This week we’ve started seeing far more grapes than the previous week. Our Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc were joined by our first Chardonnay of the season! Fruit quality looks really nice and acids are still staying put thanks to the more moderate day time temperatures as well as the cool nights. The Alexander Valley reds are showing signs of the same incredible color that 2010 brought us and we should start seeing Lodi Cabernet and Merlot being harvested over the next two weeks. For Asti it seems after a crazy end to last week, Week 6 will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb as we enter the first slump of the season. This will give us a chance to catch our breath and take stock of how things are going. The weather for week 6, however is forecasted to be a good deal warmer than week 5 with several days topping out around 100 degrees! Hopefully they won’t go much above that so we can avoid the September heat spike that we saw last year.
I’m playing with the first Alexander Valley fruit from this season which is a Gewurztraminer from a vineyard in Geyserville which was harvested last Wednesday. It’s packed with flavor and did retain some acid which is fantastic for the variety that is famous for losing acid like a woman loses last season’s out of style shoes. I’ve set it up for a long, cool fermentation so the yeast can form the beautiful terpene compounds that make up the fruit and spice notes in the final wine. I’m also playing with some Pinot Gris from Lodi with a couple of different yeast strains so that should be interesting to see how it goes.
As promised here is the red variety group from Week 4’s interesting varietal tasting!
Latitude 50 N Sekt Trocken Rose Germany $14.99
Light and Bubbly
With amazing aromas of strawberries and cotton candy this wine offered fantastic quality for the price. A medium- dry style balanced with crisp acid and intense citrus flavors. It’s a blend of Portugeser, Dornfelder, and Pinot Noir. A perfect bubbly for everyday drinking at a great price, all of us decided to go in on a case!
Studert- Prum Wehlener Nonnenberg 2008 Dornfelder Germany ~$25.00
Elegant and Floral
I have a soft spot for this variety because it’s one of the first reds I ever worked with in Pennsylvania, of all places. However this also showed to be the hardest variety to find in the tasting. It’s known for intense aromas of Strawberries and cherries and this wine did not disappoint. It was dry with moderate acid, medium alcohol and smooth tannins. It’s worth the search as this was one of the best Dornfelders that I’ve ever had!
E. Pira Chiara Boschis Dolcetto d’Alba 2009 Italy $19.99
Elegant and Floral
This variety makes a light and easy to drink red which is perfect for lighter fare. Moderate aromas of cherries, bramble fruits, red plum, and figs introduce the wine which has a dry palate with medium + acid and moderate alcohol. The tannins are firm and structured but ripe. This is a great food wine.
Umathum 2008 Zweigelt Burgenland Austria $16.99
Spicy and Smoky
This was a dark brooding wine with smoky gamey notes complemented by black cherry and plum. The palate is dry with medium + acid, moderate alcohol and strong structured tannins. Zweigelt may be a good alternative to Merlot or Syrah for those seeking something different. This one was really nice.
Montebuena Rioja 2009 $9.99
Made with 100% Tempranillo this wine is true to form with aromas of cherries, raisins, lemon zest and vanilla. The palate is dry with medium acid, moderately high alcohol, and strong, textured tannins. Right now Spain is offering some great value for the money. Anywhere else this would easily be an $18-20 quality wine.
Quinta das Maias Tinto 2004 Dao $11.99
Another value to be had currently is dry reds made from Port varieties. This wine is a blend of 60% Jaen, 25% Touriga Nacional, 10% Alfrocheiro and 5% Tinta Roriz. The nose is intense with aromas of coconut, almonds, vanilla, and cherries. American oak is clearly a favorite with this producer. The palate is dry with moderate acid, medium + alcohol, and a full body filled with flavors of cherries, dried dates and raisins.