Thursday, December 13, 2018

Another great reason to not use oak wine barrels:

Read this scary article!  Opus One sues a maker of wine barrels, alleging cork taint (TCA) in the barrels. Wow.

There are many reasons not to age wine in wooden barrels: They leak. They are expensive. They have a limited useful life. They are more work to maintain. Stacking them in barrel racks uses up more winery space than ceretain other forms of storage. And they can be infected.

There is a better alternative: Simply put the oak into the wine! Oak chips, oak cubes, oak staves. Easy.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Climate change and grapes

This article scares me: We're seeing, today, the changes in climate that were recently forecasted for 2050!

There are some big losers in Grapeworld, and, probably, a few winners. Poor Australia, hit with more drought and too much heat. When ripening happens too fast, the flavors don't always have time to mature, and yet the grape must be picked, or else the sugars will be so high it's akin to making vodka, not wine.

Even in the US and Europe, flavors are shifting from the red and purple fruits (which I love, as expressed in wine) to black fruits (which I don't like because they can also include flavors like licorice and tar). And higher summer rainfall caused more humidity, which causes more Powdery Mildew on the grapevines. And we are seeing earlier ripening, in our SW WA vineyard, for sure.


(photo credit: Google images)

Sunday, December 2, 2018

2018 Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau!

Embaraassed to say that it's been a long, long time since I drank a Beaujolais Nouveau (made from the Gamay grape in Beaujolais, which sits south of Burgundy and north of the Rhone). The Nouveau is made quickly and sold in late November. It's meant to be drunk young, and slightly chilled.

Why I love this wine:

It's got great purple fruits, to go with its lively purple robe (color). Zesty attack. The fruit notes are much more forward than most European wines, and my New World palate loves that. The grape notes are "grapey," which is unusual in most fine wines ("grapeiness" is usually found in Vitis labrusca species of grape, and Concord (think Welch's grape jelly) is the best example of labrusca). But it works here. There is also a lot of acid (the wine is ridiculously young), but that works as well. Gamay is a great grape that not many winelovers take seriously, but they should. Even in the Willamette Valley, you see Pinot growers plant Syrah as the climate warms--but they skipped over Gamay!

We're going to have this wine tonight with a casserole of potatoes, onion, garlic, in cream and lots of pepper and allspice, and with sardines and anchovies. That is one of several types of preferred dishes with this wine. Can't wait!

My price to sell it was just $15; it has wonderful quality for that price.

It doesn't hurt that this Nouveau was made by Joseph Drouhin, a world-reknowned Burgundy family (Pinot Noir; Chardonnay). But what a great wine, and what a great wine style! I encourage you to buy them. They are only available in November, through pre-order in August or September.