Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pocket Notes

Some weeks are busier than others, and we wouldn't have it any other way. We spent time with friends in the industry tasting our '06 and '7 wines, topping our barrels after taking laboratory samples, and penciling in my notebook that I keep in my back pocket a drawing of Al's Cinsault vineyard. I didn't want to forget where sections of his ancient vineyard look better than others. Counting the individual vines on this 25 acre lot helped Jon & I determine not only where, but how many vines will be needed for the '08 Panthos harvest. As you can see on the rough drawing, we've marked the spot!
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

2005 Mas de Boislauzon Ch√Ęteauneuf du Pape

Raisin, oak and date aromas; medium bodied with pencil lead, plum, mineral, steely tannins and a finish of sweet gerkins. A little lacking on the mid-palate, but very pleasing. $30; 3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Cinsault in Spring

The Lodi/Woodbridge Irrigation District just began releasing the water today from the chilly snow melt running down the Mokelumne River. It passes through a concrete canal adjacent to the Cinsault vineyard, but as in past years, this vineyard won't see any of this water.

The soil that's been nurturing these vines for over 119 years (that's right, they were planted in 1889!) is a sandy loam, more common on the south-western section of the Lodi Appellation. This field was dry-farmed in the 1880's and is still dry-farmed today.

A first peek at our 2008 crop. With tight bunches, it tends to rot easily so it does best in drier climates. While Cinsault was officially sanctioned in Chateauneuf du Pape, it has since made a great home with us in Lodi.

Of the 25 acres farmed by Al Bechthold, we were able to stake a section within the northwest corner of the block recommended by Al for its most consistent and intensive characteristics. This field has yielded between 2 to 2 & one-half tons per acre historically. Since Al's backyard sits on this vineyard, he's always keeping a good eye on it for us.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Shoot Thinning

The best time for shoot thinning is in the spring when shoots are young. Early shoot thinning's affects are dependant on the varital and its microclimate. This is one of the times Jon & I rely on the generations of experience our growers draw from to yield the best fruit for our wines.

These water shoots are developed from buds at the base of a spur or old wood. They're rarely fruitful and account for 50% of the shoots produced. You can see Manuel's hands work the vines carefully as he's done for over 30 years.

More of these young shoots are left on the ground than remain on the vines. Because of our growers' hard work and care, the vines we pull our fruit from will have fewer cluster numbers, changing the fruit composition and reducing vine vigor. Everything matters, and what our growers do each and every day is as important as any other part of the winemaking process. Today was one of those days.
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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Topping with Style

Jon and I always look forward to topping especially now that we have the two vintages to compare in barrel. I have to admit, the toys are fun too, like these hat light clips. When we walk to the barrel room, we get more than a few odd looks. We're ever so careful while topping every 3 weeks to maintain the perfect level in each barrel. Though we may appear to be Lodi cave dwellers (in Lodi?), these lights eliminate any guess work. We have alot of faith in what we're doing, but in this case, seeing is believing!
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