Posted by Tim Perr
In prior blog posts, I mentioned that with the 2008 vintage, we are introducing our second (yet-to-be-named) label. This label will focus on $15 table wines; we're bottling several varietals sourced from Central Coast vineyards. All of the fruit for this label has now come in, been processed and gone through primary fermentation (all sugar has been converted into alcohol). We are starting malolactic fermentation this week for these lots. Here are the current numbers:
Zinfandel: 16.0% alcohol, 3.5 pH
Petite Sirah: 15.8% alcohol, 3.6 pH.
Barbera: 15.5% alcohol, 3.4 pH
Merlot: 14.9% alcohol, 3.8 pH
Cabernet Franc: 14.9% alcohol, 3.9 pH
Grenache: 13.5% alcohol, 3.5 pH (very light color; almost a rosé)
The disappointments were that we got no Mourvèdre, Rousanne, Marsanne or Viognier for various reasons.
In general, I am very happy with the wines. The alcohols are higher than I would ideally like, but none of the wines tastes overly alcoholic as of now. My favorite so far is the Barbera, which I think will be a moderately concentrated, fruity and fun wine. Aaron Walker, our staff winemaker, chose the Petite Sirah and the Zinfandel as his favorites of the second-label lots. He says, “The Zinfandel has lots of character and isn't over the top with jammy or raisiny flavors. The Petite Sirah has a very deep, inky color and a wonderful richness in the mouth.”
Right now, none of the second-label wines have seen any new oak, and we must decide if we will keep it that way. Cost will probably dictate that they will remain in used barrels. After malolactic fermentation, we will decide if and how to blend these wines.
Before I conclude this post, I feel compelled to give a quick comment on the 2008 Oregon Pinot Noir we’ve brought in for Pali. It is awesome: Across the board, it’s the best quality I’ve seen in the four years we have been buying fruit from Oregon. Pali currently sources Oregon Pinot Noir from Zenith Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills, Momtazi Vineyard in McMinnville and Shea Vineyard in Yamhill-Carlton, and all three vineyards sent us great fruit, at ridiculously low yields. I plan to dedicate my next post to these wines.