David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

arrow November 27 - December 3, 2011

Wednesday November 30, 2011

I took three samples to a lab yesterday. Take a look at the results stated in the last paragraph below.

I have mentioned our 2010 wines many times AND the difficult harvest that year. As most of you know it was a harvest which included raisins in all bunches of our grape varieties. That ranged from a small amount in Cabernet Sauvignon to a large amount in Zinfandel. I have stated in the past all our blends in 2010 that included Zinfandel have high acid and a distinct very spicy taste. To me the taste is interesting but the acid is too much. These wines will last well over 10 years. We bottled these wines in July. But we saved most of what we did not have sold and have aged them longer in barrel to bottle in January. We added more oak and dropped the acid to levels that were more typical of past vintages. 2011 is a high acid year also but after fermentation the total acid has fallen off to more reasonable levels so we will not drop the acid in any of our 2011 wines.

I have tasted the 2010 Zinfandel blends many times since July and have chosen to wait for more maturity. All the other wines without Zinfandel are some of the best wines I have made. They are intense with great acid but are not showing any of the distinct taste of the Zinfandel wines. These Zinfandel wines include our Estate 2010 100% Zinfandel, My Zin, Estate Cuvee and 6 blends that include grapes from other vineyards in Sonoma County. Also our 2010 Zp2c has some of the same character.

This last weekend I had two customers rave about two of these Zinfandel blends. I made sure they knew we had these same wines in barrel with less acid and to age longer. They were adamant that they wanted the 2010 wines bottled in July because they had great spicy character. I sold them both another case. I decided to taste a few of these wines again over the last few days and found I enjoyed them, maybe because of these two people raving about the wines.

Many times over the last 30+ years here, making amateur and commercial wine, I have heard about VA, volatile acidity, acidic acid, vinegar character which can spoil a wine. I have checked some of our wines over the last 15 years and found they were in the normal range for acidic acid so I have been happy. We do many things different than other wineries including fermenting at very high temperatures and using very little So2. Many of these methods could contribute to high VA totals if not done right. Also rot or mold on those raisins can be a problem. Because of my concern of high acid levels and the different taste of the Zinfandel wines from 2010 I decided to send three samples to the local lab.

Yesterday I opened a fresh bottle of our 2010 100% Zinfandel, our 2010 Petit Verdot which I love and for good measure I also included our 2009 Zinfandel which is tasting fantastic right now and sent a small amount of them off to be tested. I received the results today and I am so happy to report the acidic acid levels were the same for all three and inline with the low results I have gotten in the last 15 years. I am very anxious to compare the wines that we will bottle in January with the 2010 wines bottled in July. They are the same wines except the wines to be bottled in January have lower adjusted total acid (I am sure the same low VA) and have more oak aging.


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