Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tempranillo Tantrum

The hillside above the Colossus of Rhones Syrah blocks, on the west side of Paso Robles, is planted to Tempranillo, Tannat, and some other stuff that barely throws a crop.  I make this wine for my client;  when it's released I'll of course let you know about it.  First pic, from the top of the hill looking south.
Head 'trained' and extremely low yield, we'll be lucky to get three barrels this year.  Below, into the hopper:
Very, very ripe, I had to add a score of "Jesus units" to ensure complete fermentation.  Below, the must:
Oh, and this is the rock star I was hanging out with the morning we picked.  He's playing at SPEED LIMIT.
Swilly Idle's rock juice for inspiration, of course.  (Rudy Castellanos, lead guitar, Meth Leppard.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"Colossus of Rhones" vineyard

Planted in 1998 to the 877 clone of Syrah, as well as a few other awesome things that don't make enough grapes for me to take my cut of, this vineyard is on the west side of Paso Robles, on Peachy Canyon Road at an altitude of 1600 feet, and so is several degrees cooler than the great majority of the appellation.  In addition, the poor, thin calcareous soil has restricted yields to a range of 1.1-2.3 tons/acre (roughly, bottles per vine) during the last decade.  After the owner asked me to consult in 2010, we immediately changed the canopy from 'California Sprawl' (0-25% direct sun exposure of clusters) to 'Swilly Idle Wingnut' which is roughly 50% exposure until I am willing to trust the weather forecasts enough to expose the clusters 100% to maximize flavors without danger of sunburn or acid-reducing extreme heat (roughly, 100F+).

Oh, and to keep your attention:
That's the north block of the vineyard, with special guests.  You should come visit;  appointment required :-)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Verdejo verified, Colossus semi-released, Pacific Pinot

Perhaps the TTB (Tax and Trade Bureau, formerly part of BATF) doesn't read their own list of approved variety names, or maybe I missed something, but they approved the Chateau d'Abalone Verdejo label as is.  
The fermentation underway smells awesome, waves of green and yellow fruit:  Here it is just getting started.

People have been coming into the tasting room, trying the bottle-shocked Colossus, and buying cases.  So I suppose I should announce the Friends Family Fans and Stalkers price in my email - go back and read it?  (Retail is $60/btl.)

Finally, this is what a coastal vineyard site looks like.  777 clone Pinot Noir just above the 'town' of San Simeon just up the coast from me.  One HALF ton per acre, with absurdly tiny berries and clusters.  Pray for a wave of warm coastal weather, please.  

The netting is strictly for the birds, though yellowjackets are not welcome either.  

Band practice

Band practice