Saturday, August 23, 2008

rockroom's white debut - 07 chardonnay

Here it is folks, going into bottle after 9 months in barrel - our Alder Springs Vineyard chardonnay. This wine saw oak by way of previously used French oak to avoid an overdose of barrel influence to this wine as we get to know the vineyard and it's ability to handle oak. Remember these grapes had an extreme hang time going well into November before they were picked from their hillside vineyard way up in Mendocino County and we really want this premium fruit to lead the way on this wine. So far it has a very food-friendly crispness to it with nice citrus and pear aromas and flavors. A couple months to get itself together in the bottle and we should have a great seafood wine come spring 2009. Sorry to make you wait, but we will sell no wine before its time. Hey, that could be a good tagline. Let me check to see if anyone has used it before...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pinot bottling 2007 - graduation day!

Our 2007 pinot noirs developed beautifully in barrel over the last 9 months or so and were ready for their big day today to go into bottle. Sort of high school graduation for our babies - brings a tear to your eye, right? There's Pete in the photo making sure labels stay lined up as bottles get filled, topped with a blast of nitrogen to eliminate oxygen, corked (with our own custom rockroom corks of course) and topped with shortie capsules. Now for some bottle aging so that all those flavors can integrate and the wine can grow up a little more. Expect a spring debut for our 2007 pinot noirs if all proceeds quickly, fall of 2009 if maturity comes slowly. Hey, you can't rush greatness, it just has to come!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

WOW Austrian White

Dipping south from Germany we visit the land of edelweiss fame and find some stellar white wine. Greuner Veltliner, the name of the grape and the wine, is a terrific food wine with crisp acidity, some pleasant grassy meadow aromas and a soft mouthfeel with a finish that lingers nicely. Works great with Weiner schnitzel (around here pork is the only, not the other, white meat) and is just as nice with cheese or as pictured with mousse pate. You may have to search a bit to find one of these in the U.S. as Austria does not get its own section in many American wine shops. I would say it is worth the search for these moderately priced beauties if you have a hankering for an interesting white.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Not so Bad-en

Baden is the southwest corner of Germany and is home to the Black Forest and much of the country's production of red wine. It is a stretch to call these "rotwein"s red as most are more like rose'. Many are sweet and are consumed blended with water. The kind of things you do when the flavors are not that great. It is mostly just too dang chilly for red grapes to ripen enough such that wines like these Spatburgunders (pinot noir outside Germany) taste much like what you would expect from France or California. Still, they do seem to work just fine slightly chilled and served with mildly flavored weisswurst or bockwurst. Prost!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wines of Wurttemburg

Several days in western Germany just east of the Black Forest provided enough time to try a few regional specialties. The reds were light and fruity, the whites very crisp. Lemburger red was fine and the surprise was a barrel aged chardonnay that was in all ways a white Burgundy proxy. Really outstanding with that whole cool weather chard profile of acidity and minerality but softened by the barrel treatment. Unfortunately, many reds in this region are not really made from fully ripened grapes so are more of a rose and are bottled with residual sugar, probably to cover what would otherwise be some unripe weirdness. The final travesty is that these semi-sweet wines are often mixed with water by the locals to make a thin beverage that is really no more than a thirst quenching alternative to beer. The key to finding the better wines is to look for the word "Trocken" on the label (that "dry" auf Deutch) and "barrique" indicating that it was actually in a small wooden barrel at some time in its life. Be ready to pay a whole 2 to 5 euros extra for this - well worth it. Prost!