Hello Nevada Wine Enthusiasts,
Last night in class, we discussed my recent visit to China. I learned that the Beijing area has very similar problems with cold as we do and that they too have major die back in the March period of the spring. They think this is due to excessive transpiration of the shoot (even though there are no leaves yet) and the inability of the roots to transport the water fast enough (because of the cold soils or lack of root development). They are doing some experiments to confirm this hypothesis and I think they may be on to something here. I have hypothesized in the past that there is a loss of carbohydrate (starch) storage reserves by this time of the year that is contributing to the decline. The vines are surviving the coldest part of the winter in January but running out of steam in March. As for the wine tasting, we tasted our UNR Merlot. The well-watered 2009 Merlot was the clear favorite although a number of other Merlots were equally liked by other tasters. Some descriptors of this wine were that it was well colored and balanced. The least favorite wine was a blend of Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc from 2008. It had some oxidized caramel characters that some people didn't like. However there were a number of people who chose this wine as their favorite. So as I say, just because it is someone's least favorite doesn't mean it is not someone else's favorite. We find this happening frequently in our wine tastings. Individuals clearly have different tasting preferences!