Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays from the Mustang Winemaker

It is Christmas day - a little rainy, a little sunny- a great day!
I have a duck in the oven, some bubbly in the frig - a 2005 Lucas and Lewellyn Brut- crab salad to accompany that- a few green beans, a little Pinot- yet to be named. Best of all I am surrounded by Frank and my critters!

I actually have a few days off, though I am constantly thinking about the wines at the winery. I am going to try to resist the temptation to go in as I deserve the break. Yet, the thoughts persist.

I was speaking with some coworkers and talking about how the wines are alive and everchanging, much like children growing with the different phases of growth. Though wine may not be as elaborate it is still exciting to see how they are evolving. Each vineyard, each variety proceeds in a different direction. Tuesday was spent making sure that they were healthy and happy before I left them. I have spent a lot of time with these 'babies' and it is hard to let go even though my brain knows they will be okay. The thoughts....is that chard lot going through ML, is the Rose' cold stable yet, are the bungs still in the barrels.......just to name a few.

Well, the duck is calling and I really should keep my mind on that.

Cheers and Merry Christmas!
The Mustang Winemaker

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy Holidays and the Vintage is Fine

I am now enjoying the end of harvest and Thanksgiving weekend! My first real days off, but still thinking about the wines that are residing in the cellar. So maybe not entirely days off, but at least not at the winery.

The wines this year have been a challenge, but no more so than any year. There are the usual suspects- Zinfandel that just never seems to want to finish, malolactic barrels that start then stop. This is going to be a landmark year in my mind. As one of my cork vendors put it- "the vintage of wrath- the frost, the heatwaves, and all that smoke!"

It is a landmark for me, not only because of the environmental challenges, but also making sure that the 20+ clients I work with at Rack and Riddle Custom Wine Services made it through all of this as well. Working with many different varieties, winemaking styles, vineyards I have no knowledge of, and some winemaking tools that are new to me- maybe not in theory, but definitely in real time.

One of these tools is Micro-Ox. Really a pretty cool tool that helps to soften tannins in wine at an expedited rate versus the long haul of cellar aging. So far the verdict is out for me on the real comparison between the two, but for those quicker turn around reds, this is certainly a very 'natural' tool.

Another challenge was working around the construction going on- the landmark part of this is that the major construction will be over in about one week. I and my co-workers will have real offices, a new cellar, and space to use the new equipment that we have and that we will be getting. This has been quite an experience as I know I have mentioned before- being a part of a new operation and where I can make my wines knowing that I have the 'right stuff' to make them.

Now that I can breath I am revamping my website. I am having a bit of a slow start, but hope to have it up in the next week. I will be posting it on my blog, as well as Open Wine Consortium. Facebook, VinoShipper, Wine Space, and..........

Back to the website building- Cheers and hoping you all had a great Thanksgiving Holiday!

Penny, The Mustang Winemaker

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Grape Harvest Over?

The grape vines think it is!
This is what the vineyards are looking like now, getting ready for the big sleep of winter. There is still a little green, but for the most part the reds and yellows are kickin' in. Where I am in Hopland there is another color- brown- due to the frost damage that happened here after the vines were already putting out their crop. Mother Nature was tough this year on growers. For the first two months of harvest I was getting the phone calls of "well, thought I was going to have 50 tons, only have 10"- happened across the board with large and small. There are some small wineries that didn't have grapes to bring in.

Hopland is in Mendocino County, California. The smoke here was horrendous with the fires that were happening north of us- settling into the valleys. I have to admit, when I first heard the words 'smoke taint' - I poo-poo'd it as another ploy for some kind of wine services. But now I have seen it first hand- it does exist! It is interesting how it has exibited itseld in different varities. In some wines it is a beautiful smoky oak, in others a burnt rubber that can also be found in some french oak barrels. There has been a running 'joke' that there will not be the need for as much oak- between the smoke taint and the lack of grapes there may be some truth to this.

On a different note- I had a suggestion form a fellow vintner to promote the seahorse. I love seahorses- they are fascinating creatures! I have my seahorse logo now featured on logo wear at CafePress- go to http://www.cafepress.com/coralmustang
For every shirt, hat, whatever, I will be donating $2.00 to Project Seahorse (http://seahorse.fisheries.ubc.ca/). This is a great organization dedicated to the preservation of seahorses and their habitat. Some of you know that my first major in college was marine biology. I went a different course, but my heart is still with the ocean.

Time to get back to fermenting wine, but dreamin' seahorses,
The Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Blogging and Wine- #WBC 2008

Good Morning- fall is definitely in the air and showing in the vineyards! October- festivals, Halloween, and the debut of the Wine Bloggers Conference. I have to say this was one of the best events I have ever attended- a time well spent meeting fellow bloggers that I follow as well as catch up with others that helped me get started with blogging. This was technically a conference and there were some very good seminars about how to use blogs, how to write a blog, where, when, how.

This was an unusual conference in that it also had a wine tasting component to it- in fact more than one. Tasting to help hone the skills of those in the blogging and writing world. This was also great press for those wineries that could submit their wines.

As a Winemaker this was an odd place for me because I am a Winemaker- I don't write for a living. Although I have to say after this conference it made me wonder if this was something I could do- no grape skins under the fingernails, no wine stains (except from the occasionally spillage from tasting), no smells of the fermenters, walking in the vineyards..........well, maybe there could be. But I was reminded of the solitary existence that many writers have by Alice Feiring- who did an incredible job addressing the highly animated blogger crowd.

So, I will continue to make wine- what I know best- and keep blogging to bring my world hopefully into yours.

Back to the wine- Cheers,
The Mustang Winemaker

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The last of the Tempranillo is in!

It is a great feeling having all of my grapes off the vine. The last 4 tons is in from my newest vineyard that still has yet to be named- any ideas out there? It tastes good- has been destemmed, crushed and it now soaking away. Tomorrow is the big inoculation day - freedom day for the yeast! I am using a strain called T73- made to work with Tempranillo. Helps to keep down some of the smoky component and brings out the nice blueberry, blackberry that I like in Tempranillo.

This is my second full day away from the winery- yes, I am on the road- in Monterey to be specific- to attent the Monterey Wine Fest. Wasn't sure I was going to make it since harvest is running a little late this year. I work with an incredible team at my day winery- Rack and Riddle Custom Wine Services - so it made getting away a little less stressful. Also technology has made it easy to stay in touch with the team as well as all of our clients.

Though I am still working- I did get a chance to go to a place I love- Monterey Bay and sea otters. Last evening I had a little time before the event. found a bar on the beach, had a specialty martini, and watched the sea otters 'rafting' about in the kelp. Then the scene became more animated as schools of dolphin starting coming back into the bay and the seabirds perched on the floating kelp- I was in heaven! This is my place of worship- the ocean. Sometimes wish I had followed my dream of Marine Biology- then again, how can you beat winemaking- being in the vineyards, the smells of the cellar, and after all has settled, being able to share what you have done with others - very rewarding!

Enough daydreaming and back to sharing wine at the Monterey Wine Fest- hope I see some of you there,

Cheers, the Mustang Winemaker

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Harvest 2008


Good Morning- another day of harvest! Harvest started for me on Aug 8th- so if I am sounding a little weary, you would be correct.

This is a tough time- trying to keep track of all of the wines that are fermenting, finished fermenting, need to go to barrel, racking, ML inoculations, as well as more grapes coming in that need to be processed and begin their life change to wine.

It is also evaluation time for those wines that have completed their journey, specifically the ones that will become sparkling wines. Blending is already taking place for these wines as well. I have to say so far these wines are turning out well- good year for sparklers.


The cool weather has created a lull in the amount of grapes coming in, but I know that the next rush is coming, especially if the days warm up. Right now, the grapes are enjoying the perfect weather to bring about real maturity. But they are also on the edge of being tapped for energy for the season. Leaves are starting to drop signaling that the season is coming to a close- not full on yet, again due to the weather.


Back to the winery- Cheers,
The Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Harvest, Harvest, and more Harvest

I am five weeks into harvest and it looks like the next big rush of grapes is about to begin. Since I work with sparkling wine as well as still, it can result in a very long harvest and usually in two big groups. First is the Pinot noir for Sparkling, then Chardonnay. Short lull, then some Sauvignon blanc, Pinot noir, and smatterings of Chardonnay for still wine. Now the rush is beginning for Zin, Cabernet, some Petite sirah, and some other fun grapes that are going to be new to me this year like Orange Muscat. I love the wine from this grape, but this will be the first time I will ge to work with it. One of the great things about working in a Custom crush winery-lots of new experiences!

Saturday I will be picking my Tres Palmeras vineyard- I will be sure to take pics, especially since I was not able to with the Paso Robles grapes. By the way, these grapes are perking along quite well-which I could share the smells, one of the many things that makes harvest special.

And it is not just the fermentations; it is the smell of the earth early in the morning in the vineyards, the smell of the grapes in the bins, the tractors, and just the smell of Fall- hard to explain unless you have done it or are in it. This is the romance part that gets the press over what it really takes to make wine. But it is also the part that keeps me from remembering how much hard work it takes to make a bottle of wine-

It's 6:30a, time to get back to the winery,
Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tempranillo Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the first day of the Mustang Winemakers grapes! Keep your eyes open along the 101 from Paso Robles to Hopland for the white half ton bins with the seahorses on them-you will see my esposo driving the grapes the 5-6 hour drive up.

I will take pics and post them over the weekend. Then the real fun begins- crush and destem to a stainless steel tank. Then cold soak for a couple of days. Next is the yeast - T73 a Valencia strain that works nicely for me. A week of great smelling fermentation. When finished the juice will be drained and the skins press lightly to about 1.2 bar depending on the taste and mouthfeel.

So, let the games begin!
The Mustang Winemaker- happy, happy, happy

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2008 Harvest Update- Coral Mustang and More

Well, it seems like forever since I blogged!
Just got in from another day of harvest with my day job at Rack and Riddle. So far things are going well. Crop is light, but the fruit coming in looks good.

Friday will be my second harvest of my own grapes at R&R- yippee! Vista Creek Vineyards grapes clocked in at 23.5 this last weekend, so Friday I am calling them in. This is always an exciting time for me- a new vintage. Even though I have worked with this vineyard for almost 5 years now, it is like a new start every year.

I hope to bring in a Russian River vineyard the following week- a new vineyard for me that I have been watching for four years and patiently waiting for. My own Tres Palmeras vineyard should be ready next week as well. This will be the third year that I have gotten these grapes and this looks like it will be a good one.

I will be trying out some new barrels on this vintage-experimentation is good. Since I am working with several clients I have had the opportunity to try some barrels that I might not otherwise have been able to try out. Nice when you can see how they work on other wines before you try them on your own!

I have gotten a little time to do some phone video'ing and when I learn what I need to do to download them, I will be posting them- hopefully this weekend.

The weather has been perfect for the grapes- a few HOT days thrown in, which gets everyone moving wondering if the vines that go into shutdown during those hot days will recover. With the drought conditions, this can be real concern. A lot of watering going on.

Time to get some shuteye- 5a comes early,
The Mustang Winemaker, Penny

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wine Spies Sale- Coral Mustang Wines

Dear Friend of Coral Mustang Wines,

We are writing today to tell you that we have been discovered by The Wine Spies. The have secured a small allocation of our 2004 Tempranillo from the beautiful Vista Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles. They love my Tempranillo and they are making it available to you at a very special price.

In case you have not yet heard of The Wine Spies (at http://www.thewinespies.com), they are a unique online wine seller that makes wine buying fun and interesting. Their unique wine-a-day selling format and their fun presentation (from their website to carefully packaged wine shipments) are a nice departure from other online retailers.


For only 24-hours, beginning on MONDAY morning (midnight Pacific), The Wine Spies will feature a small quantity this wine at one-time only price. The wine will run on Monday only and they are only making a limited number of bottles available, so be sure to take advantage of this special offer early. To order, click on the big blue button with the countdown timer on it.

It's first come first served and when they are out, they are out, so you may want to hurry. Wine Spies Operatives (what they call their customers) tend to buy up wines quickly.

As an added special for our friends, The Wine Spies will provide Free Ground Shipping PLUS on orders of six (6) or more bottles. Just enter the promotion code 'SPYNOW' on the order screen and your savings will be applied at final checkout.

As another added special, they'll throw in a few surprises, including a copy of Imbibe Magazine, a great magazine about food and drink culture that The Wine Spies write a regular column for.

If you’ve tasted this wine previously, please do us a favor and post a review on The Wine Spies. It’ll help other wine-lovers get to know our wines. Also, please feel free to share this special offer with friends and family by forwarding the email now.

Finally, be sure to sign up for their Daily Dispatch to learn about their daily wine sales and gain access to exclusive wine deal and savings codes. Also, you never know when The Wine Spies will feature one of our wines again.

Cheers,

Penelope

P.S. For a complete list of states where The Wine Spies can ship, please visit their website. This offer is only good through The Wine Spies and it expires 07/28/08 @ 11:59:59pm. If you have any questions about placing an order on their site, or if you have general questions about their service, please email them @ info@thewinespies.com

Will the smoke never end? and Big Sale- the Wine Spies spy Coral Mustang!

Another interesting year for grape growers. There is a lot of smoke from the fires in Northern California and where I am in Hopland, it has been downright oppressive!

Grapes are progessing- in fact Tres Palmeras, the Coral Mustang vineyard, is in veraison-Yippee! This is the signal that ripening is on its way, the wakeup call to get things in order for the next vintage. Frank and I will be out making decisions on crop load, what to drop, water, more leaf pulling......so far not seeing any slowing from less sunlight due to the smoke. But there is more smoke on the horizon and some 'concerns' about what this may mean in the way of flavor profile. Ah, the mysteries still to be investigated.

ALERT! On the sales front, I want to let you know about the Wine Spies! In my last blog, I talked about them discovering Coral Mustang Wines. For only 24-hours, beginning on MONDAY morning (midnight Pacific), The Wine Spies will feature a small quantity this wine at one-time only price. The wine will run on Monday only and they are only making a limited number of bottles available, so be sure to take advantage of this special offer early.

To order, click on the big blue button with the countdown timer on it. It's first come first served and when they are out, they are out, so you may want to hurry- http://thewinespies.com/

Wine Spies Operatives (what they call their customers) tend to buy up wines quickly.

As an added special for our friends, The Wine Spies will provide Free Ground Shipping PLUS on orders of six (6) or more bottles. Just enter the promotion code 'SPYNOW' on the order screen and your savings will be applied at final checkout.

As another added special, they'll throw in a few surprises, including a copy of Imbibe Magazine, a great magazine about food and drink culture that The Wine Spies write a regular column for. If you’ve tasted this wine previously, please do us a favor and post a review on The Wine Spies. It’ll help other wine-lovers get to know our wines. Also, please feel free to share this special offer with friends and family by forwarding the email now.

Finally, be sure to sign up for their Daily Dispatch to learn about their daily wine sales and gain access to exclusive wine deal and savings codes. Also, you never know when The Wine Spies will feature one of our wines again.

Cheers to good friends, good food, and Family,
The Mustang Winemaker, Penny

P.S. For a complete list of states where The Wine Spies can ship, please visit their website. This offer is only good through The Wine Spies and it expires 07/28/08 @ 11:59:59pm. If you have any questions about placing an order on their site, or if you have general questions about their service, please email them @ info@thewinespies.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Spy Wine!

Yippeeee! Coral Mustang has been spied by the Wine Spies http://thewinespies.com/
You need to check them out-a new wine everyday-found or discovered stealthily by the Agents. Their mission, should they agree to take it, is to find great wines that are not 'mainstream' and bring them to you along with great information about the wine.

This is a busy time of the year- grapes are growing and events are fermenting. The Mustang Winemaker will be seen at :

COPIA- Aug8/9, 2008 for Grapes indigenous to Spain- - -Grown into Wines in the USA- - -Informative Seminars, Featuring a Walk-around Winetasting August 8/9, 1:00 – 4:30 pm
http://www.tapasociety.org/

Family Winemakers of California 18th Annual Tasting
Sunday, August 24, and Monday, August 25
Festival Pavilion
Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

The event at COPIA will be all about Iberian varietals-tasting included. This will be a fun and educational weekend, put this one on your calendar!

Family Winemakers is a great organization for small wineries like myself. They spend much time working on legislation that help wineries and growers. They never rest! This event features many wineries and the chance to taste a variety of wine in one place. Please stop by and say hello!

Well, off to the wines- stay tuned- a video on disgorging sparkling wine is in the works-Cheers

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weird Weather!

I have to say that in my 20+ years of working with grapes, this is one of the weirdest years I have seen for growers. Every year is a challenge, but this year Mother Nature is pulling out the stops. About two weeks ago I was told it was the worst frost in over 60 years. Then as we began to assess the frost damage, a heat spell hit. Checking for frost damage in 102F heat- that will mess up your brain! Reminds me of when my husband and I were in Maui sitting in a Taco Bell, listening to Christmas music.......
Now we are waiting for 'fruit set'. The grape clusters are in bloom now, another critical time in a grapes life. Wind, rain and heat can effect how the clusters are pollinated. video
(Pics of Bloom)
About three weeks after bloom begins it finishes and then an estimate for harvest can be done-at least it is a start!

Lots of fun events for the Mustang Winemaker the last couple of weeks. I have become a guest taster for the Petaluma Post's wine review -http://www.petalumapost.com/wine.html
A great group, formed by Von Hurson, she has come up with a way that wines are not rated and they are not compared to each other. She really works to make sure that each wine reviewed gets a fair shake. A great lady and she is doing a good thing for those looking for honest reviews- check her out!

Then off to the city of San Francisco where The Spanish Wine Cellar and Pantry have an incredible event where the wines of Spain can be tasted by prospective retailers. It was a chance to taste wineries that I had not heard of and varieties I had not heard of- a great educational experience.

From there I was off to Wine 2.0-http://www.winetwo.com/
Met a lot of great people, many I have known throught the web, but not actually met in person. This was also a chance to promote Tempranillo-can't pass up a chance to do that no matter how late the event or how early in the morning you have to get up!

This was all followed up at the Healdsburg Library with a conference about Wine 2.0- what is the technology out there, what should we as online wineries be doing to bring ourselves and our wines to the world? I want to thank Tim Elliott http://winecast.net/for all of his insight and just bringing to light what is out there for those of us who might not be as technologically advanced or have the time to be.

I hope you all are having a great holiday weekend- remember those that this weekend is about. I have a nephew who is in the trenches- Hi Jason-be safe!

Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

Friday, May 9, 2008

WBW and Other Wine Fun

There has been so much going on the past couple of weeks: a lot of new construction with my day job winery, work in the vineyards, a few wine events, and the grand tasting of wine for WBW, or Wine Blog Wednesday (www.winebloggingwednesday.org/).-theme this month was old World Reisling.

The 2006 Max Ferd Reisling was the wine for review-part of the 3-pack order from domaine547.com - Thank you!
The bottle sells for $13- $15 dollars according to my limited search of this wine. What a fun label from this German producer and you do not need a cork pull.
As usual I did have to come up with a food to have with this wine and decided on a grilled shrimp and scallops that had been marinated in a little olive oil and hot spanish paprika.

This was a really interesting wine for me as I haven't had that many German reislings. The first aroma out of the glass was a little fusel oil and then citrus flower, light spice, and kiwi with mango that really burst out of the glass. In the mouth- pure pink grapefruit. Really fun- though a little one dimensional in the mouth for me- no mid or finish, but at 10% alcohol, well it was pretty pleasant. I had a kind of love/hate with this wine as the 'fusel' aroma was a little much for me, but I loved the other aromas and I loved the grapefruit flavor.

This was not a bad match with my skewers- the scallops better that the shrimp, in fact excellent with the scallops. I kept thinking that I should have done a grapefruit buerre blanc with the scallops- might have been fun.

Tomorrow I will talk more about the events I have gotten myself to the last couple of weeks.
But before I go- Bloom has started in the Tres Palmeras vineyard here in Cloverdale! Harvest is around the corner........

Cheers to good food, good friends, and family,
The Mustang Winemaker

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wine and Taxes


It's tax time! Personal and business, fed and state-"the horror, the horror".......
Like wine it is vintage dated and brings it own challenges. And like wine you remember the good years and the not so good. So far this year has been good on both fronts. I just finished last night and now am recuperating from crunching numbers and no sunshine. Amazing how quickly the body deteriorates within a short amount of time.

So, today I am making up for lost time- checking out the vineyard and the garden and cooking. Tomorrow I will be taking time with the wines-make sure that no barrel has missed my presence. There has not been a lot to do in the cellar this past month. The rest of this month will be tasting all the barrels to start making decisions on blends that will be bottled in late May. Along with getting ready to bottle is gathering all the supples, making any label changes, getting approvals. No rest for the weary is definitely taking hold.

It is crazy to see how fast the vineyard has grown in my absence! It seems like yesterday that I was reporting that the vineyard had just burst its buds. Now the Tempranillo has 12+ inch shoots. We had some very cold days last week, but it looks like all was spared- it's good to be on a hillside, all cold rolls downhill! So far so good. But we could still use a little more rain-keeping my fingers crossed....

Today is absolutely beautiful and warm out. I have the laptop outside typing this, a chicken on the barbeque rotisserie, an iced coffee made from home roast beans, and a bottle of Tempranillo Rose' in the frig- ahhh, another tax vintage over!

Cheers, the Mustang Winemaker

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It's Wine Blogging Wednesday!


Cheers to the first addition of Wine Blogging Wednesday on the Tempranillo Tango Blog. Once a month those of us crazy enough to try, describe a wine to fellow wine lovers of the world. For more info and to join : http://www.winebloggingwednesday.org/
What I really love about being a part of this is that I have a good excuse to taste wines I might not otherwise try. Then when everyone has posted about the wines they have tried, there is a great wealth of information about the wine(s) of choice. And not only from people that make wine, but people that love wine, want to love wine, a broad range of palettes.

This months choice was Cabernet Franc from France. I purchased this wine as a WBW three pack from Domaine 547, an online wine retailer that was kind and brave enough to put these together.
http://domaine547.com/She has wines that I would have to travel a long way for and with gas prices- well- this was the way to go for me.

Now, on to the review!
The wine is from Chateau Du Hureau of the Saumur-Champigny region-their non-designated 2005 bottling (http://www.domaine-hureau.fr/uk/fichestechuk.htm)
I really like to taste wines with food, so the first night of tasting (yes, more than one, explanation to come) I put together a cheese fondue made with gruyere. My thinking was that it would help to bring out certain components, like fruit, of the wine. I opened the bottle and the aromas of the wine immediately started flowing out- good sign. A great precursor when you are about to taste-get the senses moving. Poured the glass- aromas of blackberry, vanilla, some warm spice, and dried herb came first. then a little more of the barrel wood-smoke, burnt rubber. There were no 'technical flaws', meaning volatile acidity or Brett or any other nasties. A very clean, young nose.
Tasting the wine brought a lot of hard tannins-not harsh, but young, need more time and less wood tannins. A little of the blackberry fruit came through, but was mostly overcome by the oak for me. Perfect acidity, making this potentially a good food wine. It also had a lower alcohol-very refreshing for me since I am immersed in high alcohol reds here in California......
With the cheese fondue this aspect of the wine was intensified, with the fruit totally fading away.

With this I decided I had not made the right food pairing decision and decided to cork up the wine and try it the next day with a beef and mushroom dish with egg noodles and steamed broccoli. The stay overnight I though might help to 'loosen up' the wine a little, allowing the beautiful fruit I could find to perhaps emerge. I am always the 'eternal optimist', but this was not the perfect pairing I was hoping for either. The overnight partial bottle did soften up just a tad, but the fruit still struggled to be free-the oak definitely kept it's hold!

I would love to try this bottle in a couple of more years- allow the fruit and oak to merge and become more as one.

I have said enough about my wine adventure- the Mustang Winemaker, Penny

Oh by the way, many of you may not know-I have an e-newsletter with monthly wine specials for news subscribers only and updates-www.coralmustang.com and click on the sign me up or respond to this blog.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Budbreak for Coral Mustang Vineyard!

Well, the growing year has begun- the first sign of leaves began about a week ago with the Grenache and has moved into the Tempranillo and Zin. The few vines of Bordeaux varieties in this vineyard have some pretty fat buds, but no leafing yet.

This is always an exciting time-seeing the vines come back to life. This is also nail biting time because a good frost right now can cause a lot of damage to the new growth. There are 'backup' buds, but the fruit is not as good even if it is a good way for the vine to perpetuate the species. Today the temperature is in the high 70's-hard to believe that there could be more cold- I have to keep telling myself that it is still only March!

This last week was a hectic one for the Mustang Winemaker. It was the first bottling run for the new winery in Hopland that I am a part of, as well as a QUICK trip to Pasadena for Family Winemakers of California. Both events went very well, though all seems like a blur now.

Bottling took three days with Reisling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Merlot bottled for different clients- this means label, bottle, corks, foils change with each wine. Settings for these changes take time and can be frustrating to get each package just right, but a great team makes it seamless. May will be the next bottling run- the 05 Reserve Tempranillo and the 06 Vista Creek are on tap to be bottled at that time. This will happen on a brand new line that is going in now- yippeee! I will send pics when all is setup.

Pasadena- met a lot of great people for possible distribution of Coral Mustang. It was also time to do a little catching up with people that I only see on occasion- trade ideas, plans, broker names, how big the kids have grown. Not as much time to do that as I was back on a plane two hours after the event was over at 6pm.

Just before I started writing this blog today, I voted in the American Wine Blog Awards-http://www.fermentation.typepad.com/

There are some great blogs out there- found a couple more to add to my feeds to attempt to stay up to date with the latest and greatest. Check this site out and vote! This blog is not in the running as I did not have enough posts-but look out next year, here I come!



Until Next week- Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Feels Like Spring!


Let's hope this is just a breather before more rain- we are starting to move below average for the year. But it is still early and as a winemaker you learn not to make any predictions this early-weather, crop load, quality- Mother Nature can do so many things between now and harvest!
But for now I am thinking about those days when I can catch some rays and drink.........yes, pink wine. Better yet, St. Patricks day is coming and a perfect pairing with corned beef and cabbage- yep, Rose'- it will be there on my table! And if you are in need- I can supply it- http://www.coralmustang.com/. While there, sign up for the newsletter where every month is a wine special only for subscribers.
Now for wine news: a couple of weeks ago the preliminary 2007 Grape Crush Report came out. It is full of numbers; number of tons crushed, comparison numbers, cost numbers- for anyone into stats this is the grape publication for you, www.nass.usda.gov/ca. Being somewhat of a statistical geek I read this to see where the state of the grape for wine. You can find out how many tons were used for other grape products as well, but too much info for me. My big interest the last couple of years is to see what is happening with Tempranillo. To my delight there were approximately 1200 more tons harvested this last year compared to 2006. That means about 76,000 more cases produced if it all went to wine- not bad. And if I figured it right it was about a 25% increase from the year before- woohoooo! The word is out- Tempranillo is making the news. In fact there was a recent article in the Ukiah Daily Journal about Tempranillo - http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ci_8407024?source=email.
March is a special month for me- it is my birthday month. I like to try to celebrate the entire month, try something different, learn something new. It is also the month that the Family Winemakers of California does an annual event in Pasadena and the Mustang Winemaker will be making her debut there this year. This is a great time of year to talk with retailers, restaurateurs, brokers, and distributors because this is when they do their purchasing- the big holidays are over and time to restock!
It is tax time and I hear the IRS calling my name- so until next week, cheers to good food, good wine and good friends- the Mustang Winemaker

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February and the Weather is Fine-Global Warming?

I love February in Sonoma County! Pretty much every year we have one gorgeous week-no rain, temps in the high 60's, low 70's, flowers start to bloom- false spring. I look forward to this break and try to make the most of it. Trips to the ocean, picnics, dust off the barbeque and I break out the Rose', not that I ever put it away........

This was President's weekend, so there was one extra day to revel in the weather. Saturday was fresh oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company paired with a fig cake and 2005 Coral Mustang Rose' as well as an Elizabeth Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc. The Rose' was a great match with the Kumomoto oysters-fruity vs salty- and the Sauv Blanc went better with the more 'steely' Freshwaters.

Yesterday was more Rose' paired up with my famous clam chowder- again the fruity and salty, along with some of the crispness balancing the creaminess of the soup. I also tried a Saint Gregory Pinot Blanc with the soup. This fruity, slightly creamy wine was almost too light to balance with the soup, but it went quite well with the oysters that we set aside from the day before- that doesn't happen very often!

Speaking of the incredible weather, this weekend was the 2nd Climate Change and Wine Conference - http://www.climatechangeandwine.com/eng/index.php

Catavino, one of my favorite sites has been there and reporting back 'live'- please take a look-http://www.catavino.net/
They are doing an incredible job of reporting! There are a few other blogs out there reporting as well-some interesting comments that I will comment on later in the week.

It is also time to vote for your favorite blog : http://fermentation.typepad.com/fermentation/2008/02/about-the-ameri.html
There are some great bloggers out there, many that I have 'met' through blog sites like Twitter and Wine Sense. I hope next year to be in the running!

Unitl next week, cheers to good food, good wine, and good friends- the Mustang Winemaker

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tempranillo Hits Unified Wine and Grape Symposium in Sacramento California!

What an exciting time! Tempranillo is making the news in the grape growing world. This was made clear at a seminar that was presented at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium that takes place on the west coast once a year -http://www.unifiedsymposium.org/ The TAPAS organization was approached (http://www.tapasociety.org/) to organize this seminar and it was very well done. There were several grape growers in the crowd that wanted to know how, when, and where to plant Tempranillo. This is very good news to those of us who love this grape and the wines that come from them.

This was also the time for the annual meeting of the TAPAS organization. New officers were introduced and wines from those in the group were shared. This was a great time for me to acquaint/reacquaint myself with other members and talk about the trials and tribulations of this varietal.

This month you will see some updates to my website which is always sadly neglected during harvest. Please stop by and let me know what you think- http://www.coralmustang.com/
I also want to invite you to the e-newsletter that has wine specials and new recipes that I have fine tuned to go with my wines.

That's all for now- see you all next week- Cheers to good food, good wine, and good friends,
The Mustang Winemaker

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Snow Blankets for the Vineyards


It has been a chilly week here. This is a view out my window when there was a short break in the weather. It is snowin' in the hills!
This has also been an exciting week-more awards for the Coral Mustang at the San Francisco Chronicle tasting! I really like this competition because it is one of the few that recognizes the Tempranillo varietal as its own category, meaning it doesn't get lumped with the Misc. reds..............http://www.winejudging.com/ to see the results.
The home vineyard is pruned and ready for the spring thaw- heck, I'm looking forward to the spring thaw. Did get a chance to make it out flyfishing before the snow and cold- no fish, but a great day to think about the wines and the best way to get them out to you. Any and all comments welcome! The biggest battle is with all of the state shipping regs-old news-but ever present on the minds of winemakers-especially those of us that are very small.
I would also like to welcome everyone to sign up for the monthly newsletter. In it is news about Tempranillo, coupon specials, food and wine pairings, and anything else I can squeeze onto a page.
Speaking of news- a couple of articles about Tempranillo in Bon Appetite and Better Homes and Gardens. One was pairing Tempranillo up with a holiday menu, and the other expressing how much they loved Tempranillo. There will be a session at this years Unified Grape and Wine Symposium about Tempranillo and a tasting of Temps from around the world-should be very interesting. I will write more about that after I have attended.
That's all for now-until next week-The Mustang Winemaker, Penny

Monday, January 7, 2008

Into the New Year We Go! Drink More Tempranillo!

Happy New Year All!

Over the last couple of weeks I have had the chance to make some new blog friends, look at changes to the website and see where I need to go to get Coral Mustang out to more of the wine world-it is not easy being small and a producer of a varietal that many don't know yet-but I love being on that forefront-bringing something new and wonderful. Changes to the website should be showing up any day!

You will see some new links off to the right, and down the page will be the latest Wine TV spots-Gary brings a great new perspective on wine-this is truly innovation for the wine and tech world to merge. There was also a great podcast and blog discussion about where wine blogs are going:
http://winecast.net/2007/12/19/unfiltered-7-wine-blogging-today/
http://www.catavino.net/2007/12/12/wine-blogging-in-2007-how-far-have-we-come/
I would love to hear any comments!

So on to winemaking!
The wines are in resting phase at this point-in barrels and waiting for the day that they are ready to be bottled. My wines generally do not go through any fining (example eggwhites), but I always like to keep that option as it is still a natural process-people do this same procedure with soups to clarify them. The direction the wines are going this year, I don't see that they are going to need anything except some time to age. The vineyard here in Sonoma County has seen 5 inches of rain in the past few days- this is a good thing! It has also been cold- another good thing. The vines need the rest-as they are in hibernation mode they are not using much energy to survive, thus leaving the strength for the growing season. And that will be here before you know it.

Please contact me if you would like the latest e-newsletter- it has great information about Coral Mustang Wines as well as wine specials-penelope@coralmustang.com or see the signup area on the website www.coralmustang.com.

Until next week- cheers to the New Year- The Mustang Winemaker

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