|Tuesday April 17, 2001
I have a real problem! We have already sold over 80 cases of our 2001 block 4. We will not be able to honor anymore orders until after harvest this fall. Any of you who do send in your hard copies with block 4 ordered will be offered Aca Modot (same price) as a possible substitute and will have first shot at the Block 4 if it becomes available after harvest (refund or substitution obviously granted also). Hopefully we will have a decent harvest and thus would be able to produce more than the 100 cases planned. As I have said previously, I want to reserve a good portion of this 4th block in our vineyard for our 2001 Estate Cuvee as I did in 1994 and 1999. We will be taking a waiting list for a 3 bottle limit up until the wine becomes available again.
I really don't understand why we have received so many orders for this wine, since few of you have tasted it previously. Is it because this Block4 is more expensive? I will guarantee that we will not be selling this wine next year in such a mass offering. Also this may seem unfair, but I really think I should not be selling this type of wine to some of you who have never tasted the 1999 or 2000. This wine is different and may not be to the liking of those of you who have not tasted it before. Remember, the fruit that goes into this wine is not of my choosing. I do not use my creative skills in blending to make a balanced wine as I do with all our other wines. This wine comes from a section of our vineyard that was planted a century ago and is unique, but none of the fruit from this area is harvested at the right time, since it is all harvested at the same time and is a true field blend.
Sure there are three different types (clones) of petite sirah, but two are harvested at an average sugar of 22%, which I feel is too low. One clone of petite sirah is harvested at 26% which I feel is too high. ( I am aiming for 24%) The zin comes in at 25% and the syrah comes in at 27%.There is also some other varieties that really don't get ripe and come in at 21%. It is amazing that after all this, the resultant wine seems to be in balance. Because of all these variables, it is the hardest area in the vineyard to judge the timing of harvest. Since I have chosen not to alter the mix of grapes that are harvested all at once, the alcohol will vary from harvest to harvest. In 1999 the alcohol came in at 15.2% and 2000 the alcohol was 13.9%. I am aiming for 14.5% and maybe I will reach that goal in 2001, but there is no guarantee. From 1991 to 1998 (with the exception of a small amount in 1994) all the fruit from this 4th block went to Nalle for his zinfandel. Some years we had to harvest twice, because the first time we misjudged and harvested at too low a sugar. Other years we misjudged at too high a sugar. Even though in a low yielding season we should be able to make 100 cases, there is no guarantee that these grapes will be harvested at the right sugar.
I have isolated these three clones of petite sirah from this section and budded them onto 20 year vines which we have used in our Petite Sirah since 1996 and our Estate Cuvee since 1995. I am thus able to harvest these three clones separately and hopefully at the right sugar.
I am sorry, but I hope you now understand that unfortunately we must wait until after harvest to start selling this 2001 Block 4 again.
Saturday April 21, 2001
My eyes, after two weeks since my Lasik surgery, are doing better. I can see more consistently, but I hate not being able to see close and I am still seeing stars around all lights. Hopefully things will improve.
We have had periods of rain in the last week so I haven't been able to make any estimates on the potential crop level for our new 2001 growing season. An initial look at the Carignan is encouraging, but after last years shatter, I am reluctant to make predictions yet.
Here is a link to a great article regarding the pricing of alcohol in bars around the country--enjoy.
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