Tag-Archive for ◊ Sangiovese ◊

09 Sep 2012 Angel’s Blush 2012 Kickstarter Project has launched!

We have launched the Angel’s Blush 2012 Kickstarter Project to raise funds to produce another vintage of Angel’s Blush ™ in a new custom crush facility. We are raising money for stainless steel tanks and barrels for the Rose production.


The last vintage sold out in 2 weeks! It was very, very good…especially on a spring day. The 2012 vintage will be ready by the start of next spring for your enjoyment.


There are many rewards available depending on your level of support! You will only be charged if the target goal of $7,500 is met. When we get close to $7,500, I will be announcing a new stretch goal to help Lionheart Wines expand!

Please help Lionheart Wines grow! We will most definitely take care of our supporters. If you have any questions, please contact Leon at lglover@lionheartwines.com or 650.576.1367. Harvest has started so we need make this happen very soon to get the best fruit.

17 Mar 2010 What to do for the upcoming harvest?

2010 is going to be watershed year for many reasons. 

Jen and I are moving to Southern California (Pasadena / Altadena area).  Jen got a great job with American Realty Advisors.  Given the economy, we would be crazy not to jump on the job offer.  So, I am getting the house ready for sale or as Jen aptly named it “blandizing” the house.  We love bright and bold colors in the house.  Our realtor said the house is beautiful (should be in Architectural Digest or Sunset Magazine) but will not appeal to the widest possible market of home buyers.  I understand the realtor’s point but it is a bit frustrating. 

Winemaking has very similar parallel — do you produce high-end, small lot wines for an intensionally small segment of the wine buying public or do you produce cost-effective reasonable quality wine that we appeal to the masses?  This is a question that I have been thinking about quite a bit.  Our move is forcing me to re-evaluate where we produce wine and what type of product do we produce.  The economic downturn has been very hard on us — we are in the worst hit price segment.  The practical side of me says that we should be looking for the lowest possible production costs that result in an nice and easy quaffing wine at a price point of around $15/bottle retail; I have seen that you can sell wine like that to restaurants for the “By the Glass” program easily yet a wine that is $20/bottle can effectively only be sold for the wine list or to a retailer.  Yet, if I am going through all the hard work, I want to produce the best possible wine that I can.  You can say that by producing the lower end wine that I would be selling out artistically and economically.   I would still be in business while a large number of small-lot, high-end wine producers are going out of business.  Any thoughts from you on the subject?

I also am researching new custom crush facilities down in the Southern California (LA, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Santa Maria).  If anyone has any suggestions for custom crush facilities, please let me know.  As part of the custom crush research, I am debating on what varietals to produce.  I am leaning toward Pinot Noir, Sangiovese and maybe a rose of Syrah / Sangiovese.  Cabernet Sauvignon could be possible if the price point would be below $20/bottle.  I do love Syrah but selling it is quite difficult given the cost of good quality grapes.

Oh well, the facts will drive the decision.  If you have any input on any of these topics, please add a comment or drop me an email at lglover@lionheartwines.com.

11 Feb 2010 Bottling 2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese next week

Thankfully, my palate is not longer on the fritz. :)   After getting that back, I went back to double check the 2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese which is scheduled to be bottled on the 16th.  It will be bottled into shiners as the label is no where near ready…I have to write up the back label text based on my tasting of the wine.

My tasting notes on the wine:
App -> opaque ruby/black core transitioning to ruby rim (very deep color)
Nose -> clean, medium+ intensity aromas of boysenberry, oak, baking spice, black fruit (cherry, olive), sour cherry
Palate -> high acidity; medium tannins with a hint of fine-grained green tannins on the finish, medium alcohol; medium to long length; pronounced flavors of black cherry, sour cherry, oak, boysenberry, blueberry, blackberry, baking spices with a tart finish; medium+ concentration and mouth-filling texture.
Overall -> the wine strongly reminds me of a Brunello de Montalcino from a fairly warm site. This is a huge wine that will need 12 to 18 months in the bottle before the true nature of the wine will be revealed. The wine has very dark aromas and flavors but a nice balance of spice and tannins to help give it longevity.  The acidity is quite bright so it will age very well and we be really good with food!

The difference between the 2007 and 2008 vintages is huge and surprising.  The 2007 vintage was much more like a Chianti Classico made in a lighter style than the dark, brooding 2008.  Each are lovely and I am looking forward to enjoying them in the future!

29 Oct 2009 Barrel tasting the remaining 2008 vintage wines

I did barrel tasting from the remaining 2008 wines in barrel with some wine club members on Tuesday.  The wines tasted were: 2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast; 2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara; 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville Vineyard, Napa Valley; 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Rafael Vineyard, Napa Valley.  All of the wines are tasting very good! :)

I was quite happy at how all of the wines showed.  Here are some tasting notes:
The 2008 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese was tremendous!  It has great concentration with aromas and flavors of blue fruit (blueberry, boysenberry) and cherry.  The wine is not as classic as the 2007 Sangiovese is but I think a bit of blending with Sangiovese from the Stophlman vineyard will bring in a the lovely sour cherry flavor one looks for in Sangiovese.  Also, a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon will give it a long and lovely finish.

The 2008 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, which has had its primary blend done already is very similar to the 2007 Pinot Noir with the exception of more smoke, earth and hints of spice.  The acidity on the wine might need a slight tweek just before bottling but seems very good during my quick taste.  If you liked the 2007 Pinot Noir, I think you will enjoy the 2008 version very much.  I will be doing the final blend of the 2008 Pinot Noir to have it bottled in time for Christmas but not Thanksgiving. 

The two Cabernet Sauvignons are amazing!  The wine is concentrated, rich and complex.  The fruit flavors of the Coombsville vineyard is quite striking — lots of cassis with some nice middle-palate fruit and a long finish.  The Rafael Vineyard fruit tastes of dense raspberry jam.  It is not typical for Cabernet Sauvignon to have a raspberry flavor but the combination of the two wines will be very good.  I will be looking to blend in some petite verdot to add complexity with a spicey and tannic element and some Cabernet Franc for aromatics.  The resulting blend will be powerful wine with some nice aging potential.

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!

18 Apr 2009 2004 Peterson, Il Granaio Sangiovese, Dry Creek Valley
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Appearance: medium+ ruby with slight brick hue core -> ruby rim

Nose: medium+ intensity aromas of walnut, red currant, red cherry, slight oxidation, hint of earth

Palate: medium+ acidity, medium tannins, medium- body, medium+ intensity flavors of dried cherry, cranberry, savory strawberry; medium+ alcohol (slightly hot) and medium+ length.  The wine is simple, non-complex wine with a light body where the fruit is starting to dryout.  The wine is at its peak and should be drank in the next 6 months.

Quality: The wine is typical example of mid-level Sangiovese with 4 to 6 years of age.  The price point is $17-$20 / bottle.

19 Feb 2009 2008 Rose and bottling soon…

Yesterday, I was supposed to be bottling the 2008 Rose (Sangiovese / Syrah), Santa Barbara and my 07 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese.  The bottling did not happen due to the wine being too cold — did not have enough time to warm up after being cold stablized in the cold room.  The wine must be closer to room temperature to make sure the bottling machine fills the bottles with the correct volume of wine.  In this case, the machine would have put in more than 750 ml / bottle due to the volume of the liquid being slightly smaller than when it is at room temperature.  If the bottles were filled with cold wine, there is a chance that the corks would be forced out as the wine reached room temperature.

I should be bottling the 2008 Rose, 2007 Dry Creek Syrah and the 2007 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara next Wednesday.  The labels have not been printed yet, so they will be put into “shiners” — no label and no foils. 

The 2008 Rose has turned out quite well.  I am proud of how my experiment has turned out.  The blend of Sangiovese bleed and Syrah bleed is very distinctive and very good.  The chemistry on the Rose is: 4.0 grams/liter of sugar, total acidity is 5.5 grams/liter, 3.62 pH, 14.17% abv (will need to work on getting that down in the future).   Jen is working on a name for the Rose, so we should be getting the labels printed soon.  The Rose will be great with a bit of chill on it during the summer months!

11 Feb 2009 2005 Sangiovese, Bodega Benagas, Mendoza
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The wine is priced 65 pesos at the winery.  The wine comes from 50 to 75 year old sangiovese vines located near the Luyan river.  The wine was made in the brunello style of wine — they succeeded very well!

Appearance: bright, deep ruby/slight purple core -> cherry rim

Nose: pronounced intensity with aromas of christmas cake, candied fruit, plum (after 30 minutes walnuts, cream sherry aromas developed)

Palate: medium+ acidity; medium (slight green tannins but not too strong) tannins; medium+ concentration; long length; flavors of dark cherry, baking spices, walnuts (with air).

Quality: Good to excellent due to the complex and layered aromas/flavors, good concentration, length and good overall balance.  You would hard pressed to know this came from Mendoza instead of Tuscany!

09 Feb 2009 Spring work in the cellar

You might not realize it but Spring is a busy time in the cellar.   The winter is when malolactic fermentation typically happens assuming the wines have not been sulphured and the temperature does not dip too low.  In Bordeaux, the temperature in the cellars typically does too low and malolactic fermentation shut downs but will complete in Spring.   The wines I wanted to go through malolactic fermentation are innoculated with a malolactic bacteria culture to make sure the malolactic fermentation completes in a timely fashion — it simplifies work in the cellar later.  All of the 2008 wines that are supposed to go through malolactic fermentation have completed.

Racking is the next big task usually done in the Spring.  The red wine is racked off the gross lees to avoid any autolytic flavors from developing.  White wine make be aged on lees to add creaminess to the texture and slight autolytic notes.  My white wines (Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier) are all still on their lees and a stirring program has been started to enhance the body / palate weight and give a bit of creaminess to the wines. 

Blending is the next large task in the cellar.  I have been doing blending work on three wines: 07 White Hawk Vineyard, Sangiovese, Santa Barbara; 08 Santa Barbara Rose, and 07 Syrah, Dry Creek Valley. 

Sangiovese: The Sangiovese has turned out really well!  I am very happy with the wine.  A small amount of 08 White Hawk vineyard Sangiovese (5%) and a small amount of 07 Young-Inglewood Cabernet Sauvignon was blended into the 07 Sangiovese.  The 08 was added to freshen up the flavors/aromas and give a bit more power to the wine.  The Cabernet Sauvignon has added a nice element in the entry and the finish.  The wine is currently being cold stabilized in the cold room and should be bottled in the next couple of weeks. 

Rose: I have been doing blending / fining work on my 08 Rose (Syrah / Sangiovese) getting it ready for bottling soon.  I had to adjust the sweetness level a bit with the addition of some sucrose solution to give it a hint of sweetness.  Also, the rose has a slight bit of bitterness and a deep violet color (due to bleeding 24 hours after crushing instead of 6 to 12 as should have been done).  So, I am fining the rose with a combination of PVPP and Bentonite.  PVPP will strip out the bitterness and lighten up the wine.  The Bentonite is added to clarify the wine and compress the PVPP mixture that settles out of the wine (less wasted wine).  The process is to dissolve the PVPP in 1 liter of wine, mix the PVPP mixture into the wine, soak the Bentonite in a 1 liter of water for 3 to 4 hours, mix the rehydrated bentonite into the wine, move the wine into the cold room and leave the wine in the cold room for 4 to 6 days depending on the temperature of the cold room.  The clean rose will then be racked off the PVPP and Bentonite mixture on the bottom of the tank.  The clean rose will then be sulphur adjusted for bottling and bottled.

Syrah: The Syrah is a work in progress — a few adjustments at a time to get a good/great final product.  The wine is being blended with some Eaglepoint Vineyard Grenache to add complexity and aromatic lift (warm spice, black pepper and strawberry) along with some Catie’s Corner Vineyard viognier to further enhance the aromatics.  After the results of the blending have had time to stablize, I will be looking at possibly making further adjustments but the wine needs time to stablize.

Note: I am still working on typing up the South America trip.  Hopefully, I will have that available in a week or so.

05 Feb 2009 Vintage 2008 Barrel Sampling results

I have been tasting through my 2008 barrels to see how the vintage is coming along.  So far, the vintage looks to have promise — the final wines could be very impressive but it will take some careful work with them to make it happen.   At the moment, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese are looking very good.

2008 Combsville Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Appearance: opaque red/purple core -> purple rim
Nose: medium+ intensity; coffee/espresso, cedar, black currant, boysenberry, herbs
Palate: Acidity = high; tannins = high, grippy; Flavors = black currant, boysenberry, cedar; Intensity = pronouned; alcohol = medium+, length = medium+
This wine is going to be the backbone of our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon — it is off to a great start and I can not wait to see how it evolves in barrel.

2008 Rafael Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Appearance: opaque- ruby/slight purple hue core -> purple rim
Nose: pronounced intensity; red fruit (cherry, pomegranite, strawberry, slight sour cherry), black currant, fresh raspberry
Palate: intensity = pronounced; acidity = high; tannins = medium, fine-grained; flavor = black pepper, red cherry, strawberry, red curants, slight espresso; length = long
This wine will be the “fruit” component to the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  It tastes lovely now with a lot of complexity already.

2008 White hawk vineyard, Syrah, Santa Barbara
Appearance: opaque purple/ruby core -> purple rim
Nose: intensity = medium-; violets, plum, rhubbarb, slight cedar
Palate: intensity = medium+; tannins = medium; length = medium+; flavors: espresso, strawberry, pomegranite, cedar (on finish), slight black pepper on finish; alcohol = medium+

2008 Thompson Vineyard, Syrah, Santa Barbara
Appearance: opaque ruby/purple core -> purple rim
Nose: intensity = pronounced; oak, coffee/espresso, red fruit (cherry, currant), slight floral, black fruit (olive and cherry), green olive
Palate: acidity = medium+; tannins = medium+ grippy; length = long; alcohol = medium+; flavors = olive tempanda, black pepper, oak, rhubbarb (red savory), star anise; finish = slightly bitter

2008 Bohemian Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley/Sonoma Coast
Appearance: medium ruby with slight purple hue core -> pink rim
Nose: intensity = medium+; toasted oak, red cherry, fresh strawberry, violets, slight espresso, smoke
Palate: Acidity = high; tannins = medium-, soft; length = medium+; concentration = medium-; flavors = cherry, strawberry, watermelon, smome, white pepper on finish (slight bitterness with a bit of angular acidity).
This wine is quite different from prior vintage: prior vintage= long even growing season, this vintage = short growing season with heavy frost damage early in the vintage.

2008 Gap’s Crown Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
Appearance: deep ruby/purple core -> pink rim
Nose: intensity = medium+; sulphur, black fruits (cola, cherry, currant), anise, warm spices
Palate: acidity = high; tannins = medium, slightly grippy; length = medium+; flavors = dark cherry, cola, earth, slight pomegranite, dried strawberry
This wine was sulphured two days before I tasted the wine, so nothing to worry about here.

2008 Saralee’s Vineyard, Marsanne, Russian River Valley
Appearance: light gold core -> water white rim
Nose: intensity = pronounced; mineral, white floral, tea, honeysuckle, pear blossom, pear, asian pear, fresh cut grass
Palate: Acidity = high; length = medium+; flavors = mineral, honeysuckle, bosc pear, white pepper on finish; concentration = medium-
This wine is off to great start.  The concentration/body weight is a bit light right now but the stirring program has just been started.  The palate weight will improve as the lees are stirred (once every two weeks).

2008 Saralee’s Vineyard, Roussanne, Russian River Valley
Appearance: light gold core -> water-white rim
Nose: intensity = medium+; mineral, white floral (apple blossom), perfume, green fruit (pear), warm spice
Palate: acidity = medium+; intensity = medium+; length = medium+; concentration = medium+; flavors: mineral, white floral, pear, fuji apple, cardamon
This wine is turning out very nicely.  The wine did not go through malolactic fermentation to help retain the natural acidity.  The combination of the Marsanne and the Roussanne should make for another lovely white Rhone blend, The Angel’s Share!