2006 Peugeot sighting

Last night — purely in the interest of science, you understand — Garagiste Mike opened a bottle of the 2006 Peugeot we bottled back in April. While it’s had two months to get its sea legs, it should have been far from ready for active duty; the 05, for example, took about a year after bottling to finally skate about the deck.

The 2006 seems generally on the same trajectory, but we were both surprised at how far it’s come along. After a half hour to catch its breath in a decanter, the Peug tasted rich and full, with great depth of fruit, hint of chocolate, and a generous, luxurious feel in the mouth. And the fragrance: holy olfactory! A backdraft of pure, ripe fruit that’s totally disarming.

It was still on the hard side, though — more laser-cut steel than sanded wood — and by the time we got to the finish, it was already a few miles into Mexico and out of our jurisdiction. While there’s no guarantee it will slip back into the country some day, I think all that flavor and fragrance suggest there’s a good chance it’ll do just that.

Any one else tried it since bottling?

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Garagistes take to the airwaves

Garagistes first wine, shot by Tim LaBarge

In our relentless quest to compromise each of the five senses, the Garagistes have now ticked off one more: sound. Our vast, if subterranean efforts have been highlighted in a new broadcast/podcast of Destination DIY, Julie Sabatier’s “monthly radio show and podcast about revolutionary do-it-yourself projects.”

Julie actually found us through my Life in Vine site, where I store a passel of articles I’ve written, one of two of which focus on amateur winemaking. So she brought her spiffy digital recorder and photographer Tim LaBarge down the back stairs to take a listen. “This basement has the best sound of any I’ve ever been in,” she said, incredulously — how many wineries can boast that, eh?

Mercifully, the podcast isn’t just about us. In fact, it’s mostly about amateur brewers, one set of which came to a listening party at NE Portland’s Waypost Julie threw together to debut her mix. Affable brewers Nate and Matt passed around one of their batches, and it was incredibly well-made. Hmm: if we get rid of the washer/dryer, we’d have room for a mashtun downstairs…

Here’s the podcast itself, synched with Tim’s great pics, and here’s Julie’s home at KBOO. And be sure to check out Julie’s other podcasts here : she’s definitely a skilled editor and interviewer.

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Putting a cork in 2006

A Case \'o PeugeotSomewhere around 10pm last night, we stretched the last label over the last bottle of 2006 Peugeot, drawing to a close that plucky vintage. It’s kind of like putting the last fin-fold on a paper airplane and then flicking it into space — it could crash, it could sail, but aside from the momentum you put into the construction and the toss, its destiny is now pretty much out of your hands.

Based on what I tasted last night, though, I think it’ll float on the breeze quite elegantly for a while. Into a holding tank, we siphoned half of each of the barrels we’d put the blend into back in the fall, and then added half of the stainless steel container that held the rest of the blend. After bottling that, we siphoned what remained in each of those containers into the tank, bottling until the last dregs dripped through the hose. A pain in the ass, but the idea behind it was that each barrel probably evolved a little differently over the last 7 months, so bottling them one after the other would result in different wines. More critically, the wine stored in the stainless — because it had no further oak exposure after blending — was indeed tighter, so it at least had to be spread around.

We’d never bottled this much wine at one sitting, so while we knew it would be a slog, we didn’t really know how much of one. A few volunteers came early to think through the system, get it set up, and begin the first blend into tank, and then the full complement came a few hours later at 3. While the two blends into tank added to the time, it was, as always, the labeling that took for-effing-ever. We’ve got to figure out a better way to do that. If George hadn’t requested his cases come un-labeled, we might still be sticky with glue.

All in all, though, I think it was worth it. The Peug was remarkably fragrant in the tank, and it laid gracefully in the mouth with lovely ripe fruit, subtle tannin, and a good spine of acidity. Before we added the first portion from the stainless, it tasted round, full, and ready to slide down the gullet; after the tighter product from the stainless, it clenched up again, but it says to me that after a year or so, this one should be exceptionally lovely. That’s borne out by the 2005 Peug, which blossomed about 3 years out.

Mmmmmm… when is 2009 again? Pics from bottling after the break…
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Stratospheric record for Garagiste wines

Garagistes Proffer for Alice AuctionI just got word from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance that the Garagistes package I donated to their Alice Awards fundraising auction pulled in a record haul: $285 smackers!

Contrats to the lucky (and so savvy) bidder — and thanks for supporting the BTA so generously!

Let’s break out the slide rule. In addition to DVDs of Life in Vine, The Real Dirt on Pinot Noir, and Mondo Ego, the package included a temporal panorama of Garagiste flavors:

    2003 Klipsun Cabernet
    2004 Peugeot
    2005 Cabernet Franc
    2005 Peugeot
    2006 Merlot
    2006 Deux-Chevaux

So, let’s stipulate that the DVDs made up $75 of the price ($25 each – what a deal!). That leaves $210 for the six bottles, or $35 each. Since the 6-pack we donated to the Auction last year pulled in $22.50 each, that’s a new world record!

Start screaming in earnest, Screaming Eagle

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Winners and… us

Just back from traveling in California, I learned that sadly, the ultimate prize in the American Wine Blog Awards has eluded us. As emcee Tom Wark put it in announcing the winners, “it was not even close”: Alder Yarrow’s Vinography creamed the competition.

And rightly so. As Tom succinctly notes, “I don’t know a blogger more serious about what he does than Alder.” As I mentioned in a previous post, the guy is tireless — and he actually has a real, and quite demanding job, to boot. We’re lucky to rub the sand out of our eyes and post once a week; he posts with authority and detail pretty much every day. Considering the quantity and quality of what he produces, there’s no question that the award went to the right blog. Congrats, Alder!

But enough about winners; what about us? Is there any way we can slip past the Vinography juggernaut next year? Well, I have a plan: we compete in categories which Alder can’t possibly enter, and therefore win. For example:

  • “Best Overall Wine Blog Produced in a Basement”
  • “Best Use of ‘Ent’ and ‘Van Halen’ in the Same Post”
  • “Best Blog with Worst French Grammar” (see “Les Blog,” for starters)
  • “Best Red Sox Coverage in a Wine Blog”
  • “Most Disgraceful Use of Sex To Sell a Post about Wine Machinery”
  • “Blog most likely to be Sued by a French Car Manufacturer if it is Ever Unwise Enought to Turn Pro”

What, those aren’t real categories? Damn. We’re doomed…

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An idle threat

American Blog Awards voting ends at midnight tonight (March 28th), so if you’ve enjoyed reading our scrappy little blog, please consider throwing a vote toward our quixotic quest for “Best Overall Wine Blog.”

Do it, or we’ll drink this wine. Oh. Okay, do it or we’ll drink this other wine. Uh…

Here’s the ballot. Thanks!

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Citizen Keen

Competition in the American Wine Blog Awards is apparently tight, which leads us to wonder if there’s something we might be missing, something no respectable wine blog should be without, something that says we’re serious about being the go-to URL for all your vinous bloggy needs. Ah, yes. How could we have forgotten?
Why Paul Masson didn’t run these outtakes as the final ad is a mystery; they’re among the most compelling work in Welles’ entire oeuvre.

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