Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's make some damn wine!

If you have been within earshot of me over the last few days, you will see the title of this post becoming a regular theme. Crushpad is the best thing to happen to wine in a long time, and I am happy to have an opportunity to partake in it. As I said in my last post, I am going to use this as a launchpad for my crushpad project. I have a new link for you. Crushnet hosts group pages for everybody making wine. Check out our group: Calling All Cali Syrahs, and while you are there, join up and help us make some wine!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Crush This!

After an extended vacation from the Internets, I am ready to give this another go-round. It's incredible how difficult writing is when you aren't on the computer all day.

Early next month, I will be joining a group of friends on a winemaking journey that I expect to span at least 2 years. Since my initial introduction to Crushpad, I have met some wonderful people and an almost overwhelming passion for winemaking. I will be using this blog to document the progress of the project (in addition to Crushnet).

First things. . .
The concept is a co-fermented (meaning that grapes of different varietal will be combined prior to fermentation, and fermented together to more completely encourage the integration of flavor and aromatics) Syrah/Viognier. This concept was initially (and still best) realized in the northern Rhone district, Côte-Rôtie, where they typically add 3% - 5% Viognier to Syrah. Viognier is a full-bodied white grape that is prized for its intensely floral, honeyed aromatics. Syrah is a grape that rivals all other "noble" varieties in that, it is not only intensely flavorful and capable of producing massive wines, it is a grape that benefits greatly from its terroir, or taste of place. The addition of Viognier to Syrah helps to elevate the aromatics (Syrah, typically offering intense, deep earth, bacon, blueberry, and spice notes) with springish notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, and white pepper. The combination can yield wines that not only age well, but offer a killer palate experience.

Ideally, I would like to see the wine spend 16-18 months in 16.7-20% new French oak. This will allow the wine to fully mature without taking on too much toasty oak character or excessive spice characteristics. Crushpad has an ingenious method of incorporating new oak staves into an otherwise older barrel, allowing single-barrel productions to benefit from a controlled level of new oak. There will be sessions for wine planning, in which all parties involved will be invited, if not encouraged to attend and offer their feedback on the direction of the wine.

To wrap today, I just want to say that I am incredibly excited to begin this journey and look forward to all of the connections that I am sure to make over the course of this process. I am very much a believer in the "living wine" and feel like this experience will draw us together like not many other things can. I will also do my bet to keep up with this blog, so if you need info, shoot me an email or a comment and kick my butt into gear. I also want to encourage eveyone making wine with this project to start thinking of a name as well as attending the Crushpad tasting seminars, hosted by the immortal Stu. Cheers.