25 March 2010

Quieter times

This week feels a little quieter for which I am appreciative.  Mary is back east in New Hampshire selling our wine and having fun visiting her brother.  I was trapped in the lab, no windows, checking SO2 levels in the wines in barrel and the few left in tank while the sun was shining gloriously outside.  Today I get to work from home, a great luxury, and the weather can't decide if it is really going to stop raining or not.

This week is also the first time I am tasting through all the barrels in an organized manner.  I borrowed the idea for doing this from Jason Lett over at Eyrie Vineyards and it is working out very well.  I fill a small plastic vial with a sample of each barrel and then take them all home and taste them there.  The advantage is that I have a quiet space with no interruptions and more importantly no distracting smells.  While tasting in the barrel rooms sounds romantic and is quick and easy, smelling, in particular, is difficult.  Other aromas in the air mask that of the wine as well as distract me from the task at hand.  Also the lighting is dim so evaluating color and clarity can be difficult.
Yesterday I tasted through all the BeckenRidge pinot barrels, 31 of them, and am pretty happy with what is going on.  A few recalcitrant ones that need some work but all in all I am getting excited.  Today is Dunn Forest pinot, I have 53 of those and that will take me two sessions.  I can only taste about 25 to 30 barrels before I lose both my focus and my palate so I'll start on the first half, take a break, probably post this, and then go back and taste the other half.
Tomorrow I am out making a few sales calls in Salem.  If we are lucky we will be setting up a winemaker's dinner at Bentley's Grill near the Convention Center.  I really enjoy the dinners and love to see what a chef creates as to food and wine pairings.  Some of them have blown me away over the years.  I still remember an apple and onion tart with a touch of blue cheese to go with my 2005 Chardonnay.  It was amazing how both halves got better and showed aspects of each that you didn't taste otherwise.  That is what I am always hoping to experience.  Keep your fingers crossed for the dinner.

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