WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

Staff

In the tradition of Peter Wellington and Scott Harvey, please welcome another occasional Wine.Woot guest blogger. Kent Rasmussen of Kent Rasmussen Winery has graciously agreed to share his insights into the winemaking life. Thanks, Kent!

Once upon a time, when the Boomers were young, the mere mention of “California Pinot Noir” would make a wine-geek go running for a bottle of Burgundy (there weren’t many wine-geeks in America back in those days). Pinot Noir just didn’t do it in California. We were making great Cabernet and Zinfandel, and if I am not mistaken, Louis Martini had just bottled the first varietal bottling of a grape called Merlot (in 1968?) But Pinot just hadn’t arrived. When Pinot was good it was usually because it was half Petite Sirah (in those days varietals only had to be 50% of the named variety) and thus not really Pinot. Pinot Noir, the ultimate cool weather grape was grown in such not-so-cool climates as Calistoga—and Fresno! Winemakers felt that a good Pinot could be made just like a good Cabernet; heat it up, put it in the percolator, and extract, extract, extract. The results? Well . . . we were not making much of a name for ourselves—more of a groan.

But there where Pinot Noir visionaries back in those early days of California viticulture. They understood what a great grape it is—probably the greatest of all grapes…and that something had gone horribly wrong with it in California. They saw how wonderful the Pinot Noir was in Burgundy and they knew they could change it all and make California the greatest place on earth to grow the greatest grape on earth. And they were right!

The first thing those folks realized...

...was that Pinot Noir needed cool weather.

In the mid-60s, these pioneers looked south in the Napa Valley to the cold windy fringe at the top of the San Francisco Bay, to an area called Carneros. Others called them crazy, but they went ahead and planted a few Pinot vines amongst the failed orchards and lonely dairies of Napa’s poorest corner. And it happened—suddenly, California Pinot Noir tasted good! From this rather late beginning, Pinot Noir took off in California—suddenly the rush was on to identify all of California’s cool winegrowing regions. More were found; Santa Barbara, Anderson Valley, parts of the Russian River area, and more recently, the Sonoma Coast and the Santa Lucia Highlands all started to be planted to Pinot Noir with great results (oh, and did I mention Oregon?) Today, all of these areas make many good Pinot Noirs, but Carneros still shines as one of the best and distinct in its own regional character.

Carneros is a strange place. It is located on the big gentle sloping plane that rises up out of the San Francisco Bay at the southern tip of the Napa and Sonoma Valley appellations. It runs from the Napa River on the east to the base of the first hills in Sonoma on the west and from the water on the south to the base of the Mayacamas Mountains to the north. All in all, it’s about 3 miles from north to south and maybe seven miles east to west. Not a large area, but wide open and directly exposed to the cold, ceaseless tidal winds coming through the Golden Gate and over the San Francisco Bay. Honestly, having lived in Carneros for years back in the 80's and 90's, I can tell you that wind doesn’t make it much of a fun place to live! (In the many years that I lived there I doubt that I had “dinner on the deck” more than half-a-dozen times.)

Like many cool windy places, Carneros seems a very deserted and lonely place, like it may be full of ghosts. I have never actually seen one, but the area definitely had its share of hard-luck farmers who could never seem to make as much as their cousins just a couple of miles further north in the lush Napa and Sonoma valleys. To make life harder, Carneros has next-to-no water in the ground and the “soil” is mostly solid clay—brick-like and brittle in the summer and viscous enough to suck your boots off in the winter. Many of you may have heard Mark Twain’s famous quote: “the coldest winter he ever spent, was the summer in San Francisco.” Carneros has a lot of that same weather (while it takes an hour to drive there, Carneros it really is only a few miles from San Francisco as the crow flies). In the summer the fog rolls in and some days the sun doesn't come out until after noon. I make it sound charming, don't I? But it is also a very beautiful area, with huge open skies and wonderful clouds to the south and pretty mountains to the north.

All that said, you are probably thinking, “Yech—what grape would want to grow THERE?” Grapes are odd. Their “perfect world” is one of deep rich soils, good water and lots of sun (read: Fresno). Problem is, when you make wine out of grapes grown with such privilege you get character-less, insipid, uninteresting stuff. It seems that the more a grapevine suffers, the greater the wine it produces. (Is that why Russia has produced so many great writers?) So Carneros is perfect—just enough to keep the vine alive, but not enough to let it thrive (Gulag grape-growing!) Cold, dry, windy, bad soil . . . beat me, beat me! And thus the perfect Pinot Noir!

I should mention that once great Pinot Noir was “discovered” in Carneros, and the old guard had to admit that a bit of viticulture vision was a good thing, growers started to plant other varieties there, just to see how they came out. The results? Carneros Chardonnay is wonderful: lots of apples and mineral characteristics. Funnily enough, Merlot from Carneros is really good (although why one would waste good Pinot Noir land on Merlot is an unfathomable question in my mind) and so does Syrah (lovely red-fruity flavors). While a few growers grow Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon there, I think that they are on a bad road, its like growing Pinot in Rutherford; sure it will grow . . . but why?

So ends today’s musings. Talk with you again soon.

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel

YAY KENT!!!

Had a bottle of your '97 PN Reserve last month, and it was sublime -- especially for $17.25 + shipping from winebid!

We miss you. Come back soon -- preferably with your PS!

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel

2 problems with the woot summaries:

(1) title should say Carneros instead of "Carnero" in "Kent Rasmussen on Pinot Noir and Carnero (Two of His Favorite Subjects)"

(2) THERE IS NO CARNEROS COUNTY. Bad WootBot! Bad! Carneros is a multi-region that is shared between Napa and Sonoma Counties at the south end of both. Thus, "This time it's Kent Rasmussen discoursing on Pinot Noir and Carneros County," is incorrect, and looks borderline unprofessional on a wine site.

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

skelator818


quality posts: 0 Private Messages skelator818

"Carnero" has been fixed. I think maybe the "Carneros County" may have meant Carneros Country.

In our house a Pinot is a Pinot but a Carneros Pinot is something special indeed.
We've found that regardless of vineyard or bottler a 2003 Carneros Pinot goes well with just about anything.

Living just an hour south of the area, when we "Do Napa" we always end with a few select Carneros visits so the good stuff doesn't spoil in the car all day.

Thanks for the great Pinot tale!

Come on Bandolier of Carrots!

Jason Toon


quality posts: 19 Private Messages Jason Toon
Loweeel wrote:2 problems with the woot summaries:

(1) title should say Carneros instead of "Carnero" in "Kent Rasmussen on Pinot Noir and Carnero (Two of His Favorite Subjects)"

(2) THERE IS NO CARNEROS COUNTY. Bad WootBot! Bad! Carneros is a multi-region that is shared between Napa and Sonoma Counties at the south end of both. Thus, "This time it's Kent Rasmussen discoursing on Pinot Noir and Carneros County," is incorrect, and looks borderline unprofessional on a wine site.



Thanks. #1 had already been fixed. #2 was a misstatement on my part. I knew Carneros wasn't a county, but in the rush to get that up, my brain tripped up somehow. Thanks for keeping us honest.

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel
Jason Toon wrote:Thanks. #1 had already been fixed. #2 was a misstatement on my part. I knew Carneros wasn't a county, but in the rush to get that up, my brain tripped up somehow. Thanks for keeping us honest.



I kan haz kwality post?

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel

Kent, being a science/engineering geek, I'd love to hear your comments on Clark Smith's discussion of the importance of color in PN.

Basically, Clark argues that Pinot in most [American?] regions (with the only named exception, presumably not the only one, being Sonoma Coast) has crappy color, i.e., low levels of anthocyanins. Rather than being a "feature", Clark says that it's a bug because the lack of anthocyanins means that the tannins will not mature properly as the wine ages.

(Clark also had a great series on the chemical changes/flavor profiles of PS in a decent selection of West Coast terroir)

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

Cesare


quality posts: 1616 Private Messages Cesare

Welcome Kent, nice to have you blogging here.
I find it interesting that you make wine from two varietals that could not be more different- Pinot Noir and Petite Sirah. Love your PS but haven't had any of your Pinot yet, I just got some of your 06 and 07 Ramsay North Coast Pinot Noir that I'm waiting to open. Some of my favorite Pinot is from Carneros. We visited Buena Vista last summer and they have a great one, along with great Syrah and Merlot and Chardonnay.

-il Cesare
Sole Absolute Triple
Exalted High Tastemaster Supreme
“In the entire world there are only a few sounds that bring joy to all but the most jaded. One is the murmur of a kitten purring. Another is the thwack of a well-pitched baseball hitting a perfectly swung bat. And the third is the pop of a cork being pulled from a bottle of wine.” —George Taber

woopdedoo


quality posts: 36 Private Messages woopdedoo

Thanks. Very informative. Indeed I have several Carneros PNs and wasn't really sure why I liked them so much. Didn't really think of the fact that Carneros is really just a straight shot out to the Golden Gate.

Being in Michigan, it is a bit humorous to hear folks berate the weather in CA. But it is a bit strange that the SF area has its least comfortable weather during the summer due to the fog.

cheron98


quality posts: 123 Private Messages cheron98

Welcome to the woot blog, Kent! I've had trouble finding a PN that I actually enjoy. We (Loweeel, MarkDaSpark, & I) were wandering around Napa/Sonoma a month ago after Dark & Delicious and were fortunate enough to be invited by Scott Harvey to a walkaround wine & food tasting, where there was a Pinot (I believe Latitude 45 PN) to sample at the end of the line. At first, I thought I may have found one I like - really nice on the palate, but then the finish just killed me, and I realized that's what always did me in. So far, I've always gotten a "twiggy" finish - where it feels like I've just taken a twig, licked it, then chomped it up and swallowed. Is this a normal thing on Pinots, and thus I am doomed for all eternity to not enjoy them, or have I just not found the right one?

I saw HitAnyKey42 on wine.woot! and clicked "I want one!"

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
Loweeel wrote:Kent, being a science/engineering geek, I'd love to hear your comments on Clark Smith's discussion of the importance of color in PN.

Basically, Clark argues that Pinot in most [American?] regions (with the only named exception, presumably not the only one, being Sonoma Coast) has crappy color, i.e., low levels of anthocyanins. Rather than being a "feature", Clark says that it's a bug because the lack of anthocyanins means that the tannins will not mature properly as the wine ages.

(Clark also had a great series on the chemical changes/flavor profiles of PS in a decent selection of West Coast terroir)



Its a generally accepted characteristic of Pinot that it has low monomeric anthocyanin levels (the most important one being malvidin-3-glucoside which is responsible for the color of young wines). Starting with a low monomeric anthocyanin concentration means there is less of it available for the aging reactions that form the basis for older wine color (copigmentation, polymerized pigments, tannin/pigment complexes, etc). Some of these reactions also affect tanin aging (polymerization, etc). Thus, for the most part, a lot of that maturing potential is determined in the vineyard. Generally speaking, Pinot grown in cooler areas can form more monomeric anthocyanins than Pinot grown in warmer climates. Bulk Pinot growers in warm climates usually work around the color issue by blending in tinteurier grapes like rubired or alicante bouschet. However, you can still taste the difference in grape quality reflected in the final wine.

MarkDaSpark


quality posts: 181 Private Messages MarkDaSpark
cheron98 wrote:Welcome to the woot blog, Kent! I've had trouble finding a PN that I actually enjoy. We (Loweeel, MarkDaSpark, & I) were wandering around Napa/Sonoma a month ago after Dark & Delicious and were fortunate enough to be invited by Scott Harvey to a walkaround wine & food tasting, where there was a Pinot (I believe Latitude 45 PN) to sample at the end of the line. At first, I thought I may have found one I like - really nice on the palate, but then the finish just killed me, and I realized that's what always did me in. So far, I've always gotten a "twiggy" finish - where it feels like I've just taken a twig, licked it, then chomped it up and swallowed. Is this a normal thing on Pinots, and thus I am doomed for all eternity to not enjoy them, or have I just not found the right one?



It was Expression 44º for the PN's. Because those wines are from latitude 44 (Eola-Amity Hills area). They also have others from Sonoma Coast, Santa Rita, etc. based on the latitude.

Expression Wine.com


Someone has to put WD's kids thru college, but why does it have to be me!
*This post is for purposes of enabling only, and does not constitute any promise of helping pay for said enabling. It does indicate willingness to assist in drinking said wine.

andyduncan


quality posts: 32 Private Messages andyduncan
Loweeel wrote:I kan haz kwality post?



I think pedantic spell-checking posts should count against ones quality posts total :-)

I'm putting WD's kids through college.

andyduncan


quality posts: 32 Private Messages andyduncan

Great article Kent, thanks for contributing.

BTW: you look much less curmudgeonly without your beard:

I'm putting WD's kids through college.

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel
andyduncan wrote:I think pedantic spell-checking posts should count against ones quality posts total :-)



It wasn't spelling, it was AVA accuracy

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

andyduncan


quality posts: 32 Private Messages andyduncan
Loweeel wrote:It wasn't spelling, it was AVA accuracy



Well, I was going to say "Pedantic Proofreading Posts" but that was way too much asinine alliteration for me.

I'm putting WD's kids through college.

sam9539


quality posts: 0 Private Messages sam9539

So when we gettin' some Pinot up in this piece?

SmilingBoognish


quality posts: 47 Private Messages SmilingBoognish

Thank goodness for those pioneers who were willing to do something even when other people called them crazy! The world is a much more interesting place for these types of folks, even when their ideas don't work out as well as Carneros did.

One of my first Woots was Castle Pinot Noir, which I believe at least one bottle came from Carneros, if not all three.

I know it wasn't the focus of the article, but it was at least mentioned: Anderson Valley is one of my favorite places spend time. Be it on the way to Mendocino, a day wine tasting or buying a six pack of beer to share with a friend on Anderson Valley Brewing Company's disc golf course.

SonomaBouliste


quality posts: 234 Private Messages SonomaBouliste
SmilingBoognish wrote:
I know it wasn't the focus of the article, but it was at least mentioned: Anderson Valley is one of my favorite places spend time. Be it on the way to Mendocino, a day wine tasting or buying a six pack of beer to share with a friend on Anderson Valley Brewing Company's disc golf course.



Ah, Anderson Valley - the land that time forgot

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel
sam9539 wrote:So when we gettin' some Pinot up in this piece?



My guess would be one of the next 3 offerings, based on Kent's presence here, and some inside information that I've managed to dig up.

Then again, we've had it a lot more recently (the 2 fantastic Roessler offerings in January) than we've had PS, the best-selling variety on wine.woot, which we last had as a woot.off detour for a few hours in November (Ursa) and October (Pedroncelli). As an offering, the last one that even was PS-majority was the Titus Lot 1 in September, but that can't be labeled as PS.

The last thing we had that was actually called PS in a regular (i.e., scheduled) offering was the Ursa three-pack at the beginning of September, over 6 and a half months ago. I'm just saying.

By comparison, there's been a veritable glut of Pinot lately.

Speaking of which, JW -- when are we due for a PS (and how do you characterize things like the Lot 1, Shake Ridge, etc.?)

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

jwhite6114


quality posts: 119 Private Messages jwhite6114
Loweeel wrote:Speaking of which, JW -- when are we due for a PS (and how do you characterize things like the Lot 1, Shake Ridge, etc.?)



Over the past 100 offerings PN is under represented (compared to all offers). It is the fifth most under represented, so something soon would seem reasonable.

Lot 1 and Shake Ridge were both classified as Non-Meritage Red Blends.

CT | | | | | |

iByron


quality posts: 40 Private Messages iByron
andyduncan wrote:Great article Kent, thanks for contributing.

BTW: you look much less curmudgeonly without your beard:



That's not curmudgeonly. That's Pennsylvania Dutch!

iByron
Pennsylvania Not-Dutch
Owner of two bottles of 1996 PN Reserve at the outrageously low price of $5.75 + shipping.

iByron's iCellar (I'm a reciprocal CT Cellar Buddy)

Your Private WIneaux

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
iByron wrote:That's not curmudgeonly. That's Pennsylvania Dutch!

iByron
Pennsylvania Not-Dutch
Owner of two bottles of 1996 PN Reserve at the outrageously low price of $5.75 + shipping.



Thank you, I was gonna say it, but didn't. I hope Kent does a blog on PS, the underdog. Not that that's a hint. More like a demand

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel
iByron wrote:That's not curmudgeonly. That's Pennsylvania Dutch!

iByron
Pennsylvania Not-Dutch
Owner of two bottles of 1996 PN Reserve at the outrageously low price of $5.75 + shipping.



Just because you liked the bottle of '97 that I brought to the NoVA/DC #11 tasting

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

tommythecat78


quality posts: 18 Private Messages tommythecat78
iByron wrote:That's not curmudgeonly. That's Pennsylvania Dutch!

iByron
Pennsylvania Not-Dutch
Owner of two bottles of 1996 PN Reserve at the outrageously low price of $5.75 + shipping.



Nah...it's the dad from Teen Wolf!!

Great blog Kent, thanks.

___________________________________________________________________________________________
My Cellar (has not been updated in forever)
Do the people want fire that can be applied nasally? -Golgafrinchan Marketing Consultant

thatguy314


quality posts: 7 Private Messages thatguy314

Any more dry susao on its way? I LOVED the last batch. Bluberry syrup and mint and oh so delicious. Of course I loved the port too, but I don't dirnk as much fortified wine.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
Loweeel wrote:Kent, being a science/engineering geek, I'd love to hear your comments on Clark Smith's discussion of the importance of color in PN.

Basically, Clark argues that Pinot in most [American?] regions (with the only named exception, presumably not the only one, being Sonoma Coast) has crappy color, i.e., low levels of anthocyanins. Rather than being a "feature", Clark says that it's a bug because the lack of anthocyanins means that the tannins will not mature properly as the wine ages.

(Clark also had a great series on the chemical changes/flavor profiles of PS in a decent selection of West Coast terroir)



Just for the record, I wasn't dissing American Pinot Noir at all. My comments apply equally to Burgundy. Crappy color is part of the grape's challenge. It may also be the essence of its charm, because it must be handled with much more skill, delicacy and attention to avoid disaster. The riddle of Pinot is a little like trying to capture a message in the 17 syllables of a haiku -- very difficult and very rewarding.

The consumer needs patience and openmindedness here which aren't required for Cabernet appreciation. In addition, there are different kinds of consumers who want different things, so you need to find a winemaker and/or region that's on your wavelength. Sonoma Coast wines appeal (in part) to the Sideways crowd, newcomer ex-Merlot drinkers who are looking for structure and color, and also to Collectors, who like solid, ageworthy wines which may not show well in youth but have good balance.

Other folks enjoy the impact of high alcohol and blousey aromas. Still others seek out "ethereal" Pinots, which carry you away with perfume and may not have much structure, and also wines of distinction which have a strong place identity -- I like 'em even when I don't like 'em.

The key is to link up with a region and/or winemaker who shares your aesthetic. I find Kent's wines incredibly reliable for what I'm after, and if I see one on a wine list, I snap it up.

Loweeel


quality posts: 5 Private Messages Loweeel
winesmith wrote:The key is to link up with a region and/or winemaker who shares your aesthetic. I find Kent's wines incredibly reliable for what I'm after, and if I see one on a wine list, I snap it up.



Which is why I found it very surprising that they were absent from those surveyed for "sources of regional diversity in petite sirah" -- which I flat-out LOVED, despite some fairly minor quibbles about the sampling selection. KRPS02 is my "Come to the Dark Side" wine .

I realize that time was limited, but it seemed like Paso was relatively overrepresented, while Columbia Valley Washington State, RRV, and the entire Central Coast were all "characteristic" based on a single wine. (and none from Oregon, Pennsylvania, or Baja -- though I suspect that availability was a big factor for the lack of non-Cali PS)

Favorites: Roessler ¬ KRPN ¬ Etude ¬ Stuart ¬ KRPort ¬ Tøøthstejnn ¬ Titus ¬ URSA ¬ InZin ¬ SBMystery ¬ SxBS&Z+4 ¬ DC3&4 ¬ TyC3&FB ¬ FeEquus ¬ PSPS ¬ Harvey ¬ SBRes&CR ¬ Corison ¬ Noceto ¬ Humbug ¬ KRSEXY3SOME ¬ PoiZin06 ¬ POLY ¬ Castoro ¬ SBCab ¬ KRPS2K ¬ HW12 ¬ GSaké ¬ הגפןCab ¬ PepBr

CT ¬ PSychos' Path
"The one difference between me and Petite Sirah is that I don't have a dumb period." - YT

gcdyersb


quality posts: 141 Private Messages gcdyersb
Loweeel wrote:Which is why I found it very surprising that they were absent from those surveyed for "sources of regional diversity in petite sirah"



Wow, that article on PS diversity is really interesting. Perhaps most interesting in this:

"Who knows the sources of aromatic diversity? One aspect seems obvious: the transfer of aromatic substances from native vegetation to the wax cuticle which surrounds every berry."

I have actually picked up sage and a dry vegetation aroma in wines produced from grapes grown in the mountains near Santa Barbara. I though it was probably me projecting my image of the vineyard on the wine. But there is actually a good scientific explanation.

I also like that Clark Smith writes, "In grape monocultures, this factor plays less of a role." So it appears you get the most distinctive expression of terroir from vineyards out in the boondocks.

Cabernet Franc: it's not just for blending! It's also for blogging.

Winedavid39


quality posts: 200 Private Messages Winedavid39

Guest Blogger

winesmith wrote:Just for the record, I wasn't dissing American Pinot Noir at all. My comments apply equally to Burgundy. Crappy color is part of the grape's challenge. It may also be the essence of its charm, because it must be handled with much more skill, delicacy and attention to avoid disaster. The riddle of Pinot is a little like trying to capture a message in the 17 syllables of a haiku -- very difficult and very rewarding.

The consumer needs patience and openmindedness here which aren't required for Cabernet appreciation. In addition, there are different kinds of consumers who want different things, so you need to find a winemaker and/or region that's on your wavelength. Sonoma Coast wines appeal (in part) to the Sideways crowd, newcomer ex-Merlot drinkers who are looking for structure and color, and also to Collectors, who like solid, ageworthy wines which may not show well in youth but have good balance.

Other folks enjoy the impact of high alcohol and blousey aromas. Still others seek out "ethereal" Pinots, which carry you away with perfume and may not have much structure, and also wines of distinction which have a strong place identity -- I like 'em even when I don't like 'em.

The key is to link up with a region and/or winemaker who shares your aesthetic. I find Kent's wines incredibly reliable for what I'm after, and if I see one on a wine list, I snap it up.




Clark Smith? Cool. Welcome.

JOATMON


quality posts: 19 Private Messages JOATMON
woopdedoo wrote:Thanks. Very informative. Indeed I have several Carneros PNs and wasn't really sure why I liked them so much. Didn't really think of the fact that Carneros is really just a straight shot out to the Golden Gate.

Being in Michigan, it is a bit humorous to hear folks berate the weather in CA. But it is a bit strange that the SF area has its least comfortable weather during the summer due to the fog.



There is a rational explanation for that.

The California Central Valley runs pretty much through the middle of California. Most of our crops are grown there, as well as some other types of farming. In the summertime, the sun beats down and warms the air in the valley, which causes it to rise. As it rises, air from somewhere must flow in to replace it.

If you look at the central valley topology, it's a big bowl surrounded by mountains, except for one place: the Golden Gate where the main rivers draining the Central Valley reach the ocean. So, the only place air can come to replace the air in the Central Valley that has been heated and risen is through the Golden Gate.

Which creates some hella winds, and also sucks the marine fog layer from way offshore right into San Francisco and points east. Thus, the hotter the Central valley, the worse the winds in San Francisco.

Also, there is a huge wind farm at Altamont Pass east of San Francisco to take advantage of those winds, which works out well; the hotter the central valley the better the winds for the windmills to power all the air conditioners in the central valley.

Juvie: 30+24+4; Sellout: 6+7+0
Rags: 3+2+3
Drunk: 69+94+15 wine, 20+29+4 non-wine
Rugrat: 0+0+0; Refunded: 2+3+1
(as of 2011-03-02)

necyclone


quality posts: 0 Private Messages necyclone

Another experienced set of hands and taste bud explaining the how and why of what happens where wine is made. Kent, thanks for your input (I have enjoyed your wines thru the Woot machine) WD, thanks for getting these folks to help us flatlanders understand some of the nuance that goes into their art.

esperanto


quality posts: 3 Private Messages esperanto
wombativ wrote:Its a generally accepted characteristic of Pinot that it has low monomeric anthocyanin levels (the most important one being malvidin-3-glucoside which is responsible for the color of young wines). Starting with a low monomeric anthocyanin concentration means there is less of it available for the aging reactions that form the basis for older wine color (copigmentation, polymerized pigments, tannin/pigment complexes, etc). Some of these reactions also affect tanin aging (polymerization, etc). Thus, for the most part, a lot of that maturing potential is determined in the vineyard. Generally speaking, Pinot grown in cooler areas can form more monomeric anthocyanins than Pinot grown in warmer climates. Bulk Pinot growers in warm climates usually work around the color issue by blending in tinteurier grapes like rubired or alicante bouschet. However, you can still taste the difference in grape quality reflected in the final wine.



Nice post, good to see some chemistry talk.

Re: aging potential, I think there's something to be said for encouraging co-pigmentation during winemaking. Namely, (1) encouraging formation of aldehydes that will contribute to the A-T copigmentation (via oxygen) and (2) extracting anthocyanins and tannins from the skins.

Re: color in general, the color of a wine can have a large effect on its perception by the consumer. This study presented tasters with the same chardonnay undyed, dyed pink, and dyed red. Participants found more fruitiness and less complexity in the "rosé" and more body and complexity in the "red". Anecdotally, this confirmation bias is much greater in sommeliers.

first woot ever: Rinfrescante (before wine.woot!)
wine.woots:MandolinaCase, JanKris, EmergencyHoliday, Pedroncelli, Toothstejn, WorldWineChallenge, TyCaton, 101Wines, DustedValley, Wellington3pack, Bargetto, MacRostie

CellarTracker!: VinoVeritasVosLiberabit

Wine and Science in the Finger Lakes

MaskedMarvel


quality posts: 11 Private Messages MaskedMarvel
Winedavid39 wrote:Clark Smith? Cool. Welcome.



I swear I'd pay better than bandolier prices for a nice book of printed up Ramblings (an intro). Maybe make it a tasting book, organized by varietal, with reprinted labrat reports snooked in there to keep it w.w worthy...

...or at least a comp of Ramblings... I love this place..

Great read, KR!

bkarney


quality posts: 5 Private Messages bkarney

Kent, thank you for sharing your insight with us....especially considering it's my favorite grape from one of my favorite regions!

Like anyone else I buy my wine from many different places but one of the guys at the local ABC store is really pushing the One Thousand One PNs. Were these actually made by you or was it more like you provided the general direction for the wine (sourcing, blending, etc.)? I'll of course try them assuming you made them - I mean, your name alone could sell the wine! Which leads me to: Why isn't your name on it!? So, in short - Have I been missing out on some very affordable PNs (the Mendocino is on sale now for 14 bucks) made by yourself and should I leave for the store now!? Thank you again for sharing with us, your company is as wonderful as your wines!

CT

bhodilee


quality posts: 32 Private Messages bhodilee
MaskedMarvel wrote:I swear I'd pay better than bandolier prices for a nice book of printed up Ramblings (an intro). Maybe make it a tasting book, organized by varietal, with reprinted labrat reports snooked in there to keep it w.w worthy...

...or at least a comp of Ramblings... I love this place..

Great read, KR!



PB has the collected works of PW as a .pdf, see link in his profile.

Not sure if he will append SH and KR into that or not.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

– George Bernard Shaw, author (1856-1950)

wombativ


quality posts: 1 Private Messages wombativ
esperanto wrote:Nice post, good to see some chemistry talk.

Re: aging potential, I think there's something to be said for encouraging co-pigmentation during winemaking. Namely, (1) encouraging formation of aldehydes that will contribute to the A-T copigmentation (via oxygen) and (2) extracting anthocyanins and tannins from the skins.

Re: color in general, the color of a wine can have a large effect on its perception by the consumer. This study presented tasters with the same chardonnay undyed, dyed pink, and dyed red. Participants found more fruitiness and less complexity in the "rosé" and more body and complexity in the "red". Anecdotally, this confirmation bias is much greater in sommeliers.



1. At least to my understanding, aldehydes don't have a role in copigmentation. Binding between malvidin, acetaldehyde, and catechin is one of the three ways polymeric pigment (responsible for the long term color of wines) can be formed. Copigmentation results from the stacking of colorless monomeric phenols on top of malvidin (the colored monomeric phenol). This results in increased color intensity, usually seen as more of a purple hue in young red wines (up to 1 or 2 years). After this however, this copigments will disassociate and be incorporated into polymeric pigment. In the case of Pinot, where there is much less tannin from the skins for polymeric pigment to be formed, the long term color comes from its anthocyanin content, which will oxidize to brownish hues over time. In general, I'm leery of anything that would suggest wanting to increase aldehydes in wine (since they are main consequence of wine oxidation). Aldehydes bind free SO2 (leaving less molecular SO2 to combat microbes) and are generally considered a flaw since they can be smelled once free SO2 has been depleted (you can probably guess I'm not a big fan of microoxidation and intentional aeration).

2. I'd agree that anything you can do to extract extra tannin is a good thing for long term Pinot color, but as mentioned before, its due to polymeric pigment formation, not copigmentation. The problem is that the studies out there on methods of this are not particularly conclusive. I've seen lots of published studies on both sides of the cold soak issue (and met many wine makers who swear by them). The use of pectinases seems to be effective, but comes with its own set of issues. Higher temp fermenation also seems to increase extraction, but will kill most native fermentations (which seems to be the trend for adding complexity to Pinot these days).

And you are completely right about color bias. Although generally speaking, there aren't too many red wines you can see the color of until after you've made the purchase. I'm sure I'll have a lot more literature on the topic after taking Prof Heymann's Wine Sensory Evaluation lab next quarter.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
wombativ wrote:1. At least to my understanding, aldehydes don't have a role in copigmentation. Binding between malvidin, acetaldehyde, and catechin is one of the three ways polymeric pigment (responsible for the long term color of wines) can be formed. Copigmentation results from the stacking of colorless monomeric phenols on top of malvidin (the colored monomeric phenol). This results in increased color intensity, usually seen as more of a purple hue in young red wines (up to 1 or 2 years). After this however, this copigments will disassociate and be incorporated into polymeric pigment. In the case of Pinot, where there is much less tannin from the skins for polymeric pigment to be formed, the long term color comes from its anthocyanin content, which will oxidize to brownish hues over time. In general, I'm leery of anything that would suggest wanting to increase aldehydes in wine (since they are main consequence of wine oxidation). Aldehydes bind free SO2 (leaving less molecular SO2 to combat microbes) and are generally considered a flaw since they can be smelled once free SO2 has been depleted (you can probably guess I'm not a big fan of microoxidation and intentional aeration).

2. I'd agree that anything you can do to extract extra tannin is a good thing for long term Pinot color, but as mentioned before, its due to polymeric pigment formation, not copigmentation. The problem is that the studies out there on methods of this are not particularly conclusive. I've seen lots of published studies on both sides of the cold soak issue (and met many wine makers who swear by them). The use of pectinases seems to be effective, but comes with its own set of issues. Higher temp fermenation also seems to increase extraction, but will kill most native fermentations (which seems to be the trend for adding complexity to Pinot these days).

And you are completely right about color bias. Although generally speaking, there aren't too many red wines you can see the color of until after you've made the purchase. I'm sure I'll have a lot more literature on the topic after taking Prof Heymann's Wine Sensory Evaluation lab next quarter.



My picture is a little different. It is certain that anthocyanins are not stable until polymerized, but one must bear in mind that they are almost completely insoluble in 13% alcohol, and can only be extracted in any quantity by sandwiching with monomeric phenols (mostly flavenoids but also gaelic acid from wood ellagitannins seems to work) to form copigmentation colloids. It's a two step process -- first get extracted, then get polymerized.

It is certainly true that aldehydes play no role in copigmentation, but I have seen plenty of evidence they do play an important role in the formation of stable, polymerized pigment through the formation, it is believed, of covalent aldehyde bridges to tannins (a C=O linked to the anthocyanin and, say, a catechin, both at the 6 position, it is speculated).

The placebo effect of color is no doubt in play. However, anthocyanins play a critical role in wine texture because they cannot daisy chain as part of a polymer, but rather terminate polymerization, limiting polymer size. Thus the more monomeric color, the softer and finer the tannins.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
gcdyersb wrote:Wow, that article on PS diversity is really interesting. Perhaps most interesting in this:

"Who knows the sources of aromatic diversity? One aspect seems obvious: the transfer of aromatic substances from native vegetation to the wax cuticle which surrounds every berry."

I have actually picked up sage and a dry vegetation aroma in wines produced from grapes grown in the mountains near Santa Barbara. I though it was probably me projecting my image of the vineyard on the wine. But there is actually a good scientific explanation.

I also like that Clark Smith writes, "In grape monocultures, this factor plays less of a role." So it appears you get the most distinctive expression of terroir from vineyards out in the boondocks.



It's amazing how little attention is paid to this aspect of terroir.

Clark

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
Loweeel wrote:Which is why I found it very surprising that they were absent from those surveyed for "sources of regional diversity in petite sirah" -- which I flat-out LOVED, despite some fairly minor quibbles about the sampling selection. KRPS02 is my "Come to the Dark Side" wine .

I realize that time was limited, but it seemed like Paso was relatively overrepresented, while Columbia Valley Washington State, RRV, and the entire Central Coast were all "characteristic" based on a single wine. (and none from Oregon, Pennsylvania, or Baja -- though I suspect that availability was a big factor for the lack of non-Cali PS)



I share your angst. Unfortunately we can only taste what is entered, and we only write profiles based on the proportion that qualify for Best of Appellation status. In this work, there really is no such thing as a region being over-represented. My hope is that my mission to write a guide to American varietals, particularly Petite Sirah, will encourage wineries to continue to submit samples for review, which will allow us to flesh out and define the regional profiles. I hope everybody will help out by urging your fav's to submit for evaluation.

Clark Smith