Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Plastic Wine Bottles?

This article announces a new plastic wine bottle.

Almost all wineries conduct primary fermentations in plastic (I use food-grade HDPE plastic), but most winemakers conduct long-term wine storage in glass, stainless steel, oak, or concrete.

But the lower weight of a plastic bottle, compared to glass bottles, is so striking that over the next few decades many millions (perhaps billions?) of dollars could be saved by moving beer, wine, and liquor into plastic containers. I predict it will happen. The right plastic SUPPOSEDLY is able to store wine (and the acids in wine) for a long time, with no leaching from the plastic into the wine, and without too much oxygen transfer into the wine.

Probably some wineries will try it first, within the next few years, and wineries like Ch. Lafite will take a hundred years to change over.

Thanks to Audrey for mentioning this article!


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring!

The Jupiter seedless grape is budding in the vineyard. From a dead-looking stick unfurls a gorgeous pink-tinged leaf, reminding us of so many good things: The opportunity for growth, not just in grapes, but in us. A reminder that we are still alive. The promise of renewed life. Advice that there will (nearly) always be a brighter day after a troubling one. The humble grape can tell us all this, if we only take a moment to pause, look, and see.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

On the other hand, this Walla Walla Cab aged beautifully:

2008 Seven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, Seven Hills Vineyard (Walla Walla): This was outstanding with a grass-fed NY strip. The bouquet wasn't as strong as I like, but on the palate the wine is bursting with fresh blackcurrant notes. A vivid and fresh wine. I love it when a wine ages this well. Only $21 (my price) when I bought it, and what pleasure now!

This is why you should lay down certain reds, if you can in good storage conditions. This is why I love SE Washington wines.

Note: Mine was 2008, not the 2007 as pictured.

Note: Yes, cabs can be expected to age better than Chards. But still, this was GREAT and youthul, versus the Chard which was probably over the hill many years ago. And, to be clear, I love love love Amalie Robert wines. I only learned that their Chards don't age for 8 years, at least in some vintages (see previous post).


How one Oregon Chardonnay didn't age well

We opened a 2007 Amalie Robert Dijon Clones Chardonnay. At 8 years old with impeccable (very cool) cellaring, I expected it to be great. I loved it when it was young.

But the first indication of issues came with the too-golden color. And the wine had some oxidation evident--some sherry-like notes. Most of the Chardonnay varietal character was gone. Rats!

The remains of it sat recorked in the fridge for a couple of days, and upon retasting it, it was, at that point, awful. (For younger wines, this kind of short-term storage for a partially-empty bottle usually works great.)

Most wines are made to be drunk in a few years. However, great Chardonnays (and Rieslings) can age for a decade or more. Maybe 2007 was too poor of a vintage for this length of storage.




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Spain passes France

This article lets us know that, while Spain's wine volume sold is now #1 in the world, just passing France, wines are more profitable in France because in Spain much of the production is sold in bulk.

Spanish wines carry some of the best values in the world, too. There is not much difference in quality between some $25 Spanish wines and some $75 Oregon wines, And many Spanish wines score in the low 90s and cost only $12-$15 or so, which is hard to find elsewhere.