Foggy Morning

Found this unpublished post from this past spring.  You can see the fog laying low like a blanket over the vineyards:

This week brought a serious change in weather – freezing nights and rainy days.


napa fog

Million Dollar Question: When to Pick?

We’re in the thick of the harvest business and after months of preparing, tending to, and coaxing fruit from these vines we come to the annual moment of truth… when to pick?


Sonoma County Zinfandel. Photo taken last week.

Winemakers across these wine-growing regions have been taking random samples of the vineyard periodically, squishing the grapes and testing the juice for sugar content and acid levels.  Mostly, we talk about brix, or the sugar concentration.  Table grapes that we buy in the super market generally have brix of 17-19.  Wine grapes are picked any where from 22 – 29. The sugar, ripeness (taste and whether the seeds have turned from green to brown), as well as acidity, and uniformity of ripening across the cluster and vineyard block very much effect the final wine.  So, at what point to pick is vital.


Expanding Our Palates: Domaine Le Sang des Cailloux

We are fortunate enough, as folks who work in the wine industry, to bring home extra bottles. A little of this and a little of that.  At this point they are mostly ends, rest, maybes.  So the question every other evening is, do we have any good wine??  In other words, wine for a Wednesday evening.  Not the bottles we’re saving for a special occasion, not the bottles that are questionable risk with no frame of reference for what we might be getting into, but a trusted wine. One that will enhance the evening and help us relax, slow down a bit, and enjoy.

Out here in California, the prospects of finding a quality wine that’s not made in California are slim.  This evening, we had the pleasant surprise of going French with our selection.

Domaine le Sang des Cailloux

AZALAÏS – 2012

Total case production for Le Sang des Cailloux is about 5000 cases a year. This particular wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Sryah, and 10% Mourvedre and Cinsault. Oh, the possibilities. Fermented in concrete, bottled without fining or filtration.  Much lighter bodied than the California Grenache we’ve had (which given the weather difference is to be expected.) Juicy front, intensive mid palate with a delicate finish. Fruit and minerality on the nose at first, that softened quickly. Would be interested in trying this again in a couple years. Too bad we only had one bottle.


A little anxious breather

The grapes have set and are ripening in the California sunshine.  We are getting the equipment ready for harvest and anticipating the start any day now.  Go-time is when the sugar and acidity levels in the grapes are optimal.