Archive for April, 2007

May the 2005 rest in peace

peugeotbottling_apr28.jpgLast Saturday afternoon and evening, we bottled the last of the 2005 Le Peugeot. It was our first experiment with extended aging, and I think I speak for everyone that it sure tasted successful.

The final stats: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. Approx 13.9% alcohol. 18 months from fermentation to bottling. While the Peug’ only saw a few months of 2-year old French oak (the rest essentially neutral), the wine had exceptional structure all the way through the taste.

And that fragrance: it’s like some summer afternoon, and you’re wandering along some dirt road with lazy grass rocking in the soft breeze to one side; a complicated bramble of raspberry canes backing up against a forest to the right. The sun passes out of the clouds, and suddenly everything heats up, squeezing the scent out of everything around you — especially the raspberries, since you’re within scratching distance of them. But just as it begins to envelop you, the sun slips behind a cloud, and the chill of the forest is sucked out by the heat of the road like a vacuum, through the raspberries, wafting warm – yet somehow cool – fruit over you like perfume.

Mmmmmm. Is bottle shock over yet?

More photos below the fold …
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That’s Vegas, Baby

Aureole wine towerJust got back from NAB in Las Vegas, where even a glass of Three-Buck Chuck rings in at double digits. That makes it tough to soak up a lot of wine in Vegas, but since everything else is stratospheric (like the $23 Kobe beef burger I had the first night), the price per glass simply disappeared into the overall din. Funny how quickly $12 vodka martinis can become prudent, cost-effective investments.

Or maybe not. In fact, I dimly recall that it was after our second round of these a little before 4 in the morning that we decided we couldn’t leave Las Vegas without paying our respects at one of the seven wonders of the wine world, the glass tower of wine at Aureole. After all, think how expensive it would be to fly back later just to go to this restaurant — why, only a fool would do that. No, we were way too smart. We’d go there immediately, saving buckets of cash.

Another example of the delusional logic Vegas is famous for inspiring? You bet. But this time, the gamble paid off … Read more

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Budbreak and beyond

Budbreak happened outside the Garagistes lair somewhere around April Fool’s day – fitting, considering how inevitably these vines succumb to powdery mildew. My plan this year is to hit it early and often with Kaligreen, an organic fungicide that takes no prisoners, so with luck, maybe I’ll get a few pounds of fruit off the vines come October.

Budbreak in Southeast Portland usually seems to be about 10 days ahead of real vineyards closer to the Coast Range (the Dundee Hills in particular). John Paul of Cameron Winery wrote the other day that

Bud break is in full swing and the nebbiolo started a couple of weeks ago just ahead of the significant frost out there weekend before last

… so it looks like the 10 day rule still holds, at least this year.

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Dandelion Wine

A dandelionFirst attempt failed because soaking the flowers at room temperature for more than a week makes the liquor go off. Second batch soaked in the fridge. Ferment has begun. It smells a little like artichoke. In case you were wondering, dandelion wine is a flavored sugar ferment with some added lemon juice. I presume the latter is for acidity. I have not make it before, or even tasted some, but it seems like it could end up tasting like a thin gewurztraminer.

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Racking postponed

FYI, everyone, turns out I’ll be at NAB for the for the next scheduled racking, which was to have been April 18th. Here’s who was going to attend:


Can you guys make it the following weekend (the 21st?)?

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Switching to beer

I have just now gotten around to seeing Mondovino, and I’m livid. This is not a political site, but if any of my fellow Garagistes ever suggests a joint venture with the Mondavis, I will personally blow up this blog.Also: is it a cheap shot to point out that you can’t spell ‘James Suckling’ without ‘suck’?

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