Saturday, April 25, 2009

Colds and Stories

Finally have given up the hope that I have allergies and have given into having a cold. Not much fun this time of year, when the weather's gorgeous and the grass is green and my horses are looking very eager to get out and go on a ride. sigh...

On a good front, though, we just had a professional photographer out just last week. One set of photos (which I hope feature little Tet the McNab) were for Via Magazine - the June/July issue. I was interviewed as the executive director of the Anderson Valley Winegrowers and the Q&A will be about visiting Anderson Valley.

The second set of photos that were taken that day were of me holding our pyrometer (temperature gun) and measuring our Sauvignon Blanc for Practical Vineyard & Winery (also a summer issue). We're going to be featured in an article about wine temperature as we're the first winery use a pyrometer (normally for mechanics to monitor the temperature of various engine and other parts) on our wines.

Serving temperature and wine is amazingly important. Joe and I always say you can tell a good white wine when you can drink it at room temperature and like it, but that doesn't necessarily mean it wouldn't taste better at cellar temperature. For instance, we've found we like our Sauvignon Blanc at 55-60 and our Pinots at 65-68. With the pyrometer we can assure that temperature anywhere we go.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pre-Summer Sale

Just for our mailing list and blog followers, we're now doing a special pre-summer sale to celebrate the almost 90-degree weather we're having! (Amazing.)

From now through April 30, 2009 we're offering free shipping with at least 6 bottles of our 91-point, 2007 Anderson Valley Sauvignon Blanc in your cart. That means free shipping on everything you order, plus at least the 10%, 6-bottle discount.

We also just learned that Wine & Spirits Magazine will be naming this same Sauvignon Blanc one of the year's 10 best in an upcoming summer issue. And, with warm weather like we're having, this wine rocks. It's been flying out of the tasting room.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! The Charles family got together this morning for ham, eggs and homemade biscuits with homemade raspberry jam - a family tradition that dates back to my grandmother from the Dakotas (on my father's side). They only thing we were missing were the mimosas, which weren't needed after last night's Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir tasting. :)

My two brothers - Matt and Tim - and Matt's girlfriend Joann all joined us for Easter dinner last night, along with friends Rose and Gary. Joe decided that we are too busy to plan a formal tasting so he brown-bagged five Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs from 2006 for us to taste.

This was the consistently best flight of wines that we've tasted blind. Truly all impressive in their own right. I had only two wines that I thought were a little less impressive - one because it needed at least a few more years in bottle to tame the acids, and the other because I got an impression of stemminess from it. I have to hand it to the Sonoma Coast - a region I area like Anderson Valley - I always find something that I like there. (What, did you think we just drank Anderson Valley all the time?)

Here were the wines and how I ranked them:
1. Landmark Grand Detour Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir - I was seduced by the Pinot funk in the nose. I don't know how Eric does it, but he does it every time. I found the rest of the wine (mouth and finish) on-par with the others, but it was the funk that stood out.
2. Kosta Browne Kanzler Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir -- Because of the much higher percentage of new oak it seemed so much more ready to drink than the others. The only minus was that the alcohol was 14.9%, which is not the highest Pinot I've had by far, but because it was so much higher than the other wines in the flight (as such that stood out). Altogether a very nice wine, although normally out of my price range at about $65 a bottle.
3. Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir -- A very nice, elegant wine, but needed several more years to soften the acids up. Lean and mean was my description for the mouth, but balanced and some pretty fruit in the nose.
4. Roessler La Brisa Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir -- Muted in the nose right now but overall a nice mouth, with soft fruit and a moderate finish. Would have been higher had the nose been there.
5. Alesia Chileno Valley Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir -- At first whif I got asparagus and all kinds of green veggies out of this wine, but also in the mouth, which leads me to believe it's due to the 100% whole cluster fermentation. Simple stems. Was more subdued upon returning to the wine later in the evening. (This is Rhys' appellation wine brand.)

Hope your Easter weekend is as good as ours!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Real Life in a Tasting Room

It's only our second weekend open, which means that all our friends and family trickled in the first weekend and now we're seeing a few familiar faces, a few other winery owners to "check the place out" and a decent amount of random people we've never met. It's great, but we're definitely not slam-packed just yet.

Here's how my day goes:
- get up and complain to Joe about having to get up 7 days a week for something
- feed horses, the cat, the two dogs, then me
- get pretty (generic term for presentable to the public)
- choose clothes that haven't been near a horse in the last year
- go to the tasting room
- go back to the house (because I forgot something - it's inevitable)
- go back to the tasting room, unlock the doors and start stocking up on wine glasses, putting out our signs, and opening wine and checking the bottles for corkers (none yet)
- put on eclectic music for my own enjoyment, then change to something a little less random upon opening time
- scamper about cleaning and getting ready
- CHAOS or YAWN (depending on the day). If yawn, watch Ozzie the puppy sleep and work on the laptop (go blog posts!). If chaos, call in reinforcements (the mom and pops).
- do most steps already listed in reverse and go home and try and will dinner to appear by itself

To be honest, though, it's a lot of fun to be able to pour your own wines for people and get their reactions. When I first graduated and came back from Europe, I desperately needed a job and started working in a Napa tasting room. It was a great experience that I'm grateful for but some of the wines were only drinkable with 7Up and a few ice cubes. It's WAY different presenting a wine you farmed, picked and made - and love. And it's a lot of fun to try and guess what people will like - individuality of palates is an amazing thing.

So, as I round out the last hour of my work day, I'm listening to some Bob Marley (it's Mendocino County - reggae is VERY not random), debating whether I should actually join the twitter world (yes I'm a millenial but my god I don't think I have the time) and just heard a car pull up. Off to work!