|Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Most of what follows is a reply to one of our customers who posts to some of our great wine forums. My reply to him was to answer and clarify some of his comments about the style of my wines.
Thanks for your candid tasting notes. We all have different palates. I do have my style and I guess it is I do not want to make a mistake. Of course that also can make wines that are not adventurous to everyone. I understand that you may not feel that my wines will age well, but my opinion is that even my 94 zin, cab and estate cuvee have not gone over the hill. I think the balance of my wines by blending, have helped them age gracefully.
I do have a plan in all my blending and would love to explain more, if you would like to sit down with me some time. I think I have explained well enough in my diary over the past few years about how and why I blend. But I will try to give a short account now:
At first after harvest I look at the alcohol of the wine in my different barrels (this year 200 barrels). Because of oak or different fermentations or different parts of the vineyard, they are all different. This year they range from 11.09% alcohol in my barbera to over 16% in one of my zins. I want to make wines that are food wines ranging between 13.5 and 14.5 alcohol after blending. I then look at the acids. This year I have ph's ranging from 3.0 to 4.17. I want to make wines with a ph of about 3.6. I think wines over 3.8 ph may not age. I finally then take memory notes of where these different wines hit me on my palate. Some wines from these barrels are all up front. (I feel most young wines are upfront) Some impress me on the middle of my palate, like the carignan (French spelling, I agree with you; great blender) and some like the cab mostly help finish a wine. I find that there are very few young wines in our barrels that show a long finish on my palate so I make note of these barrels--they are rare. I am striving to make a wine that it is balanced from bottling and hopefully for many years. I realize that after blending using these methods, that I will make wines that may not appeal to all. I know they may not grab some people. I am just trying to be cautious and avoid wines that are not balanced. I hope this helps explain a little of my style. Again I appreciate your candor and I hope you will continue to enjoy my wines for their good value. Please feel free to post any or all of this e-mail to any forum. I have not visited them in recent years, but I am interested in helping out in the knowledge of winemaking styles. All winemakers are different. That is why wine is enjoyable and worth writing about. Thank you.
Wednesday, November 14, 2001
Today I have spent most of my time concentrating on making a spread sheet in Excel containing all 187 red wine barrels. The first column is the process date; the second column is the barrel name; the third column is the wine name and finally 19 columns follow. The number of gallons in each barrel totals 60. Each of these 19 columns can contain a total representing the gallons of each grape variety. I know how many tons were harvested and I know how many gallons I have, but it takes me a long time to figure how many gallons I have of each variety. I call these gallons varieties, because we have different clones of what is called varietals. For instance I have 4 different columns of petite sirah clones.
One thing I have determined today is that I have less Aca Modot than
I thought. We have less than 40 cases left to sell. Also we have sold more
Block 4 than I thought. This year I could make over 250 cases of Block
4, but I would like to blend in to the Estate Cuvee, some of these 13 barrels.
Thus I will only be selling the Block 4 till the end of the year.
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