Monday, December 29, 2008

Dan's Top Ten Lists of 2008

OK, I am a top 10 list kind of guy. I always make lists of my favorite records, movies, books, concerts and other things each year as December winds down. Here are two wine making lists for you to ponder. Feel free to send us your top 10.

Top 10 Wines I Drank

Year Producer Region Type
2002 Michaud Chalone Pinot Noir
2005 Cos Sicily Frappato Nd'A
2006 Woodenhead Humboldt Pinot Noir
1994 Gunther Heinmetz Germany Riesling
1999 Whitethorn Carneros Pinot Noir
2007 La Clos du Tue-Boeuf Loire Gamay
2000 Château d'Armajan des Ormes Bordeaux Sauternes
1995 Joseph Phelps Napa Cabernet
2006 Baker Lane Sonoma Pinot Noir
2003 Andrake Cellars Washington Syrah

I am sure I am forgetting a lot. But this is a start.

Top 11 Winemaking Moments

4/20 In Anderson Valley
Family vacation in Humboldt (scouting grapes)
Hanging with Josh Chandler of Lazy Creek and getting pearls of wisdom
Seeing Eastern Washington, even if it was god-awfully early, for the first time
10 hours of sorting with a great crew of friends in San Francisco
Too many trips to MoreFlavor
WA vs CA wars with Aaron
Wine2.0 in NYC and the great Jersey experience (Kimmy turns 26)
The Puncheon Uhaul Stuff
Rotten eggs (not just for breakfast)
Meeting Aaron's family and friends in Olympia

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Did Anyone Come Here to Get Malo?

I believe Ted Nugent said something like that in his epic album "double live gonzo." Too bad he's a crazy bow-hunting douche now.

aaron measures out the MLF in a german bimble

We added the malolactic culture on Friday and secondary fermentation is underway. We took a large sample from each barrel and were wowed by what we are tasting so far. Soft soft tannins, cranberry fruit, good acid levels and insane color extraction. So why malolactic fermentation (MLF)? Basically it changes the acids in the wine. Right now you get a green apple acid and we want more of a sour milk/yogurt acid. Think the difference between the acids in a crisp riesling and a buttery chardonay.

Ted Nugent

Saturday, December 13, 2008

country wine you so fine

if "fine" means you stink like a musty old kitchen sponge.

Dan and I worked on our bottling chops a bit this week with the itty-bitty quantity of country wine we had from the loose grapes that didn't make the cut in the sort. As I believe Dan explained earlier this was our chance to play around with a very small amount of grapes - going for something that would end up being much closer to a french country wine then the tart and taught pinot we're shooting for with the rest of the grapes.

All in all we ended up with something that is drinkable, albeit by a specific type of wine lover, and has a nose only a couple proud fathers could love.

demonstrating bottle washing technique
the food grade cleaner being pumped in to the bottle
bottles drying on the bottle tree
filling  ala gravity and a small bottling wand

are you brave enough to drink this
as you can see it has nice color and a bunch of sediment
an admiring glance before a brave swig

Friday, December 12, 2008

Deux Party Punx on FoodNetwork

Make sure you check us out in the party scenes on Food Network's Dear Food Network Holiday Special with Tyler Florence. Dan has the bad plaid shirt and Aaron is swirling the girls.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Quick Trip to Paso Robles

Well the family decided to head south for Turkey Day this year and enjoy the hamlet of Paso Robles. If you haven't been there...GO! It's a true slice of "old california" and the wine scene is epic. There are about a hundred wineries in and around town and I'd say the vast majority are good. There are some dogs and a some stunning standouts. The wines focus on Rhone varietals, but like every other place trends are being followed (biodynamicism,natural wines, and obscure varietals from france, spain and italy).

"zin vines and robles"

I only had time to hit up 3 wineries this trip. First the great standard, Tablas Creek. Simply classic! French winemaking done with CA fruit that is a beautiful marriage. I think some people wet their pants at the "terroir". I know I did. The hay bed drying for the desert wines is a killer idea and yields lots of sugar without picking too late in the season.

Next up was the high scoring Four Vines. Any place that tries to come off punkish captures my attention. Zinfandel Meca? Maybe so. I always doubt Zin and question the legions of devotees to this grape. Four Vines makes great Zin and can impress the most stubborn of haters. The vibe at the tasting room was refreshing. A bit of a biker/punker edge, but not enough to scare away Volvos and Mercedes folks with gold cards.

"terry does anarchy at 4vines"

Last was Lone Madrone. I had heard this winery was owned by the Tablas Creek winemaker Neil Collins. It appears this is his lab for everything non-classic. 16.3% Syrah would never happen at Tablas. NEVER.

"paso robles christmas tree
lighting in city park"

All in all it was a great time. I encourage you to check out Paso.