First and foremost on the agenda of any of my Napa trips is to take care of anything that has to do with our wine business…such as meeting with our vendors, winemakers, etc. At the top of this trip’s agenda was blending new wines. I was really excited about this trip as we were blending four new wines. This is the most wines I have ever done on a Napa trip.
As I have mentioned before, we are currently working with three very talented winemakers: Kent Humphrey of Eric Kent Wine Cellars, Sean Larkin of Larkin Wines and Bruce Devlin of Three Clicks Wines. We now make six different wines, five under the Glenwood Cellars label and our Tiedemann Signature Series Red Wine.
Blending with Kent
On Monday morning of my Napa trip I was scheduled to meet up with Kent in Santa Rosa at the Custom Crush facility: Punchdown Cellars. This is a large wine-making facility where 32 different wineries produce their various wines. It is fun to see all of the equipment and the barrel rooms where the wine barrels are stacked from the floor to the ceiling. With that many wineries there is always activity in some part of the building. It is quite a place.
As I have mentioned in a previous article, on this trip I had the pleasure of meeting Kent’s new assistant winemaker, Hanna Chort. She is a talented winemaker with an interesting background. Hanna is a classical pianist, worked in the fast-paced world of dining and after all that became a winemaker. She was a helpful third opinion in our blending process. I am excited about the three new wines we blended which will be released in the next six months. Here is some information on those wines:
2015 Glenwood Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
This wine is a blend of two different Sauvignon Blancs from a vineyard on the eastern side of Sonoma Mountain. It is 75% Clone 1 and 25% Sauvignon Musqué. Musqué is a French term which is applied to certain clones of grapes. The term means both perfumed (“musky”) and Muscat-like and indicates the clone is highly aromatic. It is most common in Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Gewürztraminer grape clones. All this is according to Wikipedia — one of my favorite go-to sources for information. The wine is now in stainless steel tanks waiting to be bottled.
2014 Glenwood Cellars Pinot Noir
Our 2014 Pinot Noir is a blend of three different vineyards and four different wines. 85.5% of the blend comes from two producers in the Carneros region. Carneros is the area located between the Napa and Sonoma valleys. Carneros is known for producing some of the finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines in the region. The remaining 14.5 % comes from two different sections (9.5% from one and 5% from another) of the third vineyard. The wines have been in oak barrels for 18 months with approximately 35% of these barrels being new French Oak. The newer the oak the more oakiness the wine will have. The real trick is to get the right amount of oak flavor in the taste of the wine. Our 2013 vintage received a 91 point score from Wine Enthusiast…time will tell how we did on the 2014.
2014 Glenwood Cellars Chardonnay
This vintage of our Chardonnay is a blend of three different producers in Sonoma Carneros (Sonoma Coast AVA) and the Russian River Valley. The wines were in oak barrels for 18 months and approximately 20% were new French Oak barrels.
As of this article, all of the wines are blended and awaiting bottling. Originally bottling was to be next week (on the 28th of April). However, due to some issues with our labels, bottling has been rescheduled. It can be frustrating trying to solve problems when you are so far away from Napa.
2015 Glenwood Cellars “Adler’s Blend” Red Wine
I explained this new red wine in my article March Napa Trip, Part 2 so I will not bore you with all the details again. What I will mention again is that this wine is an exciting new blend of 50% Zinfandel, 30% Petite Sirah and 20% Lagrein.
It will be blended shortly (in the next 3 weeks, I hope) and placed in oak barrels and allowed to age for a year or so. I would guess we will bottle the wine sometime next May or June. The wine will then need to age in the glass bottle for another four to six months before it is released, which I hope is late 2017. We will taste it along the way to see how it is doing.
Every time I get to do one of these blending sessions (which is once or twice a year), I learn a lot about the characteristics of wine and the art of winemaking. I don’t think I could ever be a winemaker (although it would be great), but doing what I am doing is, perhaps, the next best thing.
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Until next week,