|Tuesday, April 18, 2000
The weather has finally turned sunny after several days of gray or rain. About 2 1/2 inches fell, not enough to cause any problems at this time.
I must mention some tasting information on my wines in the last 10 days. Saturday the 8th Pat and I attended a dinner with our close friends Sally and Brian to check out there new adventure. It seems that they are planting a new vineyard in Sonoma with varietals of Pinot and Syrah. They live on the property and will farm it just as we do. I decided to bring along my 1995 Estate Cuvee since it was showing well. If any of you know me, I couldn't just bring along an orphan. So I brought a bottle of my 1997 and 1998 Estate Cuvee also. Well to my pleasant surprise, Brian suggested digging in his cellar to look for the 1994 and 1996. I couldn't refuse. What a treat it was for me to taste all 5 of my babies. As I suspected the 1995 and 1996 were the most alike. Unlike last year this time the 1996 (90pts) was less intense. If you have any left, hold on to it for a year. I'll let you know when it comes on again. The 1997 (89) is still showing the most fresh bright fruit. I am looking for it to tone down a little, but most of you will probably enjoy it now. The 1998 (89) is more like the 1994 and shows alot of potential. It just pales in comparison from lack of complexity. I preferred the 1995 Estate Cuvee (94) at first for its intensity, but as the evening went on the 1994 (95) surpassed it as it gained weight and balance. In all--a great thrill for me.
Last Friday Julia, the winemaker at Lambert Bridge, Brendan and I and also Steve Ryan (some vineyard managers have a great palate (:-)), sat down to taste barrel samples of our 1999 wines. Brendan had drawn off 9 different samples of Zin and 5 Aca Modot. All were new 1999 oak except for two 1994 barrels supplying us with neutral barrels thus departing no wood flavor. We tasted these wines blind to determine what producers and type we preferred. I decided I will buy more heavy toast barrels. I want the barrels to be strong, but since we only use 22% new oak, the wood will not over power the wine. Wood should be like spice or herb--comlexity and flavor--but only a hint. I found that the best barrels will smooth out the wine and extend it, but at the expense of fruit. Our consensus favorite was Hungarian oak from Canton both med and heavy toast. We also liked the heavy toast American barrels from World Cooperage and Demptos. Our Aca Modot could benefit from more French.
Tomorrow we will start racking our wines again.
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