Friday, February 20, 2009

The 2007 Vellum Label

This morning I finalized our label printing with a visit to the press room at our vendor's facility in Napa.

Next week Karl and I will make a final inspection of the cork bales to be branded with the Vellum name.

Our other packaging materials are coming together nicely, with only a few hiccups so far.

On another note, we are planning Vellum Release Parties in May. Please save the dates and join us !!

May 3rd, Sunday, 2-5pm (Napa/Sonoma, CA)
May 17th, Sunday, 2-5pm (Fullerton, CA)
June TBD (San Francisco, CA)
June TBD (San Diego, CA)

(More detail to follow...)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A quick look at an etched 3-Liter bottle

We are in the process of prepping our large format bottles for the March bottling.

Here is a sample 3-Liter bottle that our etcher produced with the full Vellum label.

The glass is sand-blasted to create the etching - and then the artwork is carefully painted by hand.

We will have (8) 3-Liter and (4) 6-Liter bottles produced for archival library purposes.

- Jeff Mathy

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Vellum 2007 Cabernet - Final racking

Hello Everyone,

The 2007 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon went through its final "racking" today, meaning that the wine barrels were cleaned one last time before our bottling on March 16th.

Karl and I took a moment to taste the wine while it waited patiently in tank.

After taking a few sips and a sample back to the lab, I called my parents to share my elation about the wine.

We are so excited to share this wine with all of you! I know I keep saying that sentence...but we cannot express our eagerness enough!

Many of you, friends and family alike, have been following along with us throughout this adventure. And now, after five years of planning and two years in business -- we are poised to release the fruits of our hard labor.

Karl and I have built this business with the future in mind. It is humbling now, to close my eyes and think into the future...imagining what it will be like to look back on 10, 20 or even 40 vintages of Vellum wine.

Along the way we have overcome many pitfalls - and celebrated many small successes.

But now, with only weeks to go before bottling and months to go before release...I think I can safely say that making this first Vellum Cabernet has been the hardest task of my life.

And I can't wait to do it over and over again !!

The 2007 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon is truly a wine worthy of Vellum's premier entry into the wide-world of winemaking.

Thank you again to all of our friends and family for their love and support along the way,

- Jeff Mathy

Monday, February 9, 2009

2007 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon is ready.

Hello All,

Today Karl and I were at the winery pulling a sample of our 2007 vintage. The wine has been in barrel for almost 15 months now...and it still has about one month to go. Ample time in new French oak barrels has been well-spent. The wine has developed a great deal of structure from the oak.

While we filled our sample bottle, I sneaked a quick sip from a barrel. All I can say is...I can't wait to share this wine with all of you. It is such a wonderful representation of what Napa Valley is capable of producing.

For those of you who like red wine with dinner - this is going to be perfect with everything from grilled steaks to veggie lasagna to spicy chili. And for those of you who like to dissect a wine over a plate of stinky cheese - you will enjoy its restrained oak, balanced acidity and alcohol, concentrated fruit flavors and spices that erupt out of the glass and float harmoniously on the palate. I could go on and on about how much the 2007 Vellum delivers.

We hope you love this wine as much as we do!

More to come soon as we get closer to bottling the 2007 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon...

- Jeff Mathy


Sunday, February 1, 2009

A first look at the 2008 vintage.

Hello Wine Lovers!

After two months in new French oak barrels, the 2008 Vellum is ready for its first review and trial blending session. Karl and I were very excited to try these four different wines, all of which will comprise our 2008 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our fruit comes from four rock-star vineyards in Napa - each expressing their own personality and style. Two of the vineyards produce Cabernet Sauvignon and the other two produce small amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot.

Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon closely mirrors wines found in the Bordeaux region of France. Our focus is balance, elegance, bright acidity and moderate alcohol.

The 2008 vintage did not disappoint!

Our Merlot lot is strikingly red in the glass. Bright and polished, with a magenta rim...this wine is very youthful. It has hints of red berries and graphite on the nose. And it tastes just like a young wine should - fresh and fruity with balanced acid. This Merlot will do well with more structure....the oak barrels will add the tannins and concentration to make this a great addition to our blend.

The first Cabernet Sauvignon lot we tasted was from the hills just east of the Napa Valley. The vines are old, mature and giving consistently beautiful fruit-clusters at harvest. And clearly, this Cabernet steals the show. My first impression of the nose was like walking into a candy store. Images of block chocolate and cherry-tootsie-rolls washed over me, then a bit of freshly brewed coffee. After sitting open for a while, the wine took on other scents...of perfume and musk. I could taste dark fruits, balanced alcohol and acidity, with tannins that fell mid-palate (like the 2007s). This Cabernet is a real powerhouse, and yet it remains light and elegant on the palate. The finish is superb...long and mouthwatering.

Next up - our Cabernet Sauvignon from the south end of the Napa Valley. A lower yield this year brought lots of concentration and complexity to the fruit. When I first lifted my glass, even at arms length, I smelled fresh blackberries. After a swirl or two, chocolate covered cherries and cherry tart came wafting out. Absolutely joyous! On the palate, the wine was fatter than the previous Cabernet...but just as youthful. Raspberries and warmly blanketing tannins coated my mouth. The acid kept my mouth watering as I gave this wine plenty of time to open up. It's funny, Karl and I remarked that this wine could easily be sold as a finished wine at this point in its lifespan. But we feel that another year or so of oak aging will add the structure and framework needed to make this a wine for the ages.

Finally, we tasted the Petit Verdot. Wow - what a great nose. This deep, dark, purple wine smelled earthy and funky - in a good way! Dark berries and floral notes penetrated my senses. Violets and roses also came to mind. And a big smile quickly followed. On the palate the wine showed a classic dark cassis flavor. Cassis is usually a Cabernet flavor, but it dominated my tastbuds in this Petit Verdot. The finish was a good length and left me looking for the sample bottle to refill my glass.

Karl and I could not be happier with our 2008 vintage.

The wine is shaping up to be what we think Cabernet Sauvignon ought to be - SERIOUS, BROODING, INTELLECTUAL, and with a STRONG LIFE FORCE.

And yet, the overall balance of these wines creates an elegance that is usually only found in fine Bordeaux.

And if we weren't breaking the Napa mold enough...the 2008 Vellum Cabernet Sauvignon will have an alcohol level around 13.85 !!!!

We can't wait to see how it develops over the next year...

Jeff Mathy