|Wednesday July 7, 2004
I need an escape!!!!!!!! I'm going up to see a movie!! I had to go into my Dentist today. More tomorrow. Yes we started bottling Monday!! I am sure all of you were having a day off. I had to wait until Tuesday to contact reps who were responsible for the problems Monday. One of the reps was confused by the day of the week!! I understand, I may have been confused if I was off. All of us in the bottling line were fine for two days so I wasn't too concerned. I'll go into more detail tomorrow.
Thursday July 8, 2004
We are bottling all of our 2003 wines except for the 2003 Zp2c and Brendan's Syrah. I love my cab, but it is undrinkable to most all of you. Including Pat Who didn't like the Petite Sirah either. I love tannin SO I tried the Cab compared to the 2001 Rafanelli Cab. Brendan says both wines have a bunch of oak, I agree, but our wine was in oak for only 10 months compared to over two years for Rafanelli. Also we only use 40% new oak compared to 100%. Shelly is the new winemaker for Rafanelli so I would check with her to see if my recollections are still right.
If you look at the schedule, you will see that we have bottled our 2003 Estate Cuvee, Carignan, Barbera and today the Petite Sirah. I already know, the Petite Sirah along with the Block 4 will be my favorite wines for this vintage. I am convinced, my favorites, I will also love, will be the My Zin and Cab when they will be more together ( Next Week (G). I have obviously tasted all the blends before we bottled. As you know we have Barrel Tastings most days AND I taste a little then. BUT I had not tasted the 2003 Barbera recently. I don't give barrel samples since this wine had been sold out since before we bottled. Last night I had the 2003 Barbera with the 2003 Carignan And then I thought it would be a good idea to open the 2002 Barbera and Carignan. The 2002 Carignan was my favorite, but I was surprise that I really liked the 2003 Barbera. I have never been a fan of the 2002, but the 2002 Barbera had progressed also, and has become a great food wine. The 2003 Carignan is assertive, but needs time. Don't worry I did not consume TOO much, I guess I have been taking in less calories. I hit a new low today of 212 lbs. Remember Pat has not seen me this low, Even when I went on a diet to get down to 216 for our wedding. More tomorrow!! Block 4 Bottling!!
Monday July 12, 2004
Friday we bottled our 2003 Block 4. I was surprised that I was not overwhelmed by it. It is a big fruit bomb and maybe I was not ready for it. The 2003 Zinfandel (Estate) was surprisingly enjoyable tonight another big wine. It will be fun to try these two wines together in the near future. We do have the 2003 Block 4 available at $20 again by e-mail or phone call. It will go to $25 when Pat and I get back from our vacation.
So far I prefer my 2003 My Zin, Petite Sirah and Cabernet. I love Tannin and all these wines have it. Tomorrow we will bottle the 2003 Aca Modot and Bernier's Zin. It will be a fun night of tasting.
I know on June 11th I promised you more detail on fill levels when I wrote about our screwcap applicator getting up and running. I know all of you have been waiting (G)...
Shortly, since the screwcap bottles fill to a higher level, because there is no cork, we set the bottler to exactly fill to the screwcap level. AND then we turned on our leveler to pull out 4 ml to accommodate the cork. The leveler sucks out this 4 ml and puts it into a bottle. All mobile bottling lines automatically have it go back into the tank, but I decided against that. In a 200 case run, we lose one case of wine.
I have planted Tannat and will plant more And I have ordered some new vines to replace our 25 year old AxR 1 vines that were budded over to Carignan and Peloursin 6 years ago. I am really changing my direction and ordering 200 vines each ( about 100 cases each ) of Aglianico, Sangiovese (Italy), Touriga Nacional, Souzao, Alvaralhao (Potugal). I may add some to the Terre Melange or anything else eventually. I actually will be buying 2 tons of Touriga Nacional and 2 tons of Alvaralhao from a grower near Lodi this year. Fun, Fun, Fun.
Wednesday July 14, 2004
I had one customer who wants me to elaborate more on fill levels so for him and anyone else, I will try to explain in words what would be very easy to show live. screwcap bottles are different than cork bottles. The obvious difference is that cork bottles have a smooth flange and cap bottles have a screw flange. BUT also the screwcap bottle is smaller. That way the wine fills to a higher level. They both are sealed with 750 ml of wine. The level of wine in a cork bottle comes to about 2.25 inches from the top while the screwcap level is 1.4 inches from the top of the bottle. The cork takes up about 1.75 inches of space leaving about one half inch for expansion due to heat. I can't remember why a screwcap bottle has a bigger air space. It may be that since screwcaps seal so well that instead of pushing the cork out (During freezing or extreme high temperatures) the bottle may break if only one half inch is left. Maybe one of you knows the answer to that question. The screwcap actually hides the height of the wine and I would prefer to see the wine level, so we are looking for a cap that would be only one inch in length instead of two. We had several problems with our screwcap machine. One of them involved the caps getting stuck in the shoot. A shorter cap could solve that problem.
Saturday July 17, 2004
Before I leave, I will have a report on our bottling of the 2003 wines.
We were successful. Pat and I leave on our trip across the USA on
Sunday July 18, 2004
My dental appointments are over for now. I had temporaries put on with near permanent cement. Hopefully they won't come off during our 24 day trip. All my old crowns were removed and temporaries were made for the back teeth as well as the front. These temporaries are not too annoying. There are a few rough and sharp places that my tongue constantly wants to find, but in all I can live with them. These new teeth were lengthened, overall, 3 millimeters from what my old ones were. I had worn down my other teeth by that much. I can not chew steak, but I will eat pizza tonight. I also can not chew gum. When I get back they will start preparing to install all 28 new crowns. Right now these temporaries consist of 6 clusters of 3 to 5 teeth connected with wire so I can't floss except at four junctions where they connect. I am not eating very often since food gets caught between the teeth. I have gone through a quart of Listerine in three weeks. And I now weigh 211 lbs. 60 lbs lower than I weighed on January 6th, 2000. I am sure I will gain back some on my trip.
Pat and I leave at 5.00 Am on July 21. Our first stop will be the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, 640 miles. That night we will dine at Valentino. The next night we stay at the Bellagio so we can see "O". Before the show, we will dine at Picasso. The next day we start traveling to Santa fe, NM to visit friends. We will stop at The big town of Gallup, NM. We will arrive early Saturday in Santa Fe. Sunday we head to Oklahoma City to have The Burning pizza (Hot Peppers) at Bellini's. Monday we arrive at the Heartbreak Hotel in Memphis to see Graceland. I am a huge Elvis fan as far back as 1956. We then visit the Great Smoky Mtns, Tn and the next day the Natural Bridge in Virginia. On Thursday July 29 we will tour Washington DC and eat at Galileo Restaurant. On Friday we arrive in New Jersey to visit Pat's sister Sharon. We will stay two nights in Manhattan (We eat at The Gotham Grill on Friday) and two days in Newark. On Tuesday we are off to The Outer Banks and then to Savannah. We will arrive in New Orleans on Friday August 6 to eat at Gabrielle and Brigtsen's. On Monday we will eat in San Antonio at Biga On The Banks and on Wednesday we are at Tucson to eat at Janus. Finally we are back in Las Vegas to eat at Aureole. We travel home on Friday the 13th. As you can see most of my trip centers on FOOD and WINE. Tomorrow I'll talk about our 2003 wines.
Monday July 19, 2004
Our 2003 Syrah and 2003 Zp2c have not been bottled. The scheduled date to bottle is August 17. ALL the other 2003 wines were bottled by July 15. In the last two years I have changed the style of my wine for a few varieties. The wines to remain the same are the Estate Cuvee, Zinfandel, Carignan, Barbera, Aca Modot (14.1 alcohol) and Block 4. All these wines retain the fruit driven style that I've been known for. I have been looking to increase the alcohols somewhat to 1994-1996 amounts. The 1994-1996 wines ranged to about 14.5% alcohol while other recent vintages have been about 13.9%. In 2003 the alcohols on these wines were between 14.7 and 15%. The acids in these wines have remained the same, meaning I want to produce wines which are not flabby. I feel there are too many winemakers who are aiming to make wines with high alcohol and low acid so they can get good ratings from Parker and the WineSpectator.
I am changing a few of the wines to a style that I prefer. These wines include the My Zin, Petite Sirah and Cabernet. All these wines are more intense and have more tannin. All three of these wines in 2003 were about 14.7% alcohol. These are by far my favorite wines in 2003. I did make a Neighbors' Cuvee in 2003 which has some tannin also, but I may not make it every year. The Bernier's Zin will be made for two more years so I am not sure what style it will be. Our new fruit will be coming into production next year and we won't need the Bernier fruit in the future. Also the Terre Melange is in transition. On July 12 I mentioned I have planted some Italian and Portuguese varietals and they may be implemented into the Terre Melange OR I may make a new wine that will include all the new varietals, including Tannat. The Future will be interesting.
5:00PM I forgot to mention that we have some 2003 Block 4 and 2003 Aca Modot for sale at $19 until Wednesday morning. We are already selling them for $25 at the winery for new customers. That is the price starting July 21. We even have 10 cases of our 2003 Barbera for sale at $16 until Wed. All these wines had been sold out for months, but since I try to understate what I think we will bottle, we now have extra wine. The Aca Modot is only available with a signed Laser label and screwcap. The Block 4 is also available signed. If any of you are interested, please e-mail me. Or you could wait until Wednesday when they will appear on our new order form and put a note down the bottom of the form stating that you want the old prices.
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