Archive for ◊ May, 2009 ◊

21 May 2009 2006 Leeuwin Estate, Prelude Vineyards, Chardonnay, Margaret River
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Appearance: bright, medium, lemon-green core -> water white rim

Nose: clean, medium intensity aromas of citrus (lime), mineral, star fruit and hint of vanilla

Palate: medium+ acidity; medium intensity flavors that match the aromas; medium length but has slight bitterness on the finish (phenolic).  The flavors are complex and layered.

Quality: This is a very good example of chardonnay from the Margaret River region of Australia.  The acidity and lime notes are strongly associated with this region.  If you enjoy lime and chardonnay, you really should try this chardonnay.

21 May 2009 2005 Peterson, West Vineyard, Tradizionale, Dry Creek Valley
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Appearance: clear, opaque ruby core -> ruby rim

Nose: medium+ intensity aromas of red fruit (cherry, raspberry), blackberry, dried red fruit (currant, cherry), perfume, eucalyptus — layered aromas

Palate: medium intensity flavors of red fruit (fresh and dried), blackberry, black tea, black pepper; medium tannins; medium+ length; medium+ alcohol.  The flavors are complex and layered.  The finish has a hint of white pepper. 

Quality: This is a good to very good zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.  The complexity and layered nature of the aromas and flavors make it very enjoyable.  The combination of spice and fruit flavors is very enjoyable and the way zinfandel should be.

21 May 2009 2006 Boeger Walker Vineyard, Zinfandel, El Dorado
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Appearance:  clear, deep – ruby core with some brickish hues transitioning into ruby rim

Nose: clean, medium+ intensity aromas of black pepper, red cherry, rose petals and Rainier cherry.

Palate: medium+ intensity flavors of white pepper, red cherry, walnut; medium+ length with an allspice, slightly bitter finish; medium- tannins (bitterness on finish which is a bit distracting); medium+ alcohol

Quality: The wine is a fairly good zinfandel made on the more peppery part of the zinfandel flavor spectrum.  The flavors/aromas have a slight layering, so it is interesting but not superior quality.  The bitterness of the tannins is distracting.

19 May 2009 Spring Blending Update

Spring blending is underway at Lionheart Wines!  I have been working on blending the following wines:

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2007 Roaring Red, California
2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
2008 white Rhone blend (we can not use ‘The Angel’s Share’ anymore due to a trademark issue…if you have a suggestion for what to call the wine, please let me know)

The blending has gone very well.  I really enjoy working on blending the wines as you get to “fine tune” the work started way back at harvest of the grapes.   I have a wine style in mind which I try to reach in the final blend but do not artificially impose my will on what the wines are showing as their best qualities.  I want to make the best possible wine given the base blending components.

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is looking to be a different style than then 2006; the 2007 has more ripe cherry / plum fruit which the blending will need to tone down.  I am going to be doing blend tests with Petite Verdot (to add spicyness and warm baking spices), Cabernet Franc (to add some floral aromas and more velvety tannins) and a bit of Malbec (make the wine more interesting, more layered in aromas and flavors).  The exact blend has not been worked out yet; the primary blend should be done by the first week in June.  The primary blend will then be put back in barrel to let it integrate before any final adjustments and bottling later this year.

The 2007 Roaring Red has been a bit of challenge this year.  I had to do a fining trial to get the tannin profile in line with the target wine.  The fining trial was done by taking equal volume samples of the current blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley and Kiona, Washington) and Dry Creek Syrah and adding 1 egg white worth to one sample, 2 egg white worth to another sample, etc and then left in a refrigerate to cold stablize it for a week.  The results from the fining trial indicated that about 1.25 egg whites per barrel seemed to get the proper tannin softness and structure for the wine.   After the actual fining is completed, the last part of the primary blend will be done.  The blending wines to be tested are Eaglepoint Grenache (for spiceyness and addition of light red fruits (currants, strawberry, etc) ), Contra Costa Mourvedre (for aromas and flavor complexity) and Petite Verdot ( for spiceyness and warm baking spices).

The 2008 Pinot Noir primary blending was very easy — equal parts of the Bohemian Vineyard and Gap’s Crown vineyard.  The blend was really nice and very similar to the 2007 Pinot Noir.   The blend will be topped with some of the Bohemian 777 clone from the second pick to add a bit more concentration to the wine as it integrates.   I am very happy with the base wines from these two vineyards!

The 2008 Saralee’s Vineyard, White Rhone Blend (formerly ‘The Angel’s Share’) blending was a several hour and over 15 blends tested for the primary blend to be determined.  The blend components all look very good by themselves but when properly combined you get a really lovely wine.   The final blend should be very similar to the 2007 White Rhone blend.   The 2008 primary blend is going to be 48% Roussanne / 50% Marsanne / 2% Viognier.    It was very cool to  be able to tell how the wine was going to evolve given this would be the third vintage — remember what the wines were like when initially blended versus the current state of each vintage.   I really enjoy working with the white Rhone varietals as the flavors and aromas are very complex and beguiling.  The white Rhone wine maybe bottled near the end of June depending on how the primary blend stablizes in tank.

19 May 2009 New Releases Coming Soon!

Lionheart Wines will be releasing several wines soon!  We are looking at releasing the following wines:

  • 2008 Angel’s Blush Rose, Santa Barbara (very limited only three cases have not been spoken for yet)
  • 2007 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara
  • 2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley

The Rose has been a huge hit with everyone that has tried the wine.   The Rose has already been picked up by two restaurants and one market.  It is something very special that I am looking to do again in 2009 given the overwhelming response.  The remaining Rose will be offered to wine club members on an allocated amount — the announcement will be coming soon once the release date of the Sangiovese is set.

The long awaited release of the 2007 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangioeve, Santa Barbara is nearly here.  The wine has been in bottle for two months and recently labelled.  After the wine has come out of bottle shock, the wine will be released.  The Sangiovese is a great food wine; it just begs to be had with a rich tomato-and-meat based sauce pasta dish!   The wine should be ready to release by the end of the month but may not be able to ship it until early fall due to temperature issues.  I will be checking the wine consistently for when it is out of bottle shock.  I want you to get your wines soon, so you can enjoy it!

The 2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Vineyard, has developed into a huge wine!  The Dry Creek Syrah is very concentrated and dense.  The final blend on the wine includes Grenache, Petite Sirah and Viognier.  The wine could be from the Rhone given the flavors and aromas in it but with the power for ripe California fruit.  The wine will need to be in bottle for several more months before release to let it integrate and come out of bottle shock.  Your patience (and mine) will be very well rewards!

14 May 2009 General Update
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I do apologize for not keeping up my regular posting on the blog.  I have been very lately with many things — finding new fruit sources for the 2009 harvest, tasting events, ramping up on the sales effort, label design/printing, and wine blending.  I have a ton of wine reviews to type up and post as soon as I have a couple of hours to type up my notes on. 

Recently, I have taken on a second job — working as a sales representative for Bock Wines & Spirits.  It is partially a sign of the economic times but it is also a great learning experience to close the experiential loop on the wine industry — educator, producer, direct sales, sales on-premise, sales off-premise, working for a distributor, and pounding the street to see how the rubber meets the road for all price segments in the wine and spirit industry.  I must say that I have a new found respect for sales representatives and customer service personnel. :)   My work with Bock Wine & Spirits helps me better understand what the consumer really is buying so I can taylor the wines to be more marketable, more responsive to market trends and provide additional financial support to make sure Lionheart Wines is a strong and growing premium brand. 

The amount of work associated with being a wine & spirit sales representative is very large and never ending.  It is really about relationship building and effective communication…and keeping knocking on all possible doors all the time.  I am getting ramped up on what needs to be done to be successful but need a bit more time to hit my stride.  The great thing about the situation is that I get to sell Lionheart Wines along side with a great portfolio of other products — it makes more efficient use of my time while establishing relationships in the industry.  So, it is a win-win for both Lionheart Wines and Bock Wine & Spirits.    It has also forced me to be more systematic in my marketing and sales efforts — focus on working smarter not harder plus leveraging technology where possible.