Monday, September 26, 2016

Wine Lovers Rejoice, The 2016 California Harvest Is Looking Good

Cabernet at Jordan Vineyard
Harvest time is an exciting time in wine country. I got to witness much of the fun this year in the Santa Lucia Highlands area and throughout the Sonoma Valley. The story I wrote last week for the Fort Myers News-press tells a good bit of what we can expect from the 2016 vintage: click here.

Chardonnay at McIntyre Vineyard
The photos I took and stories I have could not possibly fit into that one column so there will be more to follow. But in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few here. The chardonnay pictured above is from McIntyre Vineyard in The Santa Lucia Highlands, the beautiful purple grapes are from Jordan Winery.


Ted Lemon, owner and winemaker at Littorai Wines checks the equipment during harvest. Here, everything is hand sorted to his specification.


Fisher Vineyards uses an optical scanner to pick the perfect grapes for each batch of wine that comes from their steep slopes.


The old punch down method is still in use at Hahn Family Wines, for specific small batch fermentation. Below are videos of pinot noir coming out of the press at Hahn Vineyards and the sorting table at Fisher, amazing.

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If you ever get a chance to visit wine country during harvest, do it. It can be a bit chaotic and some of the smaller tasting rooms won't entertain tours and may limit tastings as it is all hands on deck when tons of grapes start rolling in.

Make arrangements for accommodations as quickly as possible as many place fill up this time of year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Time and Italian Wine

Over the last year I've been thinking about and writing about drinking older wines; wines that I and others have been saving for that 'special occasion' or have frankly just forgotten about.

I knew I had a few older vintages Italian wines and had promised to share one with some friends from the old country next time I was at their house for dinner, happy hour, really any occasion. 

Feeling a little wine depressed after a weeklong trip to California I dug in my cellar and pulled out a twenty year old bottle of La Giola Riecine a sangiovese based Super Tuscan. This is one of several bottles I brought back from Italy when you could actually still carry liquids aboard an airplane. I put it in the overhead compartment, put it in my wine cuvee and let it sit...for nearly 20 years!

BTW, the currently release is highly rated and available in the U.S.

We carefully removed the cork and made the executive decision not to decant. In the glass, it immediately smelled like bandaids, had very little fruit and we feared it was past its prime. But patience paid off and after about 45 minutes the bandaid burned off, dark fruit and tannins emerged. For a brief moment, it hit a stride, however, it was short lived.

I have a couple more older Italian wines on the roster to open. Next time,  I may opt to decant.You never know how a wine is going to drink, that is one of so many things that makes it exciting.