Natural Mexican Wine

Natural Wine

By Catherine | On Oct 1, 2017 | No Comments

One of my favorite new wine shops/wine bars in the Los Angeles area is Stanley’s Wet Goods in Culver City.  Last week, I attended a class on the topic of Natural Wine. There is much disagreement about what constitutes “natural ” wine, but in general, the following characteristics apply: – Grapes grown using sustainable, organic, or biodynamic techniques (see my…

Cube wines

The Cube Project

By Catherine | On Jul 30, 2017 | No Comments

The Cube Project was conceived in 2010 by winemaker Thomas Houseman of Anne Amie Vineyards in Carlton, Oregon, Andrew Brooks of Bouchaine in Napa’s Carneros region, and Leslie Mead Renaud from Lincourt Vineyards in Solvang, California. Each participant chose a single block of Pommard Pinot Noir (Pommard was chosen in order to help control variables between the sites) and sent the…

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Oregon Weather and Vintages – It’s Complicated

By Catherine | On Jul 19, 2015 | No Comments

Because of my passion for Oregon Pinot Noir and many friends in that region, I keep an eye on the weather.  During summer visits in 2012 and 2014, I experienced heat waves with temperatures that I didn’t think were common in the Northwest. Oregon averages about a dozen days of 90° or higher per year.  However, the past three years…

Mira Mural

Mira Winery’s Aqua Aging Experiments Continue

By Catherine | On Dec 1, 2014 | 1 Comment

In February of 2013, I posted an article about Mira Winery and its experiment with aging wine in the ocean–which happened to be right here in Charleston Harbor.  Those first cases of Cabernet Sauvignon were retrieved in May 2013 with excellent results.  The wine tasted like it was two years into the aging process, not a mere three months.  A…

Oregon Pinot Noir - Note the Color Difference from those in CA

Sass Winery

By Catherine | On Aug 1, 2014 | No Comments

I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry Sass, owner and winemaker for Sass Winery, about two years ago here in Charleston at a wine pairing dinner. When plans for my trip West were firming up, I emailed Jerry and asked it if would be possible to stop by, as he isn’t open to the public and I wanted to be…

Ocean Wine Aging

Aqua Aging?

By Catherine | On Feb 28, 2013 | No Comments

An unusual experiment is taking place right here in Charleston Harbor.  Mira Winery of Napa Valley, CA, submerged four cases of 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon to test the effects of “ocean aging.”  The bottles were treated with additional wax seals and placed in specially designed steel mesh cages that allow the water to circulate around the bottles. The wines are in…

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Day Three – Field Trip to WillaKenzie Estates

By Catherine | On Aug 20, 2012 | 2 Comments

Friday got off to a fast start with an Argentine Food and Wine pairing brunch at 10:00 a.m. I wasn’t hungry and I wasn’t ready to drink, but neither of those factors were relevant. My favorite pairing was a Beef Empanada with Raisin Balsamic, Kalamata Olives, and Red Pepper Puree with Bodega Catena Zapata Alta Malbec 2009. The spice and…

Guadalupe Vineyard

Oregon Wine Country – Redux

By Catherine | On Oct 30, 2011 | No Comments

I’ve been home for close to two weeks – how can that be?  I miss the winery and the friends I made while visiting.  The 2011 harvest started in earnest mere days after my departure and I hope to be able to get some updates on how it is progressing. In summary of what I observed and learned during my visit, I now understand what…

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Ken Wright Cellars – Fifth and Last Day in Oregon Wine Country

By Catherine | On Oct 19, 2011 | No Comments

6:15 a.m. alarm.  Seth Miller, one of the vineyard managers picked me up at 7:00.  It was a dry and cool morning, perfect for the task ahead.  Tanager is owned by Ken’s brother and sister-in-law so this was a special morning for them-the first harvest of their new vineyard.  It typically takes at least 3 years for a new vineyard to…

My Punch Down skills

Ken Wright Cellars: Day Two

By Catherine | On Oct 14, 2011 | 1 Comment

Being here before harvest has its advantages. I am having the opportunity to perform a number of tasks that would not be possible with all hands on the sorting line. Today I learned about punching down. Currently there are 14 enormous vats of Syrah grapes fermenting.  Each vat holds approximately 1 1/2 tons of grapes.  KWC is fortunate to have…


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