Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Today we discussed maintenance tasks for the vineyard, such as leaf pull and powdery mildew control. In class we tasted Australian and American Shiraz (same as Syrah). The top winner was the Australian 2009 Mollydooker Boxer with the majority of the people highly favorable towards this wine. All wines were very good, but alas our Syrah (which we no longer grow) was not quite in the same league as these wines (we did not oak ours). Other wine favorites were the 2007 Woop Woop and the 2007 Laughing Magpie from Australia. The 2008 Eberle Syrah (Paso Robles, California) and the 2008 Bridgman (Columbia Valley, Washington) from the USA were also quite good. The Cline 2008 Syrah was good but at the bottom of the list, and also at the bottom for price. Sorry if you missed another great tasting. Maybe you can catch the next one.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Tonight in class we talked about some of the problems that can go on in the vineyard, such as disease (powdery mildew), nematodes and phyloxera. We talked about what you can do to control these situations. For the wine tasting, we started with three Rhone blends (2007 JV Fluery Cotes du Rhone, 2009 Le Combier Vasqueyras and 2006 Chateau de Nages) and three Bordeaux blends (2008 Chateau La Valade Cotes de Blaye, 2008 Chateau Monfort Bellevue (Medoc) and 2008 Chateau Les Bernedes (Medoc)). These wines gave us various blends of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Carignane (Rhone style) and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (Bordeaux style). There was a mixture of opinion on which wines were best. For every wine that someone had a favorite, another person chose it as their least favorite.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Last night we assessed the frost damage that occurred on 5/15/2011. Temperatures plummeted around 3 am to a low of 28.4 °F (based on data from DRI weather station at Valley Road Experiment Station) and hovered there for about 2 hours. The damage is still being assessed but was sporadic with some shoots being completely damaged and other shoots not at all on the same vine. Overall the damage so far looks to be about 20% of the shoots. On vines that had not yet been pruned, these shoots were emerging from portions that would be pruned off anyway. We dodged a bullet, just barely. Note that hybrids suffered just as much damage as the viniferas. For the tasting, we tasted three different rhone varietals: Grenache, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Then three different blends from these wines. Just about everyone agreed that the wine tasting was fantastic and that the blends were significantly better than the individual wines by themselves.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Tonight we discussed wine blending and described the different Bordeaux blends. In the tasting, we tasted three Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot separately, then as blends. Everyone enjoyed the wines and saw the variation and power of blending. This starts a series on blended wines. Next we taste Rhone style red blends. Hope to see you there!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Tonight in class we went out to the vineyard to see the frost damage from last weekend. Fortunately, few buds that were pushing were leafed out and therefore they survived the frost. The few leaves exposed were all killed. We tasted 6 different white wines tonight: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Semillon, and Riesling. The Gewurztraminer was the hit of the night, it had classic litchi aromas, good balance and a nice finish. The second favorite was the Pinot Gris. This wine was very well balanced with some honeysuckle notes, very good body and a velvety texture. Both of these wines were excellent. None of the wines had been oaked or had any secondary fermentations. This was the first time that we put all of the wines in a direct competition in one tasting. The low scoring wine (although not a bad wine) was the Chardonnay. The rest of the wines were nice middle of the road wines.