After our post- Wine Experience discussion of optimal berry size during a cab ride ( discussed in my last blog post ), my fellow Pinot producer Adam Lee was primed for more discussions once we arrived at the Bubble Lounge and met wine directors David Mokha and Kevin Vogt.
After Thursday night’s Grand Tasting at the Wine Experience , I went out for some bubbly with another Pinot producer, Adam Lee from Siduri. We grabbed a cab and headed over to the Bubble Lounge to meet David Mokha and my fellow blogger Kevin Vogt , who head up the wine programs at Emeril’s Miami Beach and Delmonico Steakhouse in Las Vegas, respectively.
We were pressing must and filling barrels like crazed weasels the past week, before I headed out to pour at the California Wine Experience. Long days and longer nights have made us all a bit wacky. One night, Kimberly came to the conclusion that François Frères barrels are just too damn hard to stack.
When discussing winemaking, I try to be very careful about distinguishing science from religion. What do I mean by that? The fact that yeast converts sugar to alcohol and CO2 is definitely science. The fact that we prefer to use Assmanshausen yeast at our winery is religion, especially since we’ve never done trials to prove to ourselves that we really like it best.
When I tell people that I’m a winemaker, invariably the first question I get asked is if we still stomp the grapes with our feet – like in that episode of I Love Lucy. Of course most wineries don’t process fruit that way, but it’s such a powerful image that most people probably think that’s how all wine is made.
In one of my earlier blog entries, James Molesworth asked the following questions: You're big on the single-vineyard thing. Do you do microvinifications from vineyard blocks for a few years before deciding if the vineyard is worthy of being bottled alone? Have you ever stopped bottling a vineyard separately after a few years for any qualitative reason? The answer to both questions is no.
In my last blog , I discussed our view of what constitutes ripe fruit, which means we don’t worry if sugars elevate past the "magic" number of 24.5 Brix. Because of that, we often have to add water to our fermentors to keep the alcohol levels in the finished wine at a reasonable level.
One of the most difficult things a winemaker has to decide is when to pick fruit. It’s not just a matter of testing sugars and pH. Do you pick early, hoping to make a more elegant, structured, long-lived wine? Do you pick later, hoping to create a bigger, bolder, fruit-forward wine? Do you pick because it’s the only day you can get a truck? Do you pick because Tuesday is your lucky day? Or do you pick when the fruit is physiologically ripe for the growing region and let the chips fall where they may? At Loring Wine Company, we use a tried and true method--we wait to see what Adam and Dianna Lee from Siduri do.
I’m often asked how I got started in the wine business. My flippant response is “work-release program from prison." In reality, I got lucky. But I was the one who decided that it was something I wanted, and then I took the required steps once the opportunity arose.
Hi, my name is Brian, and I’m a winemaker. It’s been two days since I last crushed fruit. Welcome to my blog! I was pleased that the gang at Wine Spectator asked me back--especially after reading my 2004 harvest blog.
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