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Dave Potter
 
November 5, 2008 | Dave Potter

Harvest 2008 Run Down

Here's a quick run-down on the '08 Municipal Harvest:     1.  Bright White Riesling came from a different vineyard this year due to crop loss from frost.  We made a slight mod on the style, leaving a *tiny* touch of residual sugar in the wine, just to give it a little more body and balance.  Still showing great mineral limey floral flavors.  Another stunner.     2.  Sweetie is a new sweet white wine that we are producing this year.  It is made from Riesling and has a splash of Muscat in it for a floral lift.  For those of us who love a good sweet wine, there will be a tiny bit of this available.  Bottling in January/February and available in March.     3.  Pale Pink is really pale!  It is very light orangey-pinky-salmon in color, yet bright and fresh in flavor with some cool smoke and cinnamon notes complementing the strawberries and cherries.  Just as crisp and refreshing as the '07 Pale Pink.     4.  Bright Red is awesome this year.  The Cinsaut is ripe and actually quite dark, while the Grenache was sourced from 3 different vineyards in this oh-so-hard to find Grenache year.  The Syrah from Camp Four Vineyard is dark and juicy, which will bring purpley fleshy weight to the final blend.     5.  Dark Red in 2008 will have a higher proportion of Cabernet from our secret (Star Lane Vineyard) fruit source than it did in 2007.  The Cab already has a very intense perfume of mulberries and mint, while the Syrah from Tierra Alta is showing some cool meaty characters early on.  Very exciting stuff... Happy to answer any questions you might have.  Comment away!
Time Posted: Nov 5, 2008 at 2:29 PM
Dave Potter
 
October 26, 2008 | Dave Potter

Traditional

This year, I am making a little bit of whole-cluster grenache to put into the 2008 Bright Red blend.  Basically, instead of crushing and de-stemming all of it, I have saved a portion to make in this most old-school of methods. Why whole-cluster? 1. The toe-jam does not add complexity, but the stems do.  Keeping stems in the fermentation has been (mostly) shunned in the new world because they can add a green or herbaceous flavor.  Next time you have a bunch of grapes from the store, try chewing on the stem.  They are packed full of tannins and can make some pretty hard and angular wine. 2. *BUT* The stems can add some really interesting aromatic characters like exotic spices and tobacco leaves and black pepper.   3. The whole bunches create a large "cap" of grape skins with pathways created by the stems that allows juice to flow more evenly through caps, increasing the levels of skin contact or maceration.   4. The stems also protect quite a few of the berries from being broken open, and fermentation actually happens inside these grapes - a process called carbonic maceration which creates very fruity, almost candied characters. Some of the greatest wines of the Rhone and Burgundy are made this way.  It is the most basic and traditional of techniques - pick grapes, put them in a box and step on them until it is wine.  Check back for updates, but just keep in the back of your mind that you should be very excited about this stuff.  Should be interesting!
Time Posted: Oct 26, 2008 at 2:29 PM
Dave Potter
 
October 13, 2008 | Dave Potter

I'm Tired

...from lots of long hours with grapes.   The wines taste great though, so all expended effort is worth it.
Time Posted: Oct 13, 2008 at 2:26 PM
Dave Potter
 
October 4, 2008 | Dave Potter

Cinsaut is in!

2008 is a blockbuster year for this variety (of which there is very little planted). The low yields of this year have created some very pretty, yet intense flavors. Don't know much about this grape? Wikipedia says:
Cinsaut or Cinsault (pronounced "san-so") is a red wine grape, whose heat tolerance and productivity make it important in Languedoc-Roussillon and the former French colonies of Algeria and Morocco. It is often blended with grapes such as Grenache and Carignane to add softness and bouquet. Cinsaut is the fourth most widely-planted grape variety in France (even more than Cabernet Sauvignon!), and is especially important in Southern France.
It just so happens that we were trying out a very expensive sorting table on the day that I brought this fruit in, resulting in some hardcore sorting out of MOG (material other than grapes) and some very pristine fruit. Expect great things from Bright Red and Pale Pink in '08!
Time Posted: Oct 4, 2008 at 2:26 PM
Dave Potter
 
October 4, 2008 | Dave Potter

Riesling Rendezvous

a buttload of riesling
So I spend a few days at the end of July learning a lot about my friend Riesling.  I will try to keep this post short, but all in all, it was a fascinating and intense session focusing on the greatest white grape variety out there. What is so facinating about the grape There's a saying in the wine industry: "It takes a lot of beer to make good wine".  This was definitely the case after a long day of Riesling tasting!
Time Posted: Oct 4, 2008 at 2:24 PM
Dave Potter
 
September 10, 2008 | Dave Potter

Back to Basics with the Young Winos of LA

Regarding an earlier post... the Young Winos have posted a very nice review of our '07 wines (Read the review here).  What is cool about the Young Winos of LA is that they genuinely love wine.  Every bottle is unique, and everyone's impressions of the same bottle is unique.  So they record tasting notes as a group to help describe a wine from different perspectives.  They understand that the best way to discover the gems, is to open bottles.  Lots of bottles.  All their notes are online.  Check em out.
Time Posted: Sep 10, 2008 at 2:24 PM
Dave Potter
 
September 10, 2008 | Dave Potter

GRAPES! (2008 Riesling to be precise)

It is now officially on till the break of dawn.  The 2008 vintage has commenced with Riesling coming in for our Bright White.  Due to crop loss from the frost this year, Rodney's Vineyard fruit (the stuff that made up the '07 Bright White) was unavailable.  We did find some more fruit from just down the road, and the good news is that the fruit and juice taste great! Something else to look forward to is the introduction of a tiny amount of sweet Riesling this year.  Stay tuned for more deets. If you care, the numbers were: 21.6 brix, 3.1 pH, and 8.25 TA.
Time Posted: Sep 10, 2008 at 2:18 PM
Dave Potter
 
August 17, 2008 | Dave Potter

Municipal Winemakers on the Air

Our Pale Pink Rose was featured on the Tasting with Tom syndicated radio show.  The Young Winos brought it along to taste and chat about it.  You can download the podcast here.  The good stuff (ie our review) starts just before the 3 minute mark.  Enjoy.
Time Posted: Aug 17, 2008 at 2:07 PM
Dave Potter
 
August 17, 2008 | Dave Potter

Municipal Winemakers on the Air

Our Pale Pink Rose was featured on the Tasting with Tom syndicated radio show.  The Young Winos brought it along to taste and chat about it.  You can download the podcast here.  The good stuff (ie our review) starts just before the 3 minute mark.  Enjoy.
Time Posted: Aug 17, 2008 at 2:06 PM
Dave Potter
 
August 13, 2008 | Dave Potter

Sweet and Sour

I posted a couple months ago about the frost that hit California and the impact it had, specifically on some Santa Ynez Valley vineyards. The long and the short of it is that, the frost has dropped yields by as much as 30% in some places and some vineyards are all but wiped out. Low yields, while being painful to grape growers (who get paid by the weight of grapes their vineyards can produce), can be good news for winemakers (think of grapevines pumping all the flavor that would go into 3 grapes into 1 grape instead). As harvest approaches and we are cruising through veraison (the time when the grapes start to color up), it has become quite a bit easier to see the impact of the frost on ripening and uniformity in the vineyards. The photo above was snapped yesterday in a Syrah block and is pretty typical of what happens in a vineyard that was frosted after fruit was set... basically a little bit (like less than 5% in this case) of the original or primary crop survived and is ripening at its normal time. As a survival mechanism to the frost, the vines shot a second crop of fruit which is about 4-6 weeks behind the primary crop - where it should be. As a result, this sweet and sour effect starts to happen where there are some very sweet ripe grapes and some sour grapes with undeveloped flavors that are way behind. This can make picking decisions difficult where the sugar levels are high and the acid levels are high and the flavors are overripe and underripe, all at the same time! Typically, this is more of a problem in early ripening varieties, or sparkling wine production.  So with a little luck (knock on wood // fingers crossed), the moderate but warm conditions we have been enjoying this summer will continue, and the fruit will begin to even out over the course of the season. At any rate, just like every other harvest, it should be interesting to see how everything shapes up. I will keep you posted...
Time Posted: Aug 13, 2008 at 2:03 PM