We just got back from the Winemakers Magazine wine making conference.
Four wonderful days in Napa – and lots of great information on viticulture and wine making. Plus lots of tasting-not just Napa wines but wines from all over. 4,474 entries in this year’s competition.
The highlight is the Friday night wine swap where all of us Winemakers bring our wines and share them with the other 500 attendees. Tons of great amateur wine out there from all over the place. Habanera wine? It was there. Ice wine? Ditto.
Great people and great wines made for a great time. If you are an amateur wine maker this is the conference to be at. Next year it will be in the Columbia gorge area.
We got a gold medal for our Castaic “Scorched Earth” 2007 Syrah and another gold for our Red Mountain Cabernet. Our Pinot Grigio and Gruner got a Silver and Bronze respectively.
We met some local wine maker/growers from Castaic and Antelope Valley there too. (If you happen to be in the Sonoma Coast area and want a wonderful dining experience try Nick’s Cove-Great food, service and location.)
Tonight we sampled our 08 Castaic Colombard and it is a remarkably powerful white wine. Pale gold in color with grass and melon on the nose. Great balance with citrus (orange blossoms?) and tropical nuances, incredible mouth feel and a fruity, crisp, lingering finish. WOW! I am calling the nursery and ordering more of these vines tomorrow.
Also sampled the 08 Malvasia Bianca-golden color, light apricot on the nose with grapefruit, pineapple, honey and coconut in the mouth. Nice balance of fruit and acid, good mouth feel, silky. Santa Clarita is showing the potential to be a great wine making area! Give us a jingle some time and we can try the Syrah and Cab and whatever. Hope all is well,
Susie and Kerry-Two Hearts Estate, Castaic, CA.
Blush wines have been making a comeback for some time and they’re better than ever! Gone are the days of super-sweet pink wines that we remember from the “white zin” days. Now blush wines are off-dry and are being made from some really interesting grapes. Ever seen a blush Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Malbec or Pinot Noir? They DO exist and they’re great Summer wines! They’re light and crisp, go with lots of different foods and even manage to satisfy the most discriminating wine drinkers.
Since all blush wines come from red grapes, you might be wondering how wine-makers achieve that gorgeous rose color. The answer lies in the maceration process. Much of a wine’s character comes from the grape skins, not the juice as many people believe. To lighten things up, wine-makers simply remove the grape skins earlier than they would if they were making a full-bodied, red wine. Removing the skins after a few hours [or days] creates a wine that’s light, refreshing and perfect for Summer!
At Wine 661, I serve a blush Tempranillo by the glass and it’s a huge hit! I also carry an inexpensive blush Grenache from Spain (or Garnacha as they call it in Spain) and I can hardly keep it on the shelves. At a mere $19.99 per bottle, it’s a steal! I have a blush Pinot Noir from the Coppola family of wines and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Pale pink, fruity but not sweet, lots of character and it comes in a stunning bottle!
If you haven’t tried any blush or rose wines in the past few years, give them another shot! They have a long way to go to repair the damage that “white zin” did to blush wines but if you’re adventurous enough to revisit them, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing wine experience!
24268 Valencia Blvd.
Valencia, CA 91355
Follow this link for over 30 minutes of video showing the highlights of whats to come:
My childhood favorite is gone. Pop singer Michael Jackson died earlier today due to cardiac arrest.
OK, so this article had NOTHING to do with motorsports, or the fact that, believe it or not, SpeedFreaks is celebrating our 9th Anniversary today… but it has been therapeutic to say the least, for me to say goodbye to someone who meant a lot to me, my lifestyle, my foray onto the stage and more. Thank you Michael Jackson… may you rest in peace!
Email me: CrashG@SpeedFreaks.TV
BTW, some of you have Twittered and emailed me asking about my favorite Michael Jackson songs… well, here you go:
Corry De Robertis, seemingly plucked from the dairies of his ancestor’s home in Italy, walked in to a room of wine makers with: Goat Balls.
Corry happens to be a home cheese maker. Not satisfied with kits, he found them as a jump – start to an interest not unlike the winemakers surrounding him in palatable interest. Corry had found a way to express his need to make something with his hands in a way wine makers, and non-wine makers, could appreciate.
Like having wine with winemakers or beer in a beer garden, having fresh homemade cheese was a treat no one was prepared for. Surprising, delicate, attractive and incredibly flavorful.
“I brought Sauvignon Blanc because it pairs well with goat cheese and it also would cleanse our palate so we could accurately taste the Zin later. My goat cheeses tend to lay on the palate for several minutes or more. The high acidity breaks through and cleanses away the “goaty” flavor.”
Corry is considering a cheese making party as one of his cheeses, the mozzarella, takes only 30 minutes to set up. But for the purists, that know they can’t buy these cheeses anywhere and don’t know Corry’s address, here is a sampling of the talent Corry shared with us:Cheese making is my passion (I absolutely love wine too!). Similar to wine, cheese is an expression of the land and climate (terrior). For me, the terrior changes week by week. I am at the mercy of the ever-changing local milk supply at the market.
In the last couple years, the milk supply in the U.S. has been over pasteurized (heated to extreme temperatures so it lasts longer), making home cheese making a bit of a challenge.
I might have a “connection” to some farm fresh milk! Senior Hernandez, where are you? In the meantime, I use the milk available to me. (editor’s note: To learn more about Senior Hernandez’s cheese connection try starting here: http://www.dairygoatjournal.com/issues/86/86-1/Tim_King.html)
I love spending time in my kitchen creating new cheeses. Each one with its own personality. Sometimes refreshing, delicate and young like a white wine and other times complex, robust and aged like a full bodied red.
The other cheese was a mold ripened goat cheese. I brought 2 styles. One was ripened with white Penicillin mold. (The same mold that forms the rind on Brie.) The mold softens the cheese and imparts earthy flavors. I formed some into small “goatballs” and the others into 3 inch wheels. The second style I used white mold and then brushed vegetable ash on them before the mold developed. This adds another flavor component and looks kind of cool like a geode stone when sliced. They are similar to a cheese from Indiana called the “Wabash Cannonball”.
Like with all cheeses the aging process AKA “afinage” is where it gets tricky. This requires daily flipping and monitoring humidity to ensure mold growth. This year I am focusing on rind development. There are so many possibilities. I might even try a wine soaked cheese.
Fresh bread, a piece of cheese and a glass of wine with my wife and friends …. Is there anything better? I don’t think so.
My wine epiphany came in 1994. I came from a very poor background and wine or good food was never in the picture. Perhaps my grandmother would open a cheap sweet German Liebframilch. Blech! That was all we knew. One day I just woke up thinking I needed to educate myself about wine. I had my first job, a bit of money, I was looking for a house, had purchased my first new car, and so on…..I had educated myself on music, literature, some fine arts, and this seemed like the next step.
When I moved to the U.S. I actually stopped drinking wine for five years. In the UK there are lots of good guides in book form, and the papers and reviewers point you in the right direction. And then the good stores would have regular tastings so it was easy to keep abreast. The US was totally different.
My return to wine, and my current passion, began at a food show which featured a Riedel seminar. I was skeptical but my ex dragged me along. I was like Paul on the road to Damascus. I realized glassware made all the difference! And a light went off.