Tag-Archive for ◊ Roaring Red ◊

09 Apr 2011 Tasting panel (Genophiles) enjoys tasting Lionheart wines

The Genophiles, a wine tasting group at Genentech, did a blind tasting of the following Lionheart Wines:
2007 Angel’s Share
2008 Angel’s Fare

2006 Syrah, Santa Barbara
2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
2008 Syrah, Santa Barbara (available but not formally released)
2006 Roaring Red
2007 Roaring Red
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The Genophiles are a group known for being brutally honest and fairly harsh critics.  I encouraged the group to be completely honest as I wanted to get their input on how the wines are aging and overall quality.  The ranking system is 0 to 3 puffs with 0.25 granularity (the scoring system is hard to explain.  The simplied version is this: 0 = the worst, 1 = I would drink this (might even pay for it), 2 = 90+ points and 3 = I would stab someone else to get the last of the bottle.).  There are also +/- involved.  

There were about 16 people tasting the wine so the results tended to be on a good bell curve distribution.  The group generally does not taste white wines as they have a bias against white wine…not worth the time was the feeling I got.  The group was pleasantly surprised by the white wines (they grudingly agreed the wines were good :) ).  Any wines that score a 2 will be in the running to be included in their end of the year blind tasting competition. 

My guess going into the tasting was that the blends would do well — white and red.  I was hoping to get the whites to score in the 2 range as it would be a big validation for the classic blend of Marsanne and Roussanne (with a hint of viognier for aromatics).  My guess was pretty good about what they liked.  I also noted that they tend to like the more aromatic and powerful wines.

The final tally was:
1.5+ =-> 2006 Syrah, Santa Barbara
1.75 =-> 2007 Angel’s Share (92 pts WE)
1.75 =-> 2008 Angel’s Fare (preferred overthe 2007 slightly)
1.75+ =-> 2007 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley
1.75+ =-> 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley (90 pts WE)
2- –> 2008 Syrah, Santa Barbara
2- =-> 2007 Roaring Red, California
2- =-> 2006 Roaring Red, California
2 =-> 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Normally, only 1 wine out of 8 hits the 2 range. So, I feel pretty good about how the wines are showing and aging.  The tasting does indicate that if you have 2006 Syrah, I would suggest that you break it out and enjoy it with some slow braised meat tonight ( especially lamb!)

30 Jul 2009 Bottling 2007 Roaring Red

A quick update from Lionheart Wines….

I bottled the 2007 Roaring Red, Proprietary blend, yesterday into shiners (bottles without labels for capsules).  The chemistry for the wine is: S02 – 32 ppm, pH – 3.58, TA – 5.3 grams/liter, ABV – 14.65% and VA of 0.60 grams/liter.  We ended up with 26 cases plus 9 loose bottles.  It is a small amount of wine but the challenge will now be to sell it given the challenging environment. 

I need to get the label text figured out and submitted for TTB approval.  After the labels are approved and printed, I will get the shiners labelled.  The wine will not be released until the fall so the wine has time to integrate and get over bottle shock.  I learned from the 2006 Roaring Red that it need about 6 to 8 months for the wine to fully integrate, but you could tell how the wine was going to evolved after 4 months or so.

The final blend works out to be:
55% 2007 Dry Creek Valley, Syrah
23% 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
6% 2007 Mourvedre, Lodi
5% 2007 Napa Valley, Petite Verdot
9% 2007 Napa Valley, Malbec
2% 2007 Napa Valley, Merlot

So, this blend is very nearly a Bordeaux Blend just missing some Cabernet Franc to complete the big 5 varietals.  I guess you could say that this is a Bordeaux blend interpreted via the Northern Rhone (as the Syrah was co-fermented with Viognier).  The wine is a big, bold wine and truly lives up to the name — Roaring Red!

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.