We made it to veraison this weekend for our chardonnay and tempranillo. This photo was taken Friday afternoon in the tempranillo in D block.
I thought I would explain “veraison” for this blog post.
Veraison is the division of the two distinct phases of grape growth. In the first phase, cell division and expansion occur. The berries contain all the natural acids (tartaric, malic, citric,…etc) by the end of this phase. Tartaric is produced early on and malic at the end of phase 1. In the second phase, sugars start accumulating and malic acid starts degrading. Cell divisions stops, cell growth accelerates, berries soften and color up. Canes harden off or lignify, and we see some leaf senescence lower on the cane. Chlorophyll is broken down while anthocyanins (black grapes) and carotenoids (green grapes) are formed. Also, pyrazines (herbaceous characters) are degraded and fruity flavors accumulated and/or enhanced.
Whew!, too much chemistry for most people but that is the story. All in all, our vineyards look terrific, only 2 more blocks to hedge and mow and maybe a little color thinning if needed.
Until next time…
2009 Matchbook Tempranillo was the featured wine in the June 1 edition of the Detroit News:
ON THE SHELF: MATCHBOOK TEMPRANILLO
Tempranillo is Spain’s noble grape. But grow it in California? John and Lane Giguiere pioneered winemaking in the Dunnigan Hills 30 miles east of Napa and found the Mediterranean climate with 40-degree day to night temperature swings worked well for this grape variety. The varietal is the focus of their Matcbook wines. The 2009 Matchbook Tempranillo, $15, delivers a punch of bright blueberries, cherries, and spicy pepper, capped off with brown cooking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg) and cocoa powder. It’s Tempranillo powered by the California sun. A portion of the wine was fermented on natural yeasts, which showcases the fruit. The Tempranillo was enhanced with dabs of Graciano and Cabernet Sauvignon for depth and richness. It’s a nice summer wine — not too heavy but well-flavored and constructed.
On June 5, the entire world will be out Chasing Venus.
Those who have read the back label of our Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc know the story of Captain James Cook’s secret voyage to claim the Southern Continent for the Queen of England, and the public political spin that he was out Chasing Venus. There was actual truth to that spin. What he was chasing was the Transit of Venus, an astrological phenomenon that occurs eight years apart then not again for more than a century.
Every 120 years or so Venus passes directly between the earth and sun and can be seen as a tiny speck slowly gliding across our brightest star. The last time the sun and planets aligned in this way was in 2004. The next alignment will be Tuesday, June 5, 2012, then not again until 2117. Safe to say, we won’t have a chance to see the Transit of Venus again in our lifetime.
That dot floating across the sun may be tiny, but it has had huge historical significance. Scientists have been chasing Venus for centuries as a method of measuring the size of the universe. Although there is evidence that the Mayans knew of this nano eclipse, no one could actually see it until the telescope was invented. After the first observation of the Transit of Venus in 1639, Kings and Queens began to dispatch expeditions each century to various parts of the world to make the mathematical calculations that would expand our knowledge of outer space, including Captain Cook’s in 1769. These days there is no need for us to chase Venus across the high seas or even ruin our eyes gazing at the setting sun; it may come as no surprise that a free Venus Transit phone app is now available courtesy of Astronomers without Borders.
The evening of June 5, 2012, will be our once-in-a-lifetime chance to follow the centuries old tradition of chasing Venus. But we can do it in 21st century style by grabbing our smart phone, our favorite lounge chair and a nice chilled glass of Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc.
2011 Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc is listed as a Top Value, New Zealand White in the Wine Spectator on line. The review is also featured in the June 2012 issue of Wine Spectator:
“Chasing Venus Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2011 $16 — Tangerine, apricot and peach flavors are at the forefront, as this white features a good mix of ripe flavors and an intense juiciness. Touches of green apple and herbal tea come in on the finish. Drink now. 7,200 cases made.”
The Palate Press recommends our 2009 Matchbook Syrah in the online post on April 11, 2012:
Dunnigan Hills Syrah
April 11, 2012 by Becky Sue Epstein
Five clones of estate-grown syrah are blended together to produce a wine full of nice, tarry fruit. Balanced by good acidity, this wine is hearty from nose through palate to finish. Yet it has a touch of florals throughout as well, which add both a hint of delicacy and another layer of complexity to the earthiness of this still-young wine. Pairs well with roasted meat and fried onion strings. Recommended. BSE.
WHAT: 91% syrah, 9% cabernet sauvignon
WHERE: Dunnigan Hills, California
HOW MUCH: about $16