Monday, October 19, 2009

Wine Club Par-lay

This past Saturday we had our first wine club pick-up party and open house. We hired a very talented band from the Mendocino Coast, some friends (luckily one a caterer) made delicious fall foods, and we opened the cellar to friends from near and far. We popped bottles of Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc, and event opened some of our 2008 Semillon, which we just released (one whopping barrel made). It was a great day and we look forward to having many more.

90 and 91 Points: More Scores and Reviews!

Scores and reviews on our 2007 Pinots have begun to come out, and we're very happy so far. Here's a look (more can be found on our Web site):

Burghound recently rated all three 2007 Pinots 90 points and above -- one of the highest group ratings in the entire California Pinot issue, with well known names abounding:

2007 Zero New Oak Pinot: 90 points
"A fresh and relatively complex nose resembles that of the 'All-In' with the primary difference being that the wood is less obvious with lovely, balanced and pure medium-bodied flavors that possess good concentration and length on the sappy finish and mildly dusty finish. This is really very pretty and fashioned in an understated style..." - Allen Meadows

2007 All-In Pinot: 90 points
"A very pretty and impressively complex nose features notes of ripe red berry fruit, plum and violet aromas that are trimmed in a discreet touch of wood and merge into rich, delicious and pure middle weight flavors that possess an appealing mouth feel before culminating in a sappy and nicely balanced finish... This should reward 3 to perhaps 5 years of cellar time." -- Allen Meadows

2007 Clone 05 Pinot: 91 points
"The oak, if not completely invisible, has largely been successfully absorbed and allows the pretty red and blue berry fruit aromas that are nuanced by violet and spice hints to shine. The detailed, fresh and solidly focused middle weight flavors are delicious as they offer good breadth and a finely balanced, dusty and sappy finish. ..." -- Allen Meadows

The San Francisco Chronicle reviewed their favorite 13 of more than 50 Mendocino County and Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, and our 2007 Clone 05 Pinot was included in the favorites. They wrote: "The Charles family has quickly left its imprint with its new label. They isolated fruit from their Pommard clone and gave it extra oak. The result is smoky and heady, with allspice and cocoa accents on a dark-fruit base. Finessed tannins make it immediately drinkable."

Wine Enthusiast magazine will be awarding the 2007 Clone 05 Pinot Noir 90 points in the December 2009 issue!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Harvest 2009 Complete

We're finally finished with this vintage's harvest. As I said before, everything looks great. The last fruit to be brought in was the Semillon, which the family got together and crushed ourselves after night-picking the evening before (thank goodness with some help). Photos are below. And we're all uttering a collective sigh of relief.

Below: Inspecting Semillon fruit after bringing it into the winery that night
Above: Compacting the press load with VERY sanitized rubber boots

Below: Cleaning out the press after one load

Below: Pressure washing is a very large part of winemaking

Birthday Day Off

For my birthday this year I asked for a day off. (Sad, I know.) But about 3 weeks after my actual birthday, which falls mid-harvest here, I got that day off. Joe and I started out by renting kayaks at Big River, near Mendocino. This is a great place to kayak because it's a tidal estuary (or some such formation of those words). If you time it right, the tide will either effortlessly float you up the river, or back down. We floated up, paddled way too far, then struggled all the way back. It was a good arm and shoulder workout, that's for sure. Along the way we saw otters, birds, fish, and a bunch of bicyclists and a few other kayakers. We opted to not take any dogs, which I think was smart for our first visit. It was great (Catch a Canoe is the name of the company, located out of the Stanford Inn).

After kayaking and beating Joe at a kayak race, we changed in the parking lot, then went to Mendocino. We tasted at Breggo's new Mendocino tasting room, then caught a very early dinner at Cafe Beaujolais. Neither of us had been and the food was fantastic. The wine list was solid but brief. We finally selected a glass of Roederer L'Ermitage for starters and a half bottle of Skewis Pinot Noir for dinner. MMMmmmm...

We even made it home and into bed early. Yes, I must be getting old. ;)