Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wines I'm Making: The Critters Are at it again (September 8, 2011)

I had hoped this year to completely foil the critters (probably raccoons--although I've never been able to catch anyone in the act), but I looked at the grapes this morning and found about 25 clusters of Sangiovese mostly stripped of grapes and the Cabernet disturbed in a few places as well. It's so discouraging.....

That said, it's my own fault. While I netted the grapes a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't finished completely securing all the possible entry points, particularly at the top of the vines, and I hadn't yet turned on the electric fence. Needless to say, I'll be doing both today, securing things (I hope) before nightfall.

I checked some of the fallen grapes with my refractometer. They tested between 15.5 and 17 brix. I aim to harvest at about 24.5 brix, so we still have about a month to go, I'm guessing, but the grapes are (obviously) already ripe enough to attract animals. Past experience has taught me that about 14 brix is sweet enough for a raccoon to find a grape attractive.

Looking back at old posts about the ongoing fight with the various animals that want my grapes as much as I do, I see that I've put the nets on as early as August 12th in the past. I think I need a new rule--ALWAYS get the electric fence on and the nets secure (including the top nets that cover the seam in the nets that run lengthwise along the rows) by August 1. That way (one hopes) all access is denied long before the animals have any reason to pay attention to the fruit. I'll try it next year. The problem with winemaking is that you do it all only once a year. It's easy to forget from year to year what works and what doesn't.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wines I'm Drinking: 2007 Wellington Vineyards Sonoma Valley Grenache

Another beautiful wine from Wellington. Today I opened my last bottle of the 2007 Wellington Vineyards Sonoma Valley Grenache. It was tasty when new but it's even more delicious now, having gained a certain gravitas it lacked when younger. Brief tasting notes follow.

The wine is a deep purple-red, but beginning to show a little age. It doesn't look like an old wine, but it no longer has the inky, bright purple hue of youth either. Redolent of licorice and roasted meat on the nose (somehow pork spareribs came to mind) with hints of black cherries and other dark fruits. Nicely poised on the palate. The wine is silky and soft, but remains vibrant, with good tannins and a lively acidity followed by a core of sweet, black cherry fruit interlaced with licorice and meaty flavors. The long, delicate finish is characterized mostly by the slightly bitter licorice flavors, but these are embraced in the arms of the sweet black cherry in an extended, balanced dance. Delicious. Forgive me for repeating myself, but Wellington is one of my favorite wine producers in Sonoma County. I love this winery for its dedication to quality and its ongoing willingness to price its wines reasonably--for the sort of people (like me) that drink wine everyday. Affordable bliss.

I have no financial connection with any producer or retailer of wine. 

For more wine reviews, use the Wines I'm Drinking label.
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