Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wine Update

Karl and I spent the weekend tasting through our four wine lots from the 2007 vintage. The wines have been racked (removed from their sediment) for the first time since being in barrel and now we can start to get a clearer idea of how the wines will taste when they go to bottle in about 15 months.

This is, of course, only a snap-shot of Vellum 2007. The wine has only been in oak for a month and there is much more structure and influence to be imparted by the barrels over the course of the following year.

You'll see from the photos that we did this in a very focused atmosphere - Karl even went so far as to wear his "smell catcher" hooded sweatshirt.

And I must admit, hoods and brimmed hats do make a difference when searching for very faint components in the wine's aroma.

So let's start with the most aromatic of our lots - the Petit Verdot. PV is typically a very deeply colored wine, used in blending to make a wine opaque and inky. Our PV is truly deep and rich in color, but it was the one lot out of the four that made us actually try to get our whole head inside our glasses. The nose on this wine is like a creation of Willy Wonka himself! (But we guarantee that no one will turn into a blueberry after trying it.) Imagine this - a freshly baked cheesecake with a thick graham cracker crust made with brown sugar and butter, covered with a blueberry compote. That's what our PV smells like! Wowee!!

We followed the PV with a sampling of the Merlot lot. In previous posts you may remember that we described the Merlot as dense, UNmerlot-like and concentrated. This lot continues to impress in so many ways! It is a tightly wound wine with dark fruit components and very fine velvety tannins. The nose has lots of spice with faint hints of sandalwood and incense. The Merlot and the PV will be blended in with our Cabernet lots to provide aromatic components that will tie everything together. The first thing you will notice when drinking Vellum 2007 will be the nose, largely influenced by the Merlot and PV.

But don't let our zeal fool you - Vellum is a Cabernet Sauvignon first and foremost! And our smaller of the two Cabernet lots, what I call Cab 8, is absolutely stunning. It is by definition a true Napa Cabernet. Rich, ripe, opulent. It brims with dark fruits on the nose and after sitting open for a few hours - it unveils a perfume of sweet floral characters. Karl and I remarked that we could bottle this lot on its own and have a fabulously successful wine. On its own, it is truly wonderful.

But we plan to combine it with our final lot of Cabernet Sauvignon in what we hope will be a magnificent example of Napa's diversity as a winegrowing region. This Cab lot tastes like a French Cab - superbly balanced, moderate alcohol level, tannins that caress and envelop the tongue (rather than grate against it) - and if there was one word that best described this wine it would be - SENSUAL. Yes, I can't believe I am actually typing the word. But it is sensual. It is seductive. It is elegant.

Needless to say - We love it.

Anyway, Karl and I are very pleased with the results and we will do our best to keep you posted along the way.



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