|Thursday March 17, 2005
Some of you have probably seen camera shots on our website showing a lot of action here. Today, Friday and Saturday we will be blending our 2004 wines again. We last blended in the middle of December. This time we are mostly blending to aerate, but the Petite Sirah, Escuro, Aca Modot and Cabernet have changed. The rest of the wines will remain the same. In the Petite Sirah I am adding a little cab blend I had saved for blending. Let's call it 2004 Neighbors' Cuvee. This wine amounting to 11 barrels will not be sold separately. The blend consists of about 40% Cabernet, 21% Sangiovese, 21% Touriga National, 13% Zinfandel and 5% Carignan. I like the wine because it has good fruit and structure. Two barrels will be added to the 14 Petite Sirah barrels that are 100%. Also we are adding a little oak tannin and grape seed tannin to fill out the middle of the wine. I am happy with the blend and it compares favorably to the 2003 Petite Sirah.
I am adding two barrels of cabernet to the Aca Modot. That brings the cabernet percentage up to 53%. I am adding a great deal of GrapeSeed tannin to the Cabernet which will pucker you up. I felt the cab needed a little kick this year and I am now very happy with the wine. The Escuro is the wine that will be changed the most. I loved the bouquet and finish, but the original blend lacked a middle. So I am adding one barrel of 2003 Zp2c, one barrel of the 2004 Neighbors' Cuvee that I mentioned earlier, and three barrels of the 2004 Cabernet. The cabernet added will not have the GrapeSeed tannin and will be from one year old American oak barrels. I have tasted the components and the final blend and feel that I have made a good choice for the Escuro. The other 8 barrels of 2004 Neighbors' Cuvee will be used in blending for other labels. These new labels will be owned by other individuals, but will be produced and bottled by David Coffaro Winery. I will go into more details later.
Yesterday I finished tasting all my 2004 wines with screwcaps and synthetic closures. Check last weeks entries for more details. Overall I still preferred the screwcap wines and I felt the synthetics had a slight sharpness that I was not crazy about. BUT both Brendan and Steve preferred the synthetics. The samples they tasted were open three days and I had drunk most of the screwcaped wines and thus they were more oxidized than the synthetics. They thought the synthetics were fresher and the sharpness I noted was perceived by them to be a plus. We will taste freshly opened bottles Friday evening and I will report back the results. They agreed that both wines were good and that there was a marked difference in the two.
Wednesday March 23, 2005
All the blending is done except for the 2004 Zp2C. We hope to blend it tomorrow. We must empty all the mud barrels so this will take some time. The 10 mud barrels were created in December. At that time we left about 4 gallons of wine in each of our 190 barrels which we had after harvest. We don't settle our pressed wine in a tank before we go into the barrels so the wine in the bottom of the barrel is very cloudy. Thus we call these barrels MUD. Tomorrow we will rack the clear wine off the sediment (lees). We should recover about 6 barrels of clear wine and that will be the start of 2004 Zp2C. This last week we left about 2 gallons in each of the 175 barrels creating 6 barrels. When we bottle in July we should recover about 4 barrels from these 6. At bottling we will leave a little over one gallon in each barrel which should make another 3 barrels. In all when we bottle the 2004 Zp2C in August we should come up with 12 barrels. We will probably save 6 for topping wine next year. Thus we will probably bottle 150 cases of 2004 Zp2C (6 times 25 cases in each barrel).
On March 29th we will be offering our 2005 pre-harvest futures. The starting price on most wines will be $13 per bottle. At that time the 2004 Futures will go up one dollar per bottle with the exception of the Escuro which will stay at $14. The Escuro will be 90% from the 2004 vintage and the remaining 10% from a barrel of the 2003 Zp2C. Since we must have 95% from a single vintage to label it a vintage wine, the Escuro will be my first non-vintage wine. I am extremely happy with the blend and also many customers, who have tasted in the last few days, have bought several cases. I will report on which wines are selling the most.
Last Friday Brendan, Steve and I tasted the 2003 Block 4, 2003 Zinfandel, 2003 My Zin and the 2003 Neighbors' Cuvee. Blind, we tasted them in screwcap and synthetic cork. Since the wines were obtained from out in the cold storage building the differences were small. We all could discern a difference and overall the screwcap was preferred.
I have ordered new screwcaps from Pechiney. Pechiney has sold screwcaps in the United States longer than anyone else. Pechiney was our supplier last year, but I decided to try out Scott Labs this year. I am very unhappy with the quality of the Scott screwcaps which arrived last month. I was also unhappy that they sent me 10% more than I requested. I ordered 60,000 and received 66,000. I needed 45,000 this year, but the minimum order was 60,000. The printing was smeared on some and other flaws excist. The liner was of saran which is now being recommend by both Scott and Pechiney. Last year we ordered a saran with a tin barrier. I am told that the tin should seal better, so I am confused. Why is saran now being recommended? Is it because they are trying to duplicate cork and have some breathing. I will find out more. But now I have decided to order 56,000 more capsules from Pechiney, 28,000 in tin and 28,000 in saran. This should give me enough capsules for all the wine I make this coming year. Also I will have fun this year by bottling some in Scott, saran, some in Pechiney saran and some in Pechiney tin. Will they produce different wines? YES!!
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