Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Yippeeee It's Raining - Time for Bottling

The rain has arrived - the lifeblood of the earth and the vineyards! My raingauge at Tres Palmeras has clocked in over 5 inches since my last post. Still not all we would like to see, but certainly way better than where we were seeing ourselves. Still going to put that bucket in the shower, just need to find something to put it into from there.

With the rain comes indoor sports. In the winery that sport is bottling. See Bottling pics. Before bottling there can be many chores-coming out of barrels, possible filtering, lab analysis-alcohol is very important to the government! Then there is the FDA, USDA......that is why some of us turn into chemistry geeks, but we really want to be artists.........

Speaking of filtering- this is something I do try to avoid. Sometimes that means a little sediment in the bottle, but it is worth it knowing that I have good fruit, have minimized my impact on that fruit and since I make red wine which allows me that latitude.

It is not wrong to filter, in fact many times it is the smart thing to do- for white and Rose' wines, generally it cannot be avoided. Those wines are not 'stable' as we refer to them in the winery. That means that sometimes they have a little sugar or malic left in them and microbes. Those things left alone without filtering are looking for a party- fermenting and bubbling- and usually stinky and nasty in a closed bottle. Supposedly that was how champagne originally came about, but these days, a little more control is a good thing.

Well, the barrels are calling- the Mustang Winemaker

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Food and Wine for Rainy Day

I asked for rain and I got it - over three inches in the last couple of days. Not torrential rain, but coming down steady enough and windy, hard to go outside even with an umbrella. So that's when I come up with some great food and wine pairings.

Last night was fish stew. Carrots, leeks, corn, roasted red pepper simmering in white wine, with saffron- the smell was incredible! Then cod and crab until cooked.....then cream to round it all out- oh yes, heaven in a bowl.

While waiting for this to cook, I began to think about wine. Looked in the cellar, looked on my cellar spreadsheet and was coming up blank. Then I spied what I felt would be a perfect match- Reisling- a dry Reisling from a very small producer in Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. Lazy Creek Vineyards, 2006 Anderson Valley Reisling- barrel fermented in 10 year old French barrels.

The pairing worked- nice floral aroma, slight citrus and spice with canteloupe flavors in the mouth of the wine balanced the somewhat smoky, earthy aroma of the saffron and roasted peppers.............I am still thinking about it! And with leftovers of the stew for lunch-but without the wine sadly.

The rain is a blessing in more ways than one-kept me indoors to work on the new website- take a peek if you get a chance- -it has been going through more than one change- should probably document the metamorphosis of this project that I thought I would have finished by now. It is a fun project and now I have the ability to make changes to the site when I wish-no not truly a control freak- just a little.

A little bit of news before you go- tasting room is on the horizon- hopefully next month if all goes on schedule.......we all know how construction projects can go! More to come-

The Mustang Winemaker, Penny

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Raining.......finally!

There is more than a little anxiety about the water situation here in California. My weather station was showing us at below 50% from an average year and you can see that the reservoirs are dry. Last week the rain began-what a wonderful site. So far it hasn't been a lot, but the predictions are talking about some pretty good rainfall as well as snow coming our way. I monitor my weather station at my Tres Palmeras vineyard daily- this morning it was .10 inches away from 10 inches for the season- it would be nice to see this at about 15 inches. Only time and Mother Nature know how this will all shake out.

Late January brought very warm weather which has caused many plants and animals some confusion- trees and bushes are blooming about a month early. Now we are having some very, very cold weather- this won't be good for fruit trees. So far many of the vineyards are still appearing to be dormant. Since it is pruning time indication of dormancy is if an old shoot is cut off and there is no sap-good sign- still sleeping.

Aside from the weather, last weekend it was time to replace my old phone. Since I had been looking at pocket video cameras as well, I looked into what might be out there to avoid having too many portable contraptions in my pocket. So a new phone with camera and video capabilities was purchased. Just took a video of my office to see how the quality looks- hopefully will be good enough that I will have footage in my next post- I love technology!

I also was able to get a look at the pics I took at harvest, but couldn't seem to get them transferred out to share them. That has been resolved and I will be posting them on Flickr, Facebook, The Wine Space, ...............I will let you know where they land!

Well, it is time to get back to winemaking- barrel tasting is at hand!
Cheers from the Mustang Winemaker

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