July 20, 1999
As some of you know, I usually don't like to talk about my wines or especially to recommend any particular wine or give tasting notes on them. But I would like to discuss one of my wines tonight - the 1995 Estate Cuvee. If anybody still has some of this wine left, I would highly recommend putting it away for another 2 to 3 years.
In the past, I've made several comments on this wine to my customers here at the winery and I believe also on the diary stating that I have been very disappointed with it, but at the same time may have made reference to certain customer/friends such as Doug Powers, Mark Horvatich and several others recognizing this as one of my best efforts. Doug Powers was here this past weekend helping with the bottling on Friday and Saturday, and Saturday night after bottling, we did open up a 1995 Estate Cuvee. We had only a small gathering so it happened that approximately one-third of that wine was left in the bottle after dinner.
On Sunday morning, Brendan used several of the leftover Coffaro wines from the previous evening to top off a carboy. But he did not use the '95 Estate Cuvee. On Sunday afternoon we happened to have a few visitors stop by for tasting who asked about the ageability of my wines. That is the time that I noticed this one-third leftover bottle of Estate Cuvee without a cork, open to the air overnight. I was fairly confident it would be still drinkable, so I gave them a taste. And I was pleasantly surprised that they were impressed. Now mind you, I did not indulge in tasting that wine that afternoon.
Monday morning we had an awful lot to do and I once again noticed this bottle sitting off to the side. So I moved this uncorked bottle over near my espresso maker. We also had some customers here today but I was reluctant to give them a taste of this wine that had been left open for 3 days uncorked and so just passed it over. Then tonight I went out into the winery to make some espresso and noticed the bottle again. So I figured, why not take a taste of it. I am not a fan of old wines. In fact, I've somewhat lost my previous interest in old Bordeaux wines, but the taste of this '95 Estate Cuvee reminded me more of an old Bordeaux than any of my other wines I've ever had. Sure, it did not taste fresh with the explosive fruit of my younger wines, but it certainly was not fading at all. If anything, it tasted far better than I remembered on Saturday night. This was a wine that was neglected in an opened bottle for 3 days. That brings me back to my first statement. And whether you like young wines or old wines, I believe this wine will definitely go on to age well in the next few years.
July 22, 1999
We've been neglecting to let you know about our weather in the past few days. The last time we reported almost ten days ago, the temperature had dropped to a 98 degree high. For the several days after that, we ranged from the low 90's during the day to the low 50's at night. But for the last week, we have had several days which have barely reached 80 degrees, and on most of those days we have had a good layer of fog in the morning. I've heard that Santa Rosa had barely seen any sun until yesterday. As I've mentioned before, we are further removed from the fog and we do clear up earlier and see more sun than most of Sonoma County. It's typical for us to now go into another spell of warm weather for a week or two, but we'll see what develops. In 1991 we had a very atypical season during which we experienced several weeks of weather which was no higher than mid 70's to low 80's. I would have to estimate that was the lowest high temperatures that I have seen in my 20 years of growing grapes. Many winemakers and critics feel that 1991 was one of the best years ever for wine. I must agree that I did make some good amateur wines that year, but the density of colors that year from my vineyard were very light, and I feel that it was only an average year in the Dry Creek Valley. I still think that in northern Dry Creek Valley we do need hotter temperatures to achieve superior quality.
Last Saturday we completed bottling the 1998 vintage with 607 cases of Estate Cuvee. In addition to that we ended up with a total of 697 cases of Zinfandel, 255 cases of Petite Sirah, 252 cases of Carignan, 254 of Aca Modot, 517 of Neighbors' Cuvee, 493 cases of Neighbors' Zinfandel, 72 cases of Pinot Noir, 91 cases of Sauvignon Blanc, and we will probably bottle around 130 cases of "ZP2C." Based on what our records show that we have pre-sold, we should now be able to sell approximately an additional 15 cases of the estate Zinfandel, 28 cases of Estate Cuvee, 12 cases of Neighbors' Zinfandel, 20 cases of the Pinot Noir blend, and 10 cases of Sauvignon Blanc. These wines will not be advertised in our "Buy" section on this site, but will be available at the winery or upon request.
In addition to these wines, we will also be selling around 245 cases
of Neighbors' Cuvee, which as I have mentioned will be distributed to local
retailers and then entered into our local Santa Rosa Harvest Fair wine
judging competition. At this time, we have sold less than one case of ZP2C,
which will be a blend of the wine left in all the barrels after bottling
in the last two weeks. That will be about 1 gallon or so of wine left in
each of our 130 barrels, plus 75 gallons of Petite Sirah purchased from
Lambert Bridge. The wine will consist of around 35% Petite Sirah but it
will also have approximately 30 percent Cabernet and 20+ percent Zinfandel.
I will try to estimate better as we get closer to bottling what the actual
percentages will end up being. The wine will be bottled in about 3 weeks
after it has been allowed to settle in the three barrels we now have filled.