here is a schedule for our bottling, starting July 7th. All case amounts
Sunday July 6, 2003
Tomorrow will see the start of bottling for our 2002 red wines. As usual, I am excited since I will now have a chance to drink them and compare to past vintages. As in the last several years we are producing new red wines. This year the two new wines are Barbera and "My Zin". After starting to serve barrel samples in January of the finished blends, I have found that most of you have preferred the "My Zin" to the Estate Zin. The Estate Zin is jammy with good spice and the "My Zin" has more structure and tannin, but is also more complex. I encourage any of you, who have not tasted the two wines, to come by and compare. As usual, your order may be changed. It is interesting that both wines contain the same zin from my vineyard and also have the same acid level and are both 14.5% alcohol. The "My Zin" has no carignan and contains a more tannic petite sirah. The Estate Zin contains some carignan and Peloursin.
Yes, you read that correctly. We have Peloursin in our vineyard. We sent off samples to U.C. Davis and they have identified one of our petite sirahs as Peloursin, an obscure Rhone varietal. In the past we have isolated these vines and had some new plantings made up at a nursery. We have called these vines, in my diary and notes for the winery, as P Bot. We have used it at times in our Estate Zin and Estate Cuvee. In the future Peloursin will be used in our Terre Melange and Estate Zin and our other clones of Petite Sirah, identified as Durif, will be used in "My Zin" and Estate Cuvee, as well as Petite Sirah. I was a little disappointed that U.C. Davis has identified all our other Petite Sirah clones as Durif. It seems that they have grouped 9 different clones and called them all Durif. We have found at least two of these clones, besides the Peloursin, in our vineyard and we have bought at least one other from across the valley. Each one of these clones make different wines. The Peloursin, which was found in our Block 4, makes a very floral spicy wine with a long finish. Because it does make such different wines from the other clones, I am happy I have a new name for this varietal.
Here are a couple of links to petite sirah clones as well as their relationship to Syrah:
There is always a crises at bottling. This year I broke a vein and started bleeding. On Sunday evening, I was scratching my foot and all of a sudden blood started gushing like old faithful. There was only a pinhole so the blood rose as high as one foot before Pat and I could apply enough pressure to stop it. I tried to remove the pressure long enough to put a bandaid on, but the blood seemed to rise even higher. Pat put a pad on and I applied pressure long enough for her to wrap my foot tight enough to stop the bleeding. It got scary for a while. I am scheduled to have surgery for my varicose veins on the 18th. I can see now that operation is just in time. I am planning to remove the wrap tonight and at that time, I hope I don't see an eruption again.
The bottling of the Pinot yesterday went well. We bottled 296 cases of Bennett Valley Pinot Noir and 139 Cases of our blend of Sonoma County Pinot. Last night I opened our 1999, 2000, 2001 and both 2002 wines and tried them blind. I am not a Pinot person, but I am enjoying them more. I preferred the 2001 and both 2002 wines to the 1999 and 2000. The older wines are less fruit driven and have darker flavors (more Zin like). I usually like darker flavored wines, but Pinot is supposed to be fruitier. Today we are bottling 2002 Estate Cuvee.
Wednesday July 9, 2003
6:00 Am After showering for the first time since my foot erupted with a geyser of blood, I took off my wrap on my foot and was happy that I could not see where the blood came out on Sunday evening. I put several bandages over the section and will look at it again tonight. I'm not going to call my doctor, because he might ask me to come in and I don't have time.
Today we are bottling our 2002 Block 4 and Petite Sirah. I can't wait to try them tonight. I have much to do this morning since I made a mistake in my schematic for the storage of the bottled wine. I have to rearrange, two stakes of 150 cases, which will require a lot of thought.
Last night, I opened our 2002 Estate Cuvee and, to compare, our 1999, 2000, and 2001 Estate Cuvee. I preferred slightly the 2001 to the 2000, but the 1999 was close. I thought the 2002 needed a lot of time. I won't be tasting it again for a month. I suspect the Block 4 and petite sirah comparison tonight will be interesting. I will open 6 bottles tonight: the 2000, 2001 and 2002 of the Block 4 and Petite Sirah. Oh boy, this is a tough job!!
Thursday July 10, 2003
Yesterday went relatively well and we ended up bottling 414 cases of Petite Sirah and 341 cases of Block 4. I made a miscalculation and I ran out of labels for the Block 4. We did have enough labels for the 341 cases, but I have an additional 15 cases (180 bottles) without labels. That is a good thing since we have been out of 2002 Block 4 for two months. I am planning to print up laser labels in black and white and put them on a signed bottle. I will sell these bottles (no limit) for $18. We even have 5 cases left from the 341 cases that will be sold for $22 at this time. Any of you interested can contact me by phone, e-mail or come by the winery.
Last night Brendan, Pat and I had a great dinner consisting of Beef Sweetbreads and Foie Gras accompanied by the Block 4's and Petite Sirah's that I mentioned yesterday. Brendan also tried the Estate Cuvee's that I opened Tuesday. He preferred the 2001 Estate Cuvee and The 2000 Block 4. I liked all the wines last night and felt the 2002 Block 4 and Petite Sirah had some great potential. They could be the best wines of that type that I have produced.
Today we are bottling 217 cases of 2002 Carignan, 242 cases of our first Cabernet since 1997 and 175 cases of Terre Melange, our first Rhone style wine. Last year our 2001 Terre Melange was a blend of many varietals, but in the future it will be a blend of our Rhone varietals. Tonight I will open 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 Carignan along with the 2002 Terre Melange and Cabernet.
Saturday July 12, 2003
It has been a tough five days, but we did finish our first 5 days of bottling. Yesterday we bottled 415 cases of 2002 My Zin and 129 cases of 2002 Bennett Valley Sirah. Last night I was very impressed with the quality of My Zin and the Syrah had great character compared to my 2000 and 2001 Syrah. I plan on drinking one My Zin a week.
Thursday was are longest day. In all, we did finish bottling 215 cases of 2002 Carignan, 216 cases of cab and 178 cases of Terre Melange. My taste buds could have been off , because in the evening when tasting, I was not impressed with any of those wines. I suspect I had an off night since I wasn't even impressed with my 2001 Carignan which I have liked a great deal in recent weeks. All the wines seemed real young. I will re-taste them this week. Of the three new wines, I did think the Terre Melange has the most potential.
Today and tomorrow we will be open and pouring all the wines we bottled this week and also we will be tasting the Aca Modot, Barbera and Estate Zin that will be bottled Monday and Tuesday. Any of you are welcome to come by and taste or even pickup.
Next Friday I will be having an operation on my left leg to repair my varicose veins. We will be closed on the 19th and 20th. The following Thursday our family will be accompanying Kate to Cal Poly for a visit to her new school. I hope to be open on Sunday, July 27th.
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