|Monday September 6, 2004|
|Here is an update from our Harvest last week.
On Monday we brought in 2 tons of our young Zinfandel and 0.8 tons of our Syrah which goes into Terre Melange. On Tuesday we received 0.9 tons of Cabernet from one grower in Dry Creek Valley. After starting fermentation, the must started giving off some really horrible smells. If this does not improve after pressing, I may not be able to use the wine in our Cabernet. Since the grower did not sulfur, and infection of mildew started in his vineyard, I believe he contributed to these foul smells.
On Wednesday we received 2.75 tons of Sangiovese from a grower in Healdsburg. This was slightly stinky also, but I am sure it will blow off after pressing. A little of this will go into our Barbera and I am not sure what I will do with the rest. I will probably make a Neighbors' Cuvee again and Sangiovese will be part of it.
On Friday we received all our Cabernet form Doug Rafanelli. and 9.25 tons was more than I was expecting. I may not use all this in our Dry Creek Cabernet. Some will go into "My Zin" and some may go into Neighbors' Cuvee or even a new wine that I plan on making, maybe this year. I am thinking of calling this new wine, Escuro which means Dark in Portuguese. Eventually I will be making an Estate wine from all the Cabernet, Petite Sirah and Portuguese and Italian varietals I am planting. That wine may be called Escuro, because all these grape varietals are dark in color.
On Friday we picked all our Old Vine Carignan, 7 tons, which goes into our Estate Cuvee and Carignan.
All the sugars were great again this week. If sugars were everything, this will be a fabulous year.
Also all our Zinfandel is now in the barrel as well as our Block 4. The style of both will be similar to the 2003 wines, big.
Tuesday September 14, 2004
Today we are picking some Sauv Blanc for our 2004 Late Harvest. Last year we did not make a late harvest, but this year we will. I will report on the residual sugar total later since we will pick at least two times and maybe into November.
The last several days have been the hardest for me since I have had to do some hard physical work. Sunday and yesterday I have had to punch down 25 containers of fermenting wine. Brendan will be back today so I am happy.
Almost all our grapes came in last week except the Mouvedre. On Tuesday Doug Rafanelli brought in 1.9 tons of Petite Sirah and on Wednesday we received 3.8 tons of Bernier's Zin. Also on Wednesday we picked about two tons of Peloursin from our vineyard. On Thursday and Friday we picked all our Bordeaux varieties from the Aca Modot area. Every year the crop gets smaller from that area. This year we received only one ton of Cabernet and less than a ton of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc combined. The Malbec produced only 300 pounds and the Merlot only 1000. Unfortunately that makes us sold out of our 2004 Aca Modot blend. After next year we will have to replant that site. We will still make the wine, but we will have to buy some Cabernet Franc from our neighbor and use our new Cabernet and Petite Verdot. I will not replant Malbec or Merlot again.
On Friday we received the rest of the Rafanelli Petite Sirah, 3.5 tons. It is great that we received grapes from different parts of that Wine Creek vineyard so the complexity of the wine should be nice. The 1.9 tons we received on Tuesday was from high up on the hill from a different vineyard. On Friday we picked our 1.4 tons of Petite Sirah. All these lots will be blended to make a 100% Dry creek Petite Sirah. Come and taste them from the barrel in October.
On Saturday our Cabernet from the sandy loam area was picked. The 2.8 tons will go into the Estate Cuvee. Also on Saturday Steve brought us some Portuguese varietals from a grower in the Lodi area. The acids were low, but the grapes look fine. We received a little less than two tons each of Touriga Nacional and Alvarelhao. We are not selling a 2004 Neighbors' Cuvee yet, but most likely it will contain some of this fruit. By Novembers' open house, I should know more. Also I will most likely make my new wine called Escuro (Dark), consisting of Petite Sirah, Cabernet and Touriga Nacional.
Wednesday September 15, 2004
Today is the 25th anniversary of our first harvest day. On September 15, 1979, I delivered 6 tons of Zinfandel from this vineyard to Gallo. Gallo was called Frei Brothers and crushed grapes from this valley to blend with mainly their Hearty Burgundy. Now the facility, 4 miles from here South on Dry Creek road, is the processing winery for Gallo Sonoma. They still buy a good portion of Sonoma grapes, especially Dry Creek valley, but far less than in 1979 when 40% of all fruit harvested in Sonoma County went to Frei Brothers.
Our winery was started in 1994 so this is the 10th anniversary of this
winery. In 1979 I started making homemade wine with little success until
1981 when I took a few classes and received advice from local professional
winemakers. It seems like yesterday.
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