Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Five Pink Zeppelins

Here's the latest Pink Zeppelin, the fifth I've made;  I've been calling it 'Cranberry Chardonnay' to distinguish its style from my previous swill of similar color.  I actually didn't make a pink wine until my 20th harvest (not counting New Mexico wines) in 2003, and only a half-barrel;  it was a from a very cool climate Syrah from Aptos, and I ruthlessly chaptalized it to over 15% alcohol.  Peppery and powerful, it sadly lasted only six or eight months;  happily it was almost all gone by then.  The next year I overproduced a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend that was only about 12% alcohol;  it won a pack of gold medals and best of classes in competition, but since I'd made four hundred cases of it at the height of the first Pink Wine Hype in the media and trade, it took over a year to sell out.  Fortunately (well, and by design) it was both crisper and more stable, and didn't diminish in quality.  I took a few years off, and then made another in the same style, which also did very well in competition.  Since I made quite a bit less, it didn't burden my conscience and my warehouse bill quite as much.  Last year, the inability of the Grenache at the 'Colossus of Rhones' vineyard to ripen enough to make red wine led me to make a very small lot (68 cases) of Grenache dominated pink that was really amazing, though not repeatable - we grafted the block over to Vermentino and Alicante Bouschet, neither of which will find their way into any plausibly pink wine in the future.  So I have returned to the mass-market model (ha) by making this wine, 102 cases of Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache /Cinsault, which is both darker and rounder than all but the first wine.  It's pretty sexy, you should have some.  Actually, I'll have some right now.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Eighteen wheels of plonk

Northbound on highway 101 in Monterey County: six thousand gallons of wine, quality and destination unknown.
But it's a safe bet that it isn't very good.

Post-harvest winemaker lifestyle

Cayucos, California yesterday morning: Alexis is holding her hat in the near-gale and desperately trying to ignore the fact that the old wooden pier is swaying, Joe is enjoying a last puff before jumping off the pier to surf back in.  I've got my eye on the bar on the second floor of the reddish-brown building just above and to the right of her hat.  
Join me after the first of the year, and said bar (Schooner's Wharf) will offering both the Red Zeppelin Syrah and the Chateau d'Abalone Verdejo by the glass.

Band practice

Band practice