David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Weeks 49 - 50
December 11, 2005 to December 24, 2005 

  Tuesday December 13, 2005 

Tomorrow my daughter Susie will turn 18 years. I hope she doesn't leave now that she is legal to do so. She has very little money so I think there is little chance and also she wants me to pay for her college education which makes it even less likely. Seriously she is a wonderful child who has grown up and will be leaving next year to further her education.

Today I finished a tentative excel spreadsheet with the blends of all our wines for the 2005 vintage. I will put it up tomorrow. I will be making a new wine called Fresco. I will have further details tomorrow. Here's the excel sheet that shows all the alcohols and ph's. This is the file I used to choose the barrels for my blending. 

Thursday December 15, 2005 

I have the blending figured out!! The new order form reflects the results. It did not take long, about 8 hours. The only blend I tasted is our new wine called "Fresco". That means "fresh" in Italian and Portuguese. I want the wine to be a fruit bomb and drinkable early. The acid is relatively low and there will be little oak influence. A few of us tried the blend with Sangiovese, but that detracted from the fresh fruit character. All the other 14 red blends were blended while taking into account the ph's and alcohols. Of course I have tasted many times the components (individual barrels) that will make up the wines. We will blend these wines in tanks during the first week of January. Between now and then will be the last time to taste the barrels before blending. In the second week of March, we will aerate the wines in tank again and then again in July when we bottle. Here's the spreadsheet showing the blends

For the few who may be interested, I will now explain the information in the spreadsheet. The far left column shows a running total of all barrels involved, totaling 278. The the spreadsheet that was shown on the 13th totals 312 barrels. I have custom crushed for the new Pendleton Winery and I have held back many Price Zinfandel barrels since they are still fermenting. The Price Zinfandel grapes were purchased from the new vineyard in the Lytton Springs area of Dry Creek Valley. I also will use a few Raf Cab barrels for topping off. Of course if one was interested you could go through the reference sheet and see which barrels were not used in the blends. When and if the Price Zins finish fermenting, I may decide to use them in the "My Zin" or even the Petite Sirah. 

The 2nd column shows the total barrels that will go into each blend. The third column shows the location in the winery for each barrel. The next several columns are self explanatory and the numbers in the middle columns show the gallons amounting to a total of 60 in the far column. The top row in each section states the varietal name. TN for Tannat, Est for Estate, Aca for the location of that Cab, MV for Mouvedre, CF for Cab Franc, Sy for Syrah,  Alv for Alvarelhao, PV for Petit Verdot, and so on. The rows at the bottom of each blend show the number of cases, the total Alcohol and PH. Also the % of each varietal is shown. The Gov't requires us to keep good records of all wine used in these blends. If any of you are interested in the actual excel file to make up your own blends, just send me an e-mail and I'll attach it. 

Friday December 16, 2005 

Yesterday I posted a sheet showing the blends for all my wines for the 2005 vintage. I now have to move a few barrels around in the file so that I have the oak that I want in each wine to be made. That can be as easy as moving one new barrel of 100% Zinfandel from the 2005 Estate Zin to the 2005 Estate Cuvee section and moving an older barrel from Estate Cuvee to the Estate Zin. This action should take me a few hours.

4pm: Matt and I have been tasting a few barrels today to decide on the blend for Fresco. I had decided to use Tannat in the blend, but I now feel there may be a better choice. I want the wine to be drinkable early and have a lot of fresh fruit character. The Tannat has some good structure and will do well in another blend. I will have more to say next time. I'm back to tasting!!

Saturday December 17, 2005 

I bought some cabernet from a new vineyard in Alexander Valley. The vineyard is owned by the Trieb family. This Trieb Cab has a lot of fresh fruit and will be a good substitute for the Tannat in the Fresco blend. Now what am I going to do with the extra Tannat?

Matt and I have tasted many zinfandels and petite sirahs in the last two days. I like them all, but they are different. We have 22 barrels of Price Family Zinfandel and 11 of the barrels have some sugar left in them. We have decided to put the barrels in three fermenters and restart the fermentation. By the time we blend in two weeks they should be dry of sugar and thus through fermenting. We will transfer the wine tomorrow or Monday. I will have more to say when we take action.

Tuesday December 20, 2005 

Today Steve, Matt, Catarino and I worked on the 11 sluggish fermenting barrels of Price Family Zinfandel. The alcohols on the 11 barrels averaged about 15.3% and the residual sugar was about 0.8%. That equated to a potential alcohol of 15.8%. I started at 7Am this morning with Catarino. Matt and Steve showed up before 9Am. I started with adding 4 lbs per 1000 gallons of yeast and 2 gallons of water to a 300 gallon fermenter. Then we added four gallons of the stuck wine with 8 ounces of Late Harvest Sauv Blanc at 15% sugar. The Sauv Blanc was used to give the yeast a little extra start. We emptied the 11 barrels into three more 300 gallon fermenters and added some yeast hulls to absorb some of the dead yeast in the wine. We left 4 gallons in each barrel and emptied this sediment out in the vineyard. For the next 4 hours we gradually added a total of one barrel (60 Gallons) to the fermenting must. At 2:30Pm we put some water and stuck wine into 11 barrels and topped them off with the newly fermenting wine. The water was added to lower the potential alcohol to under 15%. Hopefully the 11 barrels will be fermenting again tomorrow since they are now back to 0.8% sugar and need to go to as close to zero as possible. 

Thursday December 22, 2005

There was no activity in the 11 Price Family Zinfandel barrels yesterday. This morning I do see a few occasional bubbles on the surface of the wine. Yesterday morning I tried a new experiment and added 5 oz of yeast to the top of one of the barrels. I did not stir it in and just left the yeast rehydrate on the surface of the wine (It will be interesting to see how the fermentation progresses in this barrel). The reason these wines are taking such a long time to start fermenting again is that there is only about one percent sugar left in the wine and the alcohol at over 14% impedes the activity. A little while ago I decided to stir up one of the barrels to see if I could get more activity. Later today or tomorrow we will restack the barrels, but I will leave two of them down on the floor to monitor.

Since I may have these additional barrels, I will make another wine this year. I also have (through fermenting) 5 Tannat barrels and 8 Price Zin barrels  I have not used in blending, so either I will make a 2005 Neighbors' Cuvee or a 2005 Neighbors' Zinfandel. I will have more details in the near future. 

Saturday December 24, 2005

There is very good activity in The Price Family barrels now so it looks like they will ferment to dryness. That gives me more barrels to deal with for my blending. After adding an additional three barrels of Price Zin and one barrel of Tannat to the My Zin blend, I will have left, 18 barrels of Price Zin, three barrels of Cabernet and 4 barrels of Tannat. I need about 7 barrels for topping wine so I have decided to make a Neighbors' Cuvee again. I will have further details when the wine is blended.

I hope everyone has some good times over the holidays and of course taste Coffaro wines.


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