2001 started here on August 14, the earliest in at least 35 years
(i.e. earliest in memory). Grape balance and quality in the early
stages have been excellent.
Our 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1997
Pinot Noir are now available.
The year 1996 was another harvest that came very early. We finished
picking the Cabernet on September 30. The crop was very small
which resulted in deep, rich flavors in the fruit, and thus the
wine. As usual, we blended Cabernet Franc and Merlot into this
Cabernet Sauvignon. The 1996 vintage is 5% Merlot and 12% Cabernet
Franc. These grapes add a breadth and complexity to the final
wine while their similarity to Cabernet Sauvignon maintains a
consistent and harmonious character. This vintage, like all of
our Cabernets, will improve for many years if properly stored,
and should be in its prime in the 2015-2020 time period. It will
be highly enjoyable before then if given an hour or two to breathe
Our 1997 Pinot Noir exhibits great
elegance and balance already. Made 100% from the Pinot Noir grape
and with just a light touch of oak aging barrel character, it
is good company for a very broad range of foods. It complements
virtually all red meat and pasta dishes, is successful with most
chicken dishes, and even matches very well with salmon. This Pinot
Noir will be alive and vigorous until at least 2010.
We are also re-releasing our 1988 Cabernet
Sauvignon and 1994 Chardonnay
at this time. These wines are entering their prime years. The
Chardonnay should remain in peak form for 3 to 5 years and the
Cabernet for 8 to 10, at least.
A recent trip to the Rocky mountains served as a reminder of
the limited availability of wine in various parts of the country.
We didn't die of thirst but the pickings were slim. "Sure
we've got wine, do you want the red, the white or that pink stuff
?", was heard way too often. When asked what kind it was,
the response, "I'll check and see if anybody here knows",
was about the best we heard. Despite huge efforts by many in the
wine trade, much of the country seems to be in the dark ages in
wine selection. State laws are a big part of the problem as the
restrictions in some state are horrendous, truly excluding most
wines. So, when you get the chance, please encourage your fellow
citizens, and your legislators, to talk and work in favor of open
trade for all products, including wine. And, please tell them
that "that pink stuff" is not the proper terminology
for a nice rose`.
A sign on the front of a western building read, "Burgers,
Antiques, Sundaes and Horse Manure." Probably not a good
candidate for a wine outlet but maybe better than the one that
read; "Aunt Tigues and Uncle Junque." Old wine is not
called "antique", but maybe it should be. They both
get better with age. And, even though I'm improving with age too,
of course, I do hope nobody starts calling me "Uncle Junque."