|Thursday August 21, 2003
Our open house is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday between 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. We will have some sausage and french bread and will serve all our 2002 wines. We will also pour our Syrah, Terre Melange and Carignan, but we have very few bottles left of these wines. Any of you who visit, or not, may change your 2002 Futures order by trading for the wines you prefer. I want everyone to be satisfied with their order. Remember these wines were only bottled 5 to 6 weeks ago so we can only get a small idea of what the true style and complexity will be. Although at this stage, you should be able to tell by the intensity of fruit and concentration of flavors, that this could be my best year. I am very satisfied so far, but as I have said before, these wines will take some time to reach their full potential. All the wines are enjoyable with food now, but these 2002 wines will show some hints of the future potential by November or December. A year or two of aging will help immensely and I feel these wines will age 10 years or more.
Two weeks ago I had an operation on my leg. My left leg had many veins that were popping out and showing signs of even more problems in the future. The treatment I chose is very new, within the last two years. It involves laser treatment to destroy the one main vein that causes most of the varicose vein trouble. The operation turned out to be very painful so I have done very little until the last few days. The doctor said he was a little too aggressive, but that the results are much better than usual. I took that to mean that if there was less pain, I would have needed more treatment. Now that I am feeling somewhat better (It was hard typing with one leg up), I am happy I had the operation.
Our bagging and boxing of our 2002 Zp2c is off. We hoped to try and box 120 gallons, but the winery owner who would do the work is too busy with his own product. If we bought a machine, it would cost $30,000. I am not sure I am interested anymore, because I have heard the wine does oxidize over a few months, even if not opened. Also there is some disagreement as to how long the quality of the wine in 3 liter bags will hold up, once the the wine is tapped for the first time. Quality could fade even after only two weeks. Of course, for white wine kept in the refrigerator, quality could be fine for a month or so.
Yesterday we bottled 209 cases of our 2002 Zp2c. We had collected 16 barrels of clear wine from the sediment or lees (as we call it). In January, we collected, from the bottom of the barrel, 4 gallons from 200+ barrels yielding 13 barrels filled with cloudy wine, called MUD. In April we racked the clear wine and recovered about 7 barrels. At that time we racked our blended wines from about 200 barrels, leaving about 2.5 gallons to make more mud barrels. And again when we bottled most of our wines in July we left 1.5 gallons in each barrel yielding 4 more MUD barrels. A little over 8 barrels were used to bottle the 209 cases yesterday. As we have in the past two vintages, we are saving the remaining 8 barrels to top off our 2003 wines to be produced soon.(we lose wine from evaporation)
Also yesterday, we bottled 65 cases of 2002 dry Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was bottled now, 3 to 4 months after our first bottling for two reasons. In April when we bottled for the first time, I ran out of bottles so we saved enough wine to go into a new Hungarian barrel. When we had to re-bottle at the end of May, we saved another barrel in Eastern European oak. The resultant wine does have a little more oak than our first bottling and possibly a little less acid.
I'll report on the impending Harvest next time. It does look like we will start during the second week of September.
Friday August 29, 2003
I've made several excursions out in my vineyard in the last few days and can now report on what I found. I was not surprised to see that many of the grape bunches appear to be close to full ripeness. In general I am happy with the uniformity of color which indicates ripening will be even and quality could be high. However there are many zinfandel bunches that have uneven berry size (that is, some hard and very small berries with larger berries within the same bunch). Berries in zinfandel bunches are always varied in size, but in some years they are all soft and thus have juice. When hard or undeveloped berries are apparent, we call this shatter and in most years, this is the norm. I can't say whether any of this indicates quality. I won't know the potential quality of the wines until we actually press and have wine in the barrel.
Brendan will be here tomorrow and we will discuss are plans regarding sugar testing. When he arrives I will have him test sauv blanc first. I'm guessing the reading may come in at 20% sugar (Brix). That could mean we could be harvesting in 10 days or so. Many of the zinberries were very ripe, but because of the unevenness of zin, as I have stated, we are probably at least two weeks off. I will have Brendan check a few zin bunches on Tuesday. I was happy to see that the petite sirah looked great, but is off at least 3 weeks. The syrah is another case and I will have Brendan check that on Tuesday also. The Mourvedre looks somewhat uneven and is probably many weeks off.
I will have more to report Tuesday.
4:00 Pm: We have just installed, on our site, a link that will show wines bought by customers. The wines included will only be wines that have been sold and not shipped or picked up yet. Even the 2003 Futures are included, but obviously they will not be bottled until next July and thus can not be claimed now. We hope this will help our customers find out what they have bought and know if they have wine to claim.
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