Sunday, June 29, 2008

San Francisco Pinot Call-it-a-Day

Rockroom managed to pull off our first ever industry tasting today at San Francisco Pinot Days big finale tasting at Fort Mason and I must say it went well. Pouring the pre-release (as in so far only available to you co-op faithful) 2006 and the current release (as in almost sold out) 2005 Hein Vineyard pinots we got many cudos on the wine. Reactions ranged from "hey that's nice" to "wow, that's really good". So I would say our joint winemaking collaboration is working out well, which of course comes as no surprise to those of us that have been sipping and sampling along the way. So for now we will keep on pushing the boundaries of small production winemaking, OK?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

06 Napa cab bottles

The last of the 2006 rockroom custom wines goes to bottle today. Hurray! Pete made the bottling line hum and we knocked it out in an hour or so. And now, after waiting 20 months or so since harvest, we wait some more. After a few months settling down in the bottle the hard edges will ease up and we should have a very nice food-friendly Napa cab. The predominant character in this wine comes from Howell Mountain fruit selected from 2 vineyard blocks with about a 5% dash of lush fruit-forward merlot and a similar dash of deep dark malbec rounding it out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

w.o.w. - gettin your vino bang for the buck

Next time you want something special but a $50 wine from a top boutique producer is a bit over the top, consider an appellation blend. Like this killer 2006 Sonoma Coast pinot from Siduri. Siduri makes wine from dozens of vineyards in California and Oregon and uses a small batch approach to experiment with different yeasts, fermentation approaches, barrel selections and press fractions. As bottling time approaches the best of the best barrels go to the vineyard designated wines with the next tier of barrels going to blends from multiple vineyards within the same appellation. So for example, while about 20 barrels of Sonatera Vineyard wine made it into the vineyard designated bottling, another 13 or so barrels (still really good juice!) went into this bottling, along with wine from two other Sonoma Coast vineyards. So you get solid regional character year after year and pay about 40% less than the vineyard wines that make up the blend. Making for a great Saturday wine to serve with wood-grilled salmon and walleye!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

w.o.w. - ya gotta start saving

As a fan of ripe bananas I figured out long ago that today's banana is edible but in a week it will sweeten and gain flavor. No added cost, just time. Same deal with wine, especially reds. Everyday wines are fine today but will often improve, sometimes dramatically, with even a year or two of aging. So if you are not already, you must start setting aside some wines to revisit at a later date. This 2000 Guigal Crozes Hermitage is a great example. A simple 20 dollar wine a few years ago, this French syrah has matured into a flavorful intense wine that went great with an order of County Line smoked brisket. Well worth the wait with flavors way beyond its unpretentious status and price tag. So how do you end up with a few humble gems like this? My suggestion is that each time you do a wine buy, get enough bottles to get the volume discount and include a couple picks for the cellar. Maybe grab an extra bottle of a red you like that has just a bit more tannic edge or acidic tang than the typical juicy jam-bomb. Even if your cellar is a dark corner of the coat closet, you will be rewarded over time with a couple cases of eclectic wines to be popped after a year or two of bottle aging. Can be fun to share these with friends over a special meal.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

wow - time to break out that chard!

One summer favorite that just screams for a full flavored chardonnay is grilled seafood and veggies. Toss some sliced squash, zucchini, onions and mushrooms in a ziplock with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette and grill along side a slab of fresh salmon (or in this case fresh steelhead trout). Either of the 2006 rockroom co-op chards we made goes great with this simple supper so if you ended up with some, pop that cork! Remember, the wine we made here in Austin is not cold stabilized so if you chill it for more than a few hours you might end up with a bit of tartrate crystalized in the bottom of the bottle - a natural grape byproduct, it is cream of tarter for your next lemon meringe pie!