Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays- Looking ahead

It's that time of the year when many of us in the wine biz are looking ahead to where our business is going- where can we go, what can we do to make stay ahead of the game. One of the areas that I am very focused on is blogging! There are some great blogs out there from wine lovers, winemakers, wine retailers, wineries............what a great way to get info about what we are drinking or not. I am now following several blogs, as can be seen from the side list, and some more that I will be adding. Keep watching- I think I'm getting the hang of this and liking it!

So, the New Year is almost upon us- hard to believe. In a few moments I will be going out to taste the wines from 2007- this will be the last time this year. The 2007 Tres Palmeras is coming along beautifully, very complex- it is a 'field blend' of grapes from my own vineyard. The majority of the blend is Tempranillo with a good smattering of Grenache and Carignane. Then there are little bits of Cab, Merlot, Zin, Petite Sirah- all adding their contribution. There is warm spice, cassis, blackberry, blueberry, some plum, and a hint of dried herb.

The 2007 Vista Creek is all Tempranillo. This wine just finished it's second or malolactic fermentation-just in time for the new year. It is in a bit of a 'dumb' stage as it is trying to get itself together from fermenting. Wine is funny this way-it is always evolving- the trick is finding at what point that evolution has peaked. Hence one of the many challenges in winemaking.

On to the New Year- may you all have a prosperous, wonderful, fulfilling year!
Until Next Week-
Cheers to good food, good friends and good wine- The Mustang Winemaker

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tempranillo and Paella

Well, the wine for review on Saturday was corked! Very unfortunate since I was really looking forward to it. Instead I opened up a 2001 Gundlach Bundshu Rhinefarm Tempranillo. This wine was subdued in its aroma. There was some light blueberry aromas with overtones of oak-not heavy handed oak. The wine didn't hold up to the Paella spice and would have been better with a beef dish with herbs. A younger and fruitier wine would have been a better match, but you don't always know until you try it. Then again I could have made the Paella not so spicy..................nahhh! I do recommend trying the G-B Temp- something that they have been producing on a regular basis.

On another note, it is that time of the year again for wine competitions. There is a new competition with a focus on women- Wines Women Want. As a founding member I am giving it a go this year. Then there is the San Francisco Chronicle Tasting coming up about the same time. I always wonder if the awards really mean anything to wine consumers, but it does lend credibility to the wines and those of us that make them. Still waiting for a domestic Tempranillo only competition. Maybe something that another organization I belong to, TAPAS ( may be able to get going one day!

Well, back to the cellar, checking on the wines that are resting after this hectic hectic year-
Cheers to good food, good friends, and good wine- The Mustang Winemaker

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Paella and Tempranillo tonight!

It's Saturday! Just finished reading reviews, returning emails, updating Quickbooks, and thinking about what's for dinner. Paella is on the menu and with that a Rioja- a 1996 Reserva- Marques de Murrieta Ygay. This is a blend of Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Garnacha, and Graciano- can't wait to try it. I had picked this up a while back to keep up with wine styles and the competition. Report later.
So far the 2007 wines are looking, tasting, and smelling great. The Tres Palmeras Vineyard Tempranillo blend has finished with it's malolactic (2nd) fermentation and is now waiting in barrel for a pronouncement that it is ready to bottle. That won't be until next year-probably the fall for this wine. Unlike the Vista Creek Vineyard that has a lot more structure to it and will remain in barrel into 2009.
This last week has been exciting- new equipment for the winery I work for- Rack and Riddle. For those that may not know, I work full time for Rack and Riddle and have my own brand as well that I make at Rack and Riddle. What it means is that I get to work with a lot of other brands wines, which is a lot of fun. The equipment is for some sparkling wine that we will be disgorging soon- as soon as it gets hooked up!
Well, my stomach is rumbling thinking about the Paella- time to get started!
Until next week- cheers to good food, good wine and good friends- the Mustang Winemaker

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Shhhhh- the Grapevines are Going to Sleep

The short days of winter are here along with dropping temperatures. This has prompted the vineyards to drop their leaves, eat less, and go into hibernation mode. It is always beautiful to watch as the leaves turn color and litter the ground. So ends another year for the grapevines. It won't be long before they will awaken for another year to bring us one of the pleasures in life- wine.
This is also the time for many celebrations-some religious, some pagan, some just for thanks that we are here- a time to reflect.
This past harvest has brought some incredible wines. This year has brought me some incredible opportunities for me as a winemaker. I am now getting the chance to work with a nice spectrum of wines and the many challenges that go with starting from scratch. The sparkling wines will be following next harvest. Pretty exciting!Sometimes you never know where your life will lead you with all of the twists and turns.
I have finally sent out my first newsletter-if anyone is interested please email me or you can signup on my webpage. Speaking of webpage-I hope to have some updates soon. With the new opportunites I have not done the updates that I had envisioned.....Stay tuned!
I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving-until next week,Cheers to good food, good wine and good friends-The Mustang Winemaker

Friday, November 16, 2007

Harvest has Ended and the Wines are Incredible!

Back from a very crazy harvest year- construction going on as grapes are being crushed, barrels of wine dodging construction workers- craziness! But I have survived what is shaking out to be an incredible year for wine.

My day job is with a custom crush facility. This means that I got to work with many varietals and from a variety of areas. This was a cool growing season allowing the grapes to mature slowly, but it almost looked like it might be too slow for some cooler growing areas. Mother Nature did bring in enough warm waether, just a little bit of rain to give a little boost in a drought year, and, WOW- grapes at their best! I heard one winemaker say that he thought this might be the best year in the last 30 that he has seen. I can only go back 21 years, but I have to say this is right up there.

So, now that have come up out of the pomice of harvest, I would like to let you know that I have finally composed a newsletter. I will be putting this out monthly and will be attaching some kind of wine special to them. If interested you can signup on the website-

This month's special is 2005 Rose for the holidays- no rolling of eyes- this is the perfect holiday wine! Goes with Turkey for Thanksgiving, then if you are into ham for Christmas- the best pairing.

Well, it is great to be back to the 'real' world.
Until next week- Cheers- the Mustang Winemaker

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm back- Tempranillo Tango is alive!

After a much too long hiatus, I am back! I have just transitioned into a new day job to try and keep Coral Mustang Wines alive. About a month ago now I left J Vineyards and Winery- actually I was replaced- nepotism is alive. First time I've have had this happen to me. My naivete has always led me to believe that hard work and loyalty would be worth something and get one ahead in life............I'm old enough to know that business is business, but my optimism always takes over.

This has been a fortunate turn of events as it made me get out there and see where else I could use my skills. I am now part and partner to a brand new venture! Very exciting- retrofitting an empty warehouse into a working winery- before harvest- this year- in fact in a couple of weeks! So far it is looking good. Press and destemmer are in, floor finished tomorrow, then tanks will arrive. Most of the lab has been set up, then there is the myriad of paperwork- yikes- gotta love the government. This new facility will also allow me to make my own wines on site, which will make my life a lot easier.

With all of that going on, I have just arrived in Paso Robles where the grapes I source for my wines are located. It's a five hour drive from where I live, but this is a great vineyard. I am going to be checking on the sugar levels and taste lots of berries to get a feel for what I'm in for this year.

Also this year I will get a chance to see how my own vineyard grapes will be for wine. So far the fruit is pretty tasty, which is a good start.

Well back to work on paperwork for the new venture-see you next week!

The Mustang Winemaker

Monday, June 25, 2007

Twitter for Tempranillo

Wow, how the world has changed- getting smaller in some ways. It has become so easy to communicate, very exciting stuff! I still remember working in research and how exciting it was to be able to hook your phone receiver to a cradle that then could transmit and share data with another computer............ Here is my newest venture into the Tech world :

I have to thank Wine 2.0 and meeting with some people from companies that are trying to use the technology at hand, for bringing me into the world of communication. It will be very interesting to see what this does in the big world of wine.

News Flash- Just received an email from the San Francisco International Wine Competition- Silver for the 2005 Tempranillo to be released August 1, and a Bronze for the 2006 Tempranillo Rose'. It is pretty cool to think that out of all of the wines that are tasted that my wines are getting recognition! Now if I could just get through all the regulatory #*&% for interstate shipping.........

Friday, June 15, 2007

WineQ has signed on the Mustang Winemaker

Great News- you can now find my wines-Coral Mustang- on Wine Q!
You put together your own wine club by selecting the wines that you want, very cool for those of you that like a selction of wines from several sources.

Lot's of news on the Rose' front. It is summer and it is getting hot out there so the press has turned to writing about them. It has been interesting to see how many new ones are out there now as they are becoming acceptable as a 'real' wine. By the way, I am having a great deal on my 2005 Rose' if anyone is interested- free shipping in California, and free shipping for a full case anywhere else that I can ship to, which is expanding. Something I will be working on very hard to bring the wines to as many people as possible.

Which brings me to the direct shipping laws- wow- what a mess! Not much more I can say about does have more to say- check it out.

I have been tasting through some Spanish Tempranillo that has been in my cellar collecting dust for the last year. It has given me some perspective on some regions that I was not very familiar with. Very fun- I will post some of my comments on, a great blog about Spanish wines.

Well back to making wine, Cheers to good food, good wine, and good friends- The Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wine 2.0 - the Mustang Winemaker will be there, Tempranillo in hand

Tomorrow is Wine 2.0 in San Francisco!

I am very excited to be able to network with others in my position- how can the technology out there help sell wine and what else is coming on line. El Jefe, Jeff Stai of Twisted Oak has really hit it on the head with some of the obstacles that wineries and especially small, 'virtual' wineries are faced with. Time is my biggest obstacle as I have a day job at a reputable winery. Then after my 10+ hour day there devote time to my 'project'. But that was my choice,kind I can't complain. If I was profitable I could lose the day job, so finding ways to get there is foremost in my mind these days. (to Jeff Stai on Wine 2.0)

Which reminds me- I have an incredible deal on 05Tempranillo Rose-see You can purchase it there or on a number of online sites like Appellation America.

Back to the day job-
The Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rose' Season Part 2- and of course,Tempranillo

Well we are well into the season here in California- nice weather! I am running into the notion that Rose' needs to be very young. If it is not 2006 vintage, then it must be too old.

Most of my customers are asking for 2006 vintage, but I have to say that the 2005's, my own included, is tasting absolutely incredible. Part of this may be due to the use of certain varietals that can stand the test of time. I say this as it seems that Rose' made from Pinot seems to tire and turn orange, whereas Grenache, Syrah, and Tempranillo don't. In my opinion some of these even get better! Look at some of the vintages of French Rose' out on the shelves- not many 2006.

And even with all of the press that Rose' seems to be getting, it is still a tough sell. It is too sweet, too dry, only good when it is hot out- still some rough bumps before acceptance of one of the most versatile wine types out there.

So a little plug- I have an incredible 2005 Rose' still for sale( I have had to release the 2006 and I hope that this time next year I will have a 2007- the verdict is still out on whether it makes sense to continue making what I feel is a great deal for this versatile, yummy wine.

I am a glutton for punishment, I make Tempranillo, which is also a hard sell. But I can feel the excitement that is being generated by those that are looking for something different. The 'tipping point' is coming, I know it. Then again, you need to know that I am the 'eternal optimist'.......................untill next week, cheers to good food, good wine and good friends- the Mustang Winemaker

Monday, May 7, 2007

It's Rose' Season!

The weather is warm here in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County- actually it is summer desert hot for this time of the year. The warm/hot weather spells the beginning of Rose' drinking! Do I hear a cheer?

This has got to be one of the most versatile wine types, IMHO, but one of the least thought of when perusing the aisles of wine shops. And the notion that there is a season, (late spring and summer) for Rose', well, that's just hogwash (in nice terms). What wine goes with fall and winter dishes like ham, turkey, stews, soups- it's Rose'. One day I know that those who don't know this wine will and will wonder why they didn't give it the credit that it is due.

But enough ranting. I just have to have faith that the word will get out and all of us that love to make and drink this type of wine will make it through another year.

I have missed writing the past couple of weeks due to a business trip to Italy and Portugal. More on that next week- hey, I have to have something to keep you coming back!

Until next week, drink more Rose' (and Tempranillo)!
Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Tango in the Vineyards- it is Spring!

It is Spring in Sonoma County and the vines are looking great. It is on these beautiful days that I have to keep in mind that it is early in the season, meaning we could still encounter frost. Or there could be rain at bloom. Or...................Mother Nature still has the upper hand! Right now, my partner/Husband/Vineyard Manager is out walking the Tres Palmeras vineyard (Coral Mustang's home Vineyard). I am hoping to get fruit off of this small vineyard this year, so close attention will be paid to making sure this vineyard's first year is a good one.

With Spring comes taxes and I am working to get them finished before I am off on a business trip to Europe on the 14th- no Easter break for me! Hopefully 'Uncle Sam' will be kind this year.

On a brighter note- Steven Tolliver sent a comment/question to my last post (please see comments on Competitions, Good or Bad). He has a lot of knowledge when it comes to Tempranillo and a blog by that name as well ( Glad you found my musings Steven and I look forward to hearing from you again.

The TurboTax program is calling my name- The Mustang Winemaker- Cheers!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Wine Competitions- good or bad

Tis the season for wine competitions- newspapers, fairs, magazines. Making the decision what is the right competition or whether to compete is difficult. And for good reason. You never know what the outcome will be. One taster loves you, the next thinks you are not worthy of mentioning. Then, if you have a varietal that is not mainstream, well, you never know what you are going to be compared to. For example, Tempranillo. The standards are from Spain and even there they are going through a major evolution- so I say standard somewhat loosely. There are not that many of us making Tempranillo yet, so these wines get lumped in as Miscellaneous Red. That can make coming up with a fair evaluation a challenge even for the most experienced of tasters. So, I am challenged- any comments, recommendations- how do you look at competitions?

Take a look at Tempranillo wineries and vineyards @ - this is an organization that is growing and gaining some momentum. When I started with this group there was just a handful, now there are four. A recruitment drive is on, so I expect we will see this list grow.

I also wanted to share a couple of sites that are promoting varietals and appellations : and - another good source for domestic Tempranillo as well as other fun varietals.

Well, it is time for a glass of wine and watch the rain- Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

Monday, March 5, 2007

Mustang Winemaker Birthday

Well, it has been a couple of weeks since I have written. Sometimes time just slips by............

Saturday was a total lunar eclipse and it was my birthday! Unfortunately I was not able to see the eclipse here in California, but my birthday arrived none the less. I won't say how many years I have lived- more than I imagined and that I feel have passed. Nice day, sun was shining, birds out building their nests, and I made an incredible dinner. Duck breast with orange sauce that I made from oranges out of my yard, wild mushroom risotto, and steamed broccoli. Dessert was my favorite Dagoba chocolate.

This week is the week I will be bottling the 2006 Rose'. I will be picking up a sample for evaluation today, tomorrow it will be filtered, then Wednesday into the bottle. My baby has grown up and is ready for the world!

The 2005 Tempranillo will be getting labels this week as well. This will give me a chance to give it a taste and see where it is now that it has had some time to rest.

Well, now it is time to go back to my day job- more winemaking!

Cheers until next week- the Mustang Winemaker, another year older

Friday, February 16, 2007

It's Friday for the Mustang Winemaker

It is Friday and the sun is shining- looks like it is going to be a great weekend. Sunday is supposed to bring some clouds and possible showers, but we could still use the rain. We have just started a new account with check it out if you get sec.

The Rose is chilling away waiting for its big day of bottling the first week in March. We are very pleased with its progress. Just tasted the 2006 Tempranillo barrel lots and they are really yummy. This wine will stay in barrels until at least the fall. A long, but worthwhile wait!

The Women for Winesense organization is starting up a tasting event this year. The tasting panel is made up of only women that have been in the wine biz for some time. Look for the consumer tasting to be announced soon.

Well, this is a short one- but wine and friends are waiting!

Until next week, cheers to good food, good wine and good friends!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Tempranillo Education

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I will be a doing a class at Santa Rosa Junior College on Tempranillo for the Winemakers of California class. This is always fun- everyone is always eager just to learn about winemaking from the sources. It is a great class given by Ray Johnson who also has a web site for wine education, is a wine judge, and writes books.
I am also busy getting the 2006 vintage of Tempranillo Rose ready for bottling the first week in March. It needs to be cold stabilized, then filtered, then put into the bottle. All supplies are just about ready- just some tweaking on the label left to go.
We just landed two new accounts down around the Paso Robles area- Fermentations and Central Coast Wines. Stop in and visit these shops if you are in the area.
Our Tres Palmeras home vineyard has just been pruned and is ready for Spring. The cold weather last month has kept them in dormancy.The warm weather this last week was not long enough to wake them up- this is a good thing!
That's all for this week- Cheers to good food, good wine, and good friends!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Week Number Two for Coral Mustang

Things seem to be running well for the blog, next will be a link to my website! Comments are welcome.

News on the wine front: The weather has been very cold here in Sonoma County-good for the grapes, not so great for the humans. The vines are in deep, deep sleep, waiting for the longer days to arrive. The 2006 wines are doing well with the Rose looking like another winner!

Tomorrow is the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento. This is a fun day-meeting up with friends that I get to see maybe once or twice a year due to distance. It is also a chance to see the newest and winemaking do not always seem to go together in my mind. I will be attending with some co-workers from my 'day' job at another winery, let off steam and have a beer, or I mean wine, or whatever seems appropriate at the moment.

Well, it's back to the cold cellar-again good for the wine, bad for the humans.............The Mustang Winemaker

Friday, January 19, 2007

New Blog Up and Running- I hope

Cheers to the New Year!

This year will bring Coral Mustang into the 'tech' age- newsletters and a weekly blog, if all goes as planned.

The latest news for me is two medals from the San Francisco Chronicle Competition that was just held recently. Good news for us and for Tempranillo wines. This year they were in a category of their own. This doesn't always happen and this varietal can be lumped with anything that is not Cab, Zin, or Pinot Noir.

This week I will be in Sacramento to check out winery equipment and reconnect with friends in the biz.

Until next week,
Cheers to good food, good, friends and good wine!

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