David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

February 20 - February 26, 2011 arrow

Sunday February 20, 2011

Yesterday I posted a story about my dispute with a Bay Area wine guide. They tasted the 2009 Wine Guerrilla Coffaro Vineyard Zinfandel Block One and wrote this:

Washed out, sere at its heart and smelling vaguely of old apples, this bottling seems to be falling apart and oxidation effectively obscures any advantage as there may have been between it and the wine simply labeled Coffaro Vineyards.

I have tasted the Block One several times. I tasted blind the 2009 Wine Guerrilla Coffaro Vineyard Zinfandel Block One again last night compared to 4 of my other wines, a 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 Ultimate Cuvee (a blend similar in ways to the Block One). There is no way the Block One I tasted last night could be described in that way.

I found it to be very layered for such a young wine with a slight taste of prunes in the finish. This wine was bottled in August after only 11 months of aging and sealed with a screwcap. I would rate it an 87. It sure is not oxidized. I asked the person in charge at the Guide a question: "Did you personally taste the wine?" I also offered a challenge:

"I would like to bring three wines to a place of your choosing and I would like you to choose as many panel members to taste the three wines blind. One of the wines will be the Block One. If you pick it out blind and think it is oxidized I will take all of you out to dinner at a restaurant of your choosing anywhere in the Bay Area. I will pay for everything. It could even be The French Laundry, Cyrus or Gary Danko. If you agree that you are wrong this time and the wine is not oxidized, I would like you to print a retraction. You could only say something like 'We must have had a bad bottle the first time'. If you want I will still take you out to dinner at Cyrus here in Healdsburg. I hope you take me up on my offer but I don't expect you will"
In another e-mail I gave two links to other reviews:  Gonzoastronomy and Winex

How could this guide get it so wrong. Here is an explanation from one of my respected customers:

"I can't imagine anyone describing any recently bottled wine of yours as sere, washed out, falling apart, or oxidized.  At least not without pouring it into a glass which had been poorly washed and still had some of the wash water in it after tasting monster zins all morning and afternoon." ........Clever guy.......

This is a mystery that I would like to find the answer to.

I will taste all 5 of the wines again tonight and report back tomorrow about what I thought.

Monday February 21, 2011

I haven't heard back from the people in charge of the guide. Maybe they are off today. I tasted the 5 wines again last night and as expected I was very critical of my wines because I was looking for any flaws that could have resulted in the opinion that their panel reported. On all the wines I did notice very ripe flavors and jammy character that could cause some tasters to dislike them but none of the words the guide reported could be written unless the wine they tasted was different than what I tasted last night. Of course if the people in charge disliked the wine so much I suppose they could use clever words that were not accurate.

To be a little more specific about what I tasted last night, I noticed that the 2006 Ultimate Cuvee had developed well and stood up to the 2007 and 2008 while in the past I thought it showed less complexity and body. I also was happy with the 2007 which was also less intense than the 2008 when last tasted. I still prefer slightly the 2008 while the 2009 is very young and definitely less smooth. Time will tell. The 2009 Wine Guerrilla Block One was much more developed than the 2009 Ultimate Cuvee and it held up well after this second day. I will taste again tonight along with my 2009 Lagrein and a 2002 Italian Aglianico....after all after a few days I need some tannin.

Thursday February 24, 2011

I heard back from the guide and we agreed that I would send them two bottles of the Wine Guerrilla Block One for them to taste again. We still may go out to dinner. I will keep you in touch.

Saturday February 26, 2011

I love Mahler so when I saw I could go to see one of my favorite symphonies, Mahler's 5th I stepped up and purchased tickets in San Francisco 5 months ago. Zubin Mehta is conducting the Israel Philharmonic orchestra so it is a guest appearance. Then recently I found out the Academy Awards are on tomorrow night. I have only missed one Academy Awards Night so I am not happy.....but then I heard the Kings Speech could win every major award so I am NOW happy I won't see it live. I think Social Network should win. I will record the podcast and see it Monday night. I may hear the results but I doubt it, but if I do I know who will win. I will enjoy seeing all the glamorous people dressed up so I won't be disappointed.

I just finished tasting 11 Cabernets from 2000 to 2004 some of them Bordeauxs, some from Napa and some from Sonoma. I will report on my findings soon......I will be traveling to San Francisco tomorrow.


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