Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Try something different: a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

If you're like me, you may not be too familiar with the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC, although it is the leading appellation in The Marche, a region of gentle rolling hills in Central Italy located between the Adriatic and the Apennines mountains.

Verdicchio is a white grape variety of ancient origin and has been cultivated in the Marches region since the 1300s. The name comes from the word verde, which means green, due to its slightly green-yellow color. We recently tried a 2006 Bucci Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico. The wine had a light yellow color and a fresh nose of sweet apple and pear. On the palate, it was light-bodied, nutty, with mineral notes on the finish. In short, the perfect summer sipper. Try it with a plate of Spaghetti alle Vongole and imagine you're in one of these seaside resorts on the Adriatic coast.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Winemaking step #10: bottling

Last week was the last step of our winemaking journey: bottling. We first had to decide that our Inkgrade Cabernet was ready: dark purple color — actually noir d'encre, or black as ink, like the name on the label —, impressive nose of currants and blackberries, definitively tannic on the palate, some good acidity, long finish. “That's obviously a wine that is going to age well” acknowledged Crushpad winemaker Camille Benitah who was tasting the final version of the wine with us.

Then we moved to the bottling area where cases of double magnums were waiting for us. Yes, my friend Rick wanted most of his share of the barrel in double magnums! “Double magnums are great for aging,” he explained, “and what a treat when you open one in front of your guests!” (if you have any doubts about large size bottles, read this piece). The only problem was that these bottles were too big for the bottling equipment therefore filing and corking had to be done by hand. This process was rather time consuming and unfortunately, we had to leave before the end.

Bottling equipment for standard size bottles and magnums only

Filling the double magnums

Inserting a wine cork

We are now moving into the next stage: resting and aging. I foresee that this one will last for a while.

Related posts:
•  Winemaking step #9: fining
•  Winemaking step #8: blending
•  Winemaking step #7: barrel tasting
•  Winemaking step #6: after the malolactic fermentation
•  Winemaking step #5: pressing the wine
•  Winemaking step #4: getting ready for the pressing
•  Winemaking step #3: monitoring the fermentation
•  Winemaking step #2: inoculation of the must
•  Crushing at Crushpad
•  2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Ink Grade Vineyard Howell Mountain

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

WBW #47: A Spicerack Sonoma Syrah Brought To You By The Letter S

This is the July edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday and it has been brought to us by Erin and Michelle of the Grape Juice blog. And this time, we've been asked to be a kid again, to regress a little bit into our childhood, and think outside the box! So today's wine has been brought to you by the letter S.

No, I am not Silly and here is my S wine: the 2006 Spicerack Punchdown Syrah Sonoma Coast. Spicerack is a project from Marin winemakers Jonathan and Susan Pey of Scenic Root Winegrowers. The wine comes from two low-yielding, Sustainable farmed, cool climate vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation. The name reflects the many times the cap was punched down during fermentation. After that, only neutral oak barrels were used for aging.

The wine has a Serious dark color and a Spicy, peppery nose of Sweet fruit. With a reasonable level of alcohol (13.2%), the palate is Super Smooth with a Somewhat Solid Structure. Smoky, I wouldn't say, rather Savory, perfect anyway with Some Spiced Lamb Chops With Cucumber-Mint Sauce.

Previous WBW posts:
•  WBW #45: Old World Riesling, awesome!
•  WBW #44: can Chinon wines age?
•  WBW #43: 2004 Chinon Domaine de la Noblaie Les Chiens-Chiens, a comfort wine

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Michael Broadbent and the Dance of the Seven Veils

I wish I could write as eloquently as Michael Broadbent, the British wine critic. Take his latest contribution to Decanter magazine in the July issue where he writes about a 1985 Lafite tasted at a recent dinner. His style is simply inimitable:

“Initially unassuming but beautifully balanced, surprisingly deep, though not too New World deep, its bouquet unfurled. On the palate too, like the Dance of the Seven Veils, layers of flavour were revealed, finally reaching perfection. Modestly titillating but not erotic.”

I just love his regular column in Decanter. It's usually the first piece that I read as soon as I receive the magazine and now I can't wait for the August issue. By the way, I also wished I was there when he tasted that 1985 Lafitte.

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