2024 Winter Wine Club Release
The last of the 100 barrels of red wine we produced this last season are packed away in the barrel room under-going the second fermentation process. This stage, known simply as ML, is where we try to convert the sharp tasting malic acid to the softer lactic acid, and I initiate the process by adding a bacteria during the end of primary fermentation while the new wine is still warm. It is good to complete ML before February rolls around, and always I look forward to wrapping it up because after that, the true flavor of the wine starts to emerge and they finally begin to taste good.
Here is a brief run-down of this quarter's selections. I hope you enjoy them.
Several years back, we brought this wine out under the name French Blend. When I tried to expand the line to include a Bordeaux Blend and a Rhone Blend, the agency that approves labels told me I couldn't use proprietary names. In the end, we ended up calling the French Blend "Voila!" The name works because voila is a French word, though more than a few of our customers mis-read it and pronounce it "viola", like the stringed instrument.
You will like this wine if you are a fan of Cabernet Sauvignon because that is the predominant grape (50%). The other components are Cab Franc, Petit Verdot and Syrah, all at 16.6%. I find this wine to have beautiful, dark hues in the glass and a subtle, but pleasing, fragrance. It is a complex and robust wine; rich and flavorful with a firm structure. Soft tannins linger in the finish. It is definitely a wine that complements a meal and if you are inclined to age your wines, this would be a great candidate.
This wine, with its flashy label, has been one of our best sellers for many years. It's made from fully ripened Zinfandel grapes, blended with a touch of Petite Sirah (17%) and aged in new American oak barrels for the duration of the aging period, usually about 18 months. It's a well balanced wine with a medium density presence in the glass and suggestions of ripe cherries and raspberries in the aromas. On my tongue, I find it to be full bodied with intense dark-fruit flavors, and touch of oak that lingers on the finish. If you aren't already, this is a wine that will turn you into a believer in the value of Lodi Zinfandel as a grape.
2021 Tempranillo (3+ Bottle Clubs)
This variety is still outside the mainstream, but as time goes by, it is becoming more and more popular. Festivals such as the Lodi Tour of Tempranillo and associations like TAPAS help get the word out. But out of the 1.6 million or more tons of red wine grapes produced in California, this variety only represents less than .5% of the total, with just 7400 tons produced. It has a long ways to go, but I'm doing my part to spread the word. In fact, this is one of my favorite wines.
I find this vintage to be medium density in terms of color. Its fragrance suggests hints of leather and tobacco. It has good acidity supported by mature tannins, followed by a lingering finish. It's a great food wine and is one of my go-tos when it's time for me to bar-be-que a Thanksgiving turkey.
All three wines retail at $28. Your club price is different depending on your level of membership. If you are so inclined, I recommend you try them out before the end of the month so you can take advantage of the steeper discounts offered on additional purchases.
Thank you for participating in our wine club. Any feedback you might have is always appreciated.
(extra orders of these wines are 30% off through mid February. For shipping orders, reply to this email to get your order of additional bottles at 30% off).
Wine description & write-up by owner/grower/winemaker Tom Hoffman
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