Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ratings: Love to hate them

Alder at Vinography got me thinking today, do I really want to get my wine rated?  As a new, super small production winery why do I need great scores to sell my wine?  No, probably not.  Screw the ratings.  I am proud of my wine and I want people to taste it and make their own judgements.  

In an ideal world sure, people would seek out unknown treasures on their own and not pay attention to what the media tells them.  But this is not how the consumer works in a market saturated in wine.  So while my business partner says no, I think yes, lets submit the wine, get the name out there.  And what can happen?  

1. A good review and it helps sell the wine. (here comes the fame and fortune)
2. A bad review and nobody ever will read it.(what review?)
3 No review at all (a la Alder in today's post

Monday, October 27, 2008

LISTED Rose by Prime Cellars

We have your wine for Turkey Day. We were actually testing out a stuffing recipe and discovered that our LISTED Rose was the perfect compliment. The stuffing received a thumbs up too (recipe link)! What is LISTED Rose you may ask? Well there are some of you that have had the opportunity to try this surprise late addition to our line up, but we will let the rest of you in on the secret. Opportunity knocked and winemaker Ted was able to create this beautiful ripe but dry wine from some juice that came available in late 2007. Full of fresh fruit and fermented till it was dry, those of you who think of Rose as a sweet dessert wine will have to rethink Rose. Not only will this wine taste lovely with dinner it will also bring a splash of color to the table!

At $13/bottle there is still money left over for poker after dinner (or is that just our family?).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Wine Country

While at Taylor's Automatic Refresher (Napa version)  today I spied television personality Mary Babbit setting up to profile Taylors for her show "In Wine Country".  She seems like a genuine nice person who loves what she does.  Check out the show- she interviews a lot of interesting wine personalities at places.  Its on NBC and thanks to Tivo I have no idea when it airs.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Breakdown art

I happened across the website of bobointriguingobjects.com and has Bobo been busy.  They are making art-furniture out of my mystery Italian carboy basket thing (minus the basket).  Never seen one of these before and now I want to make a lamp out of mine when its empty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Breakdown...such a pain

Funny how some things can just be so annoying.  

In the game of winemaking one of the most important rules is keeping the wine away from air.  This is usually done by keeping the wine in a vessel (such as a: tank, barrel, jug, bottle, keg, carboy, demijohn, puncheon, pipe, hogshead, cask etc.) topped up to the very top so there is no space for air to occupy.  This means "breaking down" larger vessels into smaller topped ones.

So here I am with several full, topped up barrels and one barrel of Cabernet Franc that is about 10 gallons low and one barrel of Cabernet Sauvignon that has only about 25 gallons in it.  I have a great plan to use a nice half barrel (30gal) from Jarvis to fill with Cab Sauv and then just top it with Cab Franc.  Then I realize- what am I going to do with 45gal of Cab Franc?  Great, now I have to take back the barrel and try plan B.  

Plan B is to use the Cab Sauv to top the Cab Franc barrel and then breakdown the balance (~15 gal) into a keg.  Of course I seemed to have misplaced my keg so I take a trip to the store to find out that the world is out of kegs right now because of some dispute in China.  OK , what else is available? This thing pictured above (except mine has clear glass):  some sort of Italian basket, glass jug thing that holds 34 Liters.  "I'll take it" I say before seeing the hay and what could be feathers between the basket and the glass.  This must be how they make Chianti I think to myself.  

Well the very odd 34 Liter container (I'm sure it has a cool name) leaves be something like 6 gallons short so I can use one of my trusty carboys (5 gal) and a standard one gallon jug (think Carlo Rossi).  Of course this never works out as planned and I am a half gallon short.  Oh well, lucky for my I have a bunch of half gallon jugs on hand.  The headache is over, till next month when I top all the barrels again and use up some jugs and go looking for the next odd, yet to be named container to breakdown into.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Green light for Nevada!

Tell all your friends in Nevada that Prime Cellars is able to ship to them. We have to send them a report each month whether we ship wine there or not so lets make it worth our 42 cents people!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chardonnay- halfway there?

Ok, the first ever Prime Chardonnay is done with primary fermentation.  This is good news, the threat of the dreaded stuck fermentation is over (the Cabernet however is still plugging along- but that's another story).  

This brings up the question: Now What?  Typically in Napa we try and force the poor Chard through malolactic fermentation to get a rounder mouthfeel and tame the acids.  At a recent wedding (congrats Sara&Mike!) I brought this topic up with a fellow guest over a glass of wine.  She actually told me she would "kick my ass" if I put the Chard through malo.  Wow, I guess people have strong opinions about this.  

I was leaning the non-ML direction anyway but the threats of bodily harm have sealed the deal. After all, its all about the fruit, why let the lowly bacteria get the spotlight?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Coombsville is HOT!

Well, actually it's cool (temperature wise) and that is why it is turning into one of the most desirable spots for Cabernet in the Napa Valley.  Check out this article by Appelation America.  It does a great job pointing out why Coombsville is special as well as all the winemakers that have now realized that fact.  I like how Mr. Pott describes Coombsville as a series of ranchettes.  This is very true, our Midoriya vineyard is only about three acres (at 700' elevation by the way).  Compare this to Oakville and Rutherford where you have corporate mega vineyards that are hundreds of acres each.  I have been focusing on Coombsville for Prime Cellars since right after the 2006 harvest, now it looks like we have a lot of company.   

Sunday, October 5, 2008

That's it for '08!

The 2008 vintage will mostly be described by one word; small. Everything was either devastated by early season frost or unbelievable heatwaves (I believe Al Gore would have a comment to explain this). Anyway, our harvest at Prime Cellars has ended with 1.8 tons of Chardonnay, 4.45 tons of Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.04 tons of Cabernet Franc (a new addition!). The usual rule of thumb that the more the vine suffers the better the quality should apply here. Initial tastings are looking very promising. Here is a photo of the crushing of our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Midoriya Vineyard in Coombsville...Next step-to barrels!