Tag-Archive for ◊ 2008 ◊

02 Feb 2010 2008 Syrah blending trials

Recently, I did some blending trails with my two lots of Syrah from 2008.  The two lots are from the Thompson vineyard and White Hawk vineyard in Santa Barbara County.  The goal of the blending trial was to see if the wines were ready to make the primary blend of the two and/or would I need to bottle them seperately.  Thankfully, the two syrahs (each made as a blending component of a Santa Barbara County Syrah) are complimentary to each other.

2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Syrah, Santa Barbary County
App -> opaque black w/purple hues core changes to a purple rim
Nose -> Medium+ intensity aromas of black fruit, black olive, dried herbs, boysenberry
Palate -> Medium+ tannins (fine-grained with a hint of green tannins on finish), high acidity; medium+ intensity flavors of black fruit, violets, fresh raspberry (frambiose), blackberry, earth, cherry; medium+ alcohol, long length

2008 Thompson Vineyard, Syrah, Santa Barbara County
App -> opaque black/purple hues core changes to a purple rim
Nose -> pronounced intensity aromas of toasted espresso, milk chocolate
Palate -> Medium+ Alcohol; pronounced flavors of black fruit, bramble berries, spicy red fruit, light sulphur note (from recent sulphur addition) red grapefruit on finish

The blending trials consisted of 50% Thompson / 50% White Hawk to get a baseline to see how the two complimented each other — quite positive! — followed by blending with different amounts of Viognier, Grenache and/or Mourvedre.  The result of the trial for the primary blend turned out to be 49.5% Thompson / 49.5% White Hawk / 1% Catie’s Corner Viognier.  The primary blend will be completed and put back into neutral barrel as the wine does not need anymore tannins to round out the wine.  The small amount of Viognier does a great job of enhancing the aromatics and softening the strong tannins from the Thompson Syrah (it was in a new barrel with med+ toast). 

Primary blend
App-> opaque black/purple core transitioning to a purple rim
Nose -> Medium+ intensity aromas of black fruit(olive, cherry, cassis), blueberry, earth, red floral, apricot (slight from viognier)
Palate -> High tannins (soft), pronounced intensity flavors of black olive, sweet olive plant flowers, boysenberry, blueberry, currant, warm spice on finish; long length, high acidity, pronounced concentration

The primary blend with re-evaluated in 5 weeks to see how the blend is settling down.  The goal is to bottle the wine sooner rather than later to maintain the excellent aromas and flavors.  I think it will be a very good wine which will need 12 to 18 months in the bottle before it really starts to open up.  The wine is very big with an elegant and complexity to it.  I am very excited to see what it turns into!

12 Nov 2009 Blending 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir…worth the effort!
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Yesterday, I did a blending trial for the 2008 Lionheart Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to get ready for the secondary blending to be done.  I am hoping to bottle the Pinot Noir in the next two weeks — it will not be ready for Thanksgiving unfortunately.

I did 12 blending trials with various combinations of barrels and pinot noir single clone blending wines from the two vineyards I get Pinot Noir from — Bohemian (Freestone / Russian River) and Split Rock/Gaps Crown (Sonoma Coast).  Behemian is right next to the Sonoma Coast border so I just call it a Sonoma Coast AVA blend.  The style of the wine is more appropriate for a Sonoma Coast than a Russian River Pinot Noir.

The blend that I really liked is made up of equal parts from each barrel (90% of total volume), 8% 777 clone from Split Rock vineyard, and 2% 667 from Split Rock vineyard.  The blending session was very interesting for the following reasons: 1) the use of a single clone wine can have a massive change on the overall quality, balance and flavor profile; for example: a 1% shift of the 667 clone was very noticable, 2) 777 clone adds a great deal of body, red fruit flavors and helps extend the finish of the wine quite a bit, 3) aromatics of 667 are very good and are huge contributors to a complex Pinot Noir’s aromatic profile, 4) Pinot Noir is very sensative to chemistry shifts in the wine — aromatics and flavors shift very quickly with a slight acidity and pH adjustment, and 5) lower alcohol Pinot Noir has a much complex flavor and palate profile.

The tasting notes for the 2008 Lionheart Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, blend are:
Appearance: bright, deep+ ruby with violet core transitioning to ruby rim
Nose: clean, medium+ intensity aromas of black fruit (cherry, blackberry), blue fruit (blue berry and hint of boysenberry), hint of cotton candy, light cola, warm spices, red fruit (strawberry, cherry, raspberry) and oak
Palate: high acidity; medium tannins (soft, fine-grained but will need time in bottle to turn to velvety texture), medium alcohol, medium+ concentration, pronounced intensity flavors of blueberry, currant (red and black), cranberry, strawberry, violets, raspberry, black fruit(cherry and blackberry), warm spices on finish; long finish

The 2008 Pinot Noir will be going on sale as futures in the next week or so.  The actual release of the wine will not happen until spring of next year.  But, I might have some samples available at Thanksgiving dinner!