Almost everyone who reads this blog either gets my emailed enological spam, or reads 1-10% of my Facebook posts, which fall into 666 simple categories. So I try to write posts on my blog that are perhaps of more lasting importance than the ephemera I broadcast in those see-em-and-ignore-em manners.
This isn't one of those posts.
THE PARTY IS ONLY ELEVEN DAYS AWAY? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Oh yeah, my private jet to pick you up, and the Zeppelin guest house to say in. Maybe next year?
A friend, an adviser, a man always ready to set foot in a remote vineyard site or dirtbag party venue.
Critics and winemakers get the wolverine's share of the attention in the wine world, but much of the tremendous innovation in viticulture and enology over the last decades has been driven by academics. Emile Peynaud was my first guide to winemaking, and judging with Davis and Fresno professors has been instructive, but Keith answered my text messages - about clones, pests, impromptu concerts, and sadly, his health just a few weeks ago. He died Thursday.
Above photo taken at Swillapalooza, 10/6/07
Young and powerful, more tannic than the large majority of the reds I've made in almost three decades in almost three states, but it smooths down quickly - well, in three days. Really, assuming you've opened the bottle and poured a third or so out. Numerology? Well, no, and notice the NV - some of the swill is from the last harvest, a third or so press wine and thus somewhat more tannic. Did I say young and powerful?
Just moved house from Elvis Island to Easter Island Graceland, not far as the Zeppelin flies, but the new place is in the zone of perpetual surf sound. A lot, lot closer to the beach, so to speak; this is the view from the end of the street, and the end of the street is a hundred feet away. That's the headland above the abalone farm in the distance, the view is to the NW, where the storms come from. Below, view from the front yard:
Here's the latest Pink Zeppelin, the fifth I've made; I've been calling it 'Cranberry Chardonnay' to distinguish its style from my previous swill of similar color. I actually didn't make a pink wine until my 20th harvest (not counting New Mexico wines) in 2003, and only a half-barrel; it was a from a very cool climate Syrah from Aptos, and I ruthlessly chaptalized it to over 15% alcohol. Peppery and powerful, it sadly lasted only six or eight months; happily it was almost all gone by then. The next year I overproduced a Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend that was only about 12% alcohol; it won a pack of gold medals and best of classes in competition, but since I'd made four hundred cases of it at the height of the first Pink Wine Hype in the media and trade, it took over a year to sell out. Fortunately (well, and by design) it was both crisper and more stable, and didn't diminish in quality. I took a few years off, and then made another in the same style, which also did very well in competition. Since I made quite a bit less, it didn't burden my conscience and my warehouse bill quite as much. Last year, the inability of the Grenache at the 'Colossus of Rhones' vineyard to ripen enough to make red wine led me to make a very small lot (68 cases) of Grenache dominated pink that was really amazing, though not repeatable - we grafted the block over to Vermentino and Alicante Bouschet, neither of which will find their way into any plausibly pink wine in the future. So I have returned to the mass-market model (ha) by making this wine, 102 cases of Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache /Cinsault, which is both darker and rounder than all but the first wine. It's pretty sexy, you should have some. Actually, I'll have some right now.
Cayucos, California yesterday morning: Alexis is holding her hat in the near-gale and desperately trying to ignore the fact that the old wooden pier is swaying, Joe is enjoying a last puff before jumping off the pier to surf back in. I've got my eye on the bar on the second floor of the reddish-brown building just above and to the right of her hat.
Join me after the first of the year, and said bar (Schooner's Wharf) will offering both the Red Zeppelin Syrah and the Chateau d'Abalone Verdejo by the glass.