Sunday, June 24, 2007

bottling some coop juice

Bottling went well today and we have some 2006 wines ready and waiting. The pinot gris is a light wine with floral and melon aromas and simple clean flavors. The sauv blanc packs a bit more flavor and tends to citrus like grapefruit and lime with hints of passionfruit and great acidity that should help is play nicely with food. Worked fine for me with some greek dolmas for dinner! Now what can I say about the WhiZ? Beautiful bright pink with hints of cherry and strawberry this is a nice light quaffer. Plenty of flavor and acidity softened with about 1% residual sugar. Finally, the Santa Lucia Highlands chardonnay went to bottle with big, rich flavors - the usual apple and pear are in there but with a dose of pineapple and a really long lingering finish. This wine had a brief time in French oak barrel (Radoux medium toast) and it certainly picked up some nice caramel hints.

The pinot gris, sauvignon blanc and WhiZ are ready to drink and will be great summertime chillers. The chard is yummy now but will benefit from at least a few months resting in the bottle to allow some of the complex flavors to integrate. In fact, I expect that this wine will do well with even more age on it. Having said that all these wines have pretty low levels of sulfites and were only lightly filtered so don't expect to leave them in a hot pantry for a year or two. Also, none were cold stablized (c'mon - click the link and read about it!) so they will do best just chilled an hour or two in the fridge right before opening. If you stick em down in the deep celler of your Scottish castle or subject them to several days of fridge temps you should expect to see some tartrate crystals form at the bottom of the bottle. No worries - harmless stuff (cream of tartar) so just pour carefully to avoid that little bit of sediment. And enjoy! - These are the first of our 2006 handmade wines and they turned out really nice!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

w.o.w. - a so-weeet little wine that's not so sweet

I once read somewhere that riesling is the "red wine of white wines". Seemed goofy at the time which is probably why I really don't remember why the analogy was made. Now years (and many rieslings) later, I will speculate that it is because riesling, like most reds and unlike most whites, gets much better with some age. For some reason good riesling, while always easy to toss back young, can start life relatively simple - even boring? But given some time riesling develops complexity and the bright acidity helps preserve its freshness and make it a great partner for food. That goes for dry (mostly non-German) as well as sweet (mostly German) rieslings. So this summer treat yourself to some riesling, like this week's wine-of-the-week Jacob's Creek Reserve dry riesling from Australia ($14), and be sure to buy extras to age a little. Most are not expensive and you will enjoy them in a year or two (or more) when you rediscover them in your collection. I enjoyed this 2002 with Fathers Day gyoza and sushi at Maru and I have had it hanging around now for at least 2 years. I have one more '02 - maybe next Fathers Day?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

w.o.w. - fizzy chiller for summer

Summer wine just does not get much more fun that Vinho Verde from Portugal. Slightly fizzy, crisp, dry and clean with hints of citrus and apple this Famega vinho verde is a classic. Less than $6 a bottle (and a pretty blue-tinted bottle it is) you can even call this your sensible wine - only 9% alcohol, low calorie and inexpensive. I plucked it off the grocery store shelf. It went great with tilapia fish tacos - the citrus worked well with the fish and the bright acidity and clean flavor washed down Tex-Mex spice just fine. Don't be surprised if you see another vinho verde wine of the week - they are irresistable.

Friday, June 01, 2007

WOW - rockroom bottles a sequel...

So often the sequel just does not live up to the original, but every now and then along comes Aliens, The Wrath of Khan or The Two Towers to disprove that rule of thumb. Now our premier "professional grade" wine was/is really good stuff - the 2005 pinot noir from Anderson Valley's Hein Vineyard. As follow-up, yesterday I was in San Fran for the bottling of the sequel: 2005 Santa Barbara syrah from White Hawk Vineyard. Big, complex syrah loaded with fruit and bright acidity - this is no jammy shiraz! (not that there's anything wrong with shiraz, mind you!). Not necessarily better than the pinot but, like a good sequel, great fun all on its own. Watch for formal announcements in the future and a chance to purchase this bad boy. cheers!