trifecta


quality posts: 74 Private Messages trifecta
bobrush12866 wrote:TT: When is NY shipping going to be fixed??? I bought WineSmith wines before on several occasions and now it says, there is no NY shipping....What Gives??

Apparently nothing can be shipped to NY...I will NOT be very happy if Crucible sells out!!....not to mention a few others as well....like the Double Dare Whites and the Lodi Cab...

I have a $320 order in the cart and can't check out....Boo!.....Hiss!

This NY shipping snafu has been going on for several days now and it NEEDS TO BE FIXED!....I really don't know why it hasn't been fixed yet!...It's very frustrating at this end!!!...wine u want and can't buy!



No clue on whats up with the NY shipping, but one recommendation would be to call Clark directly. He may be able to work something out for you.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
bobrush12866 wrote:TT: When is NY shipping going to be fixed??? I bought WineSmith wines before on several occasions and now it says, there is no NY shipping....What Gives??

Apparently nothing can be shipped to NY...I will NOT be very happy if Crucible sells out!!....not to mention a few others as well....like the Double Dare Whites and the Lodi Cab...

I have a $320 order in the cart and can't check out....Boo!.....Hiss!

This NY shipping snafu has been going on for several days now and it NEEDS TO BE FIXED!....I really don't know why it hasn't been fixed yet!...It's very frustrating at this end!!!...wine u want and can't buy!



I have a call in to wine.woot on this and the delayed shipping request. It may be that I didn't correctly fill out the ship-to States. Is there anybody else out there with a similar issue in another State?

Just to let you know that I have your back on this. Even if we sell out Crucible or the other items you mentioned, I will be sure you get them.

chipgreen


quality posts: 202 Private Messages chipgreen
winesmith wrote:I have a call in to wine.woot on this and the delayed shipping request. It may be that I didn't correctly fill out the ship-to States. Is there anybody else out there with a similar issue in another State?

Just to let you know that I have your back on this. Even if we sell out Crucible or the other items you mentioned, I will be sure you get them.


It's a NY specific issue that cropped up the other day but no details were provided except that WD is all over it and trying to work it out ASAP. Hopefully there will be some additional information by Monday.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
chipgreen wrote:It's a NY specific issue that cropped up the other day but no details were provided except that WD is all over it and trying to work it out ASAP. Hopefully there will be some additional information by Monday.


Thanks, Chip. New York is probably my most important market. WineSmith was designed for the NYC market and for the first 13 years, I sold it all in Manhattan and Brooklyn, plus a drop or two in Jersey. I love New York, and the sommeliers there are very Eurocentric, so they've always appreciated my style. Over the years I was also able to acquire some good consulting clients on Long Island.

Now with the book coming out, which has a lot of technical information in it, I've discovered that besides winemakers, the main audience is the sort of people who have either a professional or a driving personal interest in wine and care about the issues, and are also the sort who love to read Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker, who writes on the human side of some very technical issues for the inquiring layman.

New York is also where many of the reviewers of wine books are based, so I need to be there frequently for interviews, which are better done with wine examples in front of us rather than telephone or email exchanges.

So rest assured that I won't rest until the New York wooters are taken care of even if I have to schlep the stuff there myself.

Mark Tobin of Mattebella has generously offered his winery as a venue for a book signing party at which I will do some wine and music pairing, talk about the book and play a few songs from my upcoming CD. If you have not done so, please register on winesmithwines.com and I'll be able to keep you posted on these events throughout the country.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith

Some notes about Postmodern Winemaking. There is a growing divide, a distrust between winelovers and winemakers that wasn’t present in the 1970s when I cut my teeth. Winemakers are, quite rightly, perceived as less than fully candid about what they do and the dilemmas they face. This isn’t because they are dishonest, but more because it’s oh so complex.

My goal with this book is to heal that gap by articulating a winemaker’s perspective. Sometimes this involves dragging consumers kicking and screaming through technical issues, the understanding of which is critical to an appreciation of the winemaker’s choices.

Other times it involves just blurting out the inconvenient truths:
-natural fermentations are very high in biogenic amine allergens and carcinogen precursors;
-purchasing new barrels to flavor wine is fiscally and environmentally irresponsible and only done for show;
-electricity and stainless steel were far greater disruptions to traditional practices than reverse osmosis and micro-oxygenation.

Here are a few more excerpts:

Chapter 1 “Winemaking is a branch of cuisine—the ultimate slow food—and has much in common with the making of sauces, because the soulfulness of flavor integration is a result of refining its structure.”

Chapter 3 “Oxygenation at an early stage does not shorten the wine’s life; paradoxically it increases anti-oxidative power by stimulating latent phenolic reactivity. A wine can absorb five times as much oxygen at 59˚F as it can at 50˚F, so a single degree’s difference changes everything in a cellar.”

Chapter 5 “Vine balance is the economic meeting place for winemakers and growers.”

Chapter 7 “Better competency in both the vineyard and the winery is increasing the frequency with which we encounter reduction. Wines vary a thousand-fold in their anti-oxidative vigor. Because acetic acid bacteria are not inhibited by the pigment-bound SO2, phenolic vigor is all that protects young red wine.”

Chapter 10 “Well-formed structure can render Brett aromas into positive sensory elements. Brett management is the central problem in the making of serious wine. Modern enological practices cause Brett and exacerbate its effects. To master Brett management is to understand what red wine really is.”

Chapter 12 “Courageous fools who perceive the need for deeper work are continually breaking new ground from which we all benefit.”

Chapter 21 “Biodynamics sounds nuts to me. But so does the String Theory. Its existence offers a delicious opportunity for scientists to test their true mettle.”

Chapter 22 “The Natural Wine movement has proven itself incapable of articulating its beliefs. The luddite agenda of traditionalists and collectors is not compatible with the need for radical change stressed by the health conscious and environmentalists. To restore our tradition of candor and openness, consumers will need to be brought up to speed on recent changes in winemaking philosophy.”

Chapter 25 “Music pairing can greatly improve your chances of enjoying a wine. Wine is liquid music, for it has the capacity to embody a spectrum of emotional modalities, to exhibit harmony or dissonance, and it has the power to transport us from care and circumstance.”

As I’ve said, all wooters who purchase this offer are entitled to a signed copy at the Amazon price as soon as the next batch is printed in September.

coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj
otolith wrote:Really want to buy the Crucible, but don't want it to ship for a while, as it's going to be really hot the next week. Any chance you can hold this for a while before shipping?



Getting hot in the Twin Cities? Must be time for the State Fair!

I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

How on earth did I get 7 QPs?

bsevern


quality posts: 110 Private Messages bsevern
winesmith wrote:Some notes about Postmodern Winemaking.
Other times it involves just blurting out the inconvenient truths:

-purchasing new barrels to flavor wine is fiscally and environmentally irresponsible and only done for show;



This could well be true, but still one has to wonder why smart old world style cab makers like Cathy Corison would elect to purchase $1,000+ oak barrels if it didn't contribute to the overall quality of her wine?

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
bsevern wrote:This could well be true, but still one has to wonder why smart old world style cab makers like Cathy Corison would elect to purchase $1,000+ oak barrels if it didn't contribute to the overall quality of her wine?



I have nothing but the deepest respect for Cathy, my classmate at Davis. Still I think it is fair to observe that most masters, of which I could name a large number of my colleagues, build upon past practices in many areas and concentrate their attention where they think it will do the most good. Barrels are something with which we have a lot of accumulated experience, and I expect that she feels that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Same reason we all still use glass, despite its appalling carbon footprint.

And yes, you have to figure image in. Once in a while you get somebody like Plumpjack taking a stand for an innovation, in their case for screw caps on expensive wine. But as you point out, Cathy is already a crusader simply in the area of style. Outside these adventures, we all tend to go with what works, for the devil we know.

When I first filed my patent for alcohol adjustment and VA reduction via reverse osmosis, it was astonishing to me that in the whole history of the U.S. Patent Office, there had been filed only 150 patents having to do with wine, about one per year. Now, you can be sure that in Silicon Valley there have been 150 patents filed since breakfast.

This suggests that people don't fundamentally get into the wine industry to reinvent winemaking. They want to do something old. We are an archaic and hidebound lot, who still refer to sulfurous compounds as "mercaptans" when the rest of the scientific community abandoned that terminology a century ago.

In "Lila," Robert Persig's sequel to "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," he identifies two kinds of good in the world which he calls static and dynamic quality. The Spanish Inquisition is an example of the collision of the ideals of making things better, vs keeping them from going down the drain. Nothing annoys the Bishop so much as the presence of a Saint in the parish!

Most of the great winemakers are static quality-oriented. Maybe it's my MIT background, or maybe my admiration for the life of Ben Franklin, that have led me to the other camp.

In any case, I believe the time is ripe for a paradigm shift. Postmodernism is, for winemakers, a call to rethink. The wines I make have a limited and transitory impact. If I am to make any permanent difference in this world, it will be through innovative thinking and clear writing in service to a world where a broader range of winegrowing regions, styles, varieties and techniques is honored and respected, and an open dialogue exists generally between winelovers and winemakers.

The woot forum stands as a prime example that this is an achievable goal.

coynedj


quality posts: 7 Private Messages coynedj

WD: Please make sure that Clark offers wines here on a regular basis, just so we can read his posts.

I started out on Burgundy but soon hit the harder stuff. Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues

How on earth did I get 7 QPs?

rjquillin


quality posts: 182 Private Messages rjquillin

Clark,

I seem to remember a thread where you discussed the same wine adjusted to different ABV and/or pH levels.

Is that still available anywhere?
I'm still new at this and trying to sort out how these things interact and affect what I'm tasting, and something like that sounds spot on as a learning aid.

CT

klezman


quality posts: 129 Private Messages klezman
bsevern wrote:This could well be true, but still one has to wonder why smart old world style cab makers like Cathy Corison would elect to purchase $1,000+ oak barrels if it didn't contribute to the overall quality of her wine?



If you're going to ensure the quality of your barrels, don't you need to purchase new ones to keep things going form time to time? I don't think Cathy uses much new oak in her wines.

2014: 42 bottles. Last wine.woot: 2012 Iron Horse Estate Chardonnay
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
rjquillin wrote:Clark,

I seem to remember a thread where you discussed the same wine adjusted to different ABV and/or pH levels.

Is that still available anywhere?
I'm still new at this and trying to sort out how these things interact and affect what I'm tasting, and something like that sounds spot on as a learning aid.



The pH topic is very complex. Unlike titratable acidity, which we taste as tartness, crispness or sourness, you can't directly taste pH, which measures the free proton concentration in equilibrium as it is in the barrel. As soon as you put wine in your mouth, you greatly disturb this equilibrium, so you can't taste pH directly. However, the pH is essentially the gas pedal of aging, and it affects everything about the wine's chemistry and microbiology as it matures.

The scale is logarithmic and kind of backwards. pH 3.0, which is on the low end for wine, actually means high free acidity, which suppresses development (think 10 MPH. If you're making "safe" wine, you tend to make wines on this end of the scale.

pH 4.0, which is on the high end of the range, actually means a ten-fold lower free acidity than pH 3.0 (think 100 MPH).

Though controversial, my French gurus who taught me that red wines should be made at about 3.7 to 3.85 pH, which is pretty high by UC Davis standards. This allows the phenols to react with oxygen and consume it, thus protecting the wine from oxidation, and also allows the wine to mature rather than to be in a frozen evolution, which is more the way we like our whites, for which pH 3.2-3.4 is recommended. For more on this, see my earlier comments concerning Pinot Noir and my website Vinovation.com.

There are two whole chapters in my book (11 and 25) about alcohol sweet spots, which are just one example of the mysterious non-linear behavior of wine when you blend it. It seems to ring chords of harmony when tuned up just right, and can be harsh and dissonant when very slightly altered in any way. You can observe this if you are at a tasting and rinsing your glass with water. The wines will all seem atrocious until you use wine to rinse out the water and taste again - then the good ones, the balanced ones, will become much more round and harmonious.

This sounds really crazy, and you really have to try it yourself. The neat thing is that, like music, there is pretty general agreement between people about what's harmonious, just as it's easy to tell if a piano or a guitar is out of tune. Much more on this subject at postmodernwinemaking.com.

I have a lot of websites. They are all organized in one place at WhoIsClarkSmith.com.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
klezman wrote:If you're going to ensure the quality of your barrels, don't you need to purchase new ones to keep things going form time to time? I don't think Cathy uses much new oak in her wines.



I visited J.L.Chave in St. Joseph just after his 2006 Hermitage had received 100 points from Parker. I wanted to know his secrets, so I asked him who were his favorite coopers. He looked puzzled, sincerely wanting to help me, but he finally just shrugged and said, "I just don't remember. My grandfather bought all my barrels."

Mind you, Chave's Syrahs are very complete wines, in no need of any enhancement from oak extractives. They do desperately need time and oxygen, and an old barrel is better than a new one for that, because the residence time isn't limited by excessive extraction.

With care, a barrel can last many, many years. California winemakers make a lot of mistakes that ruin barrels, like trying to preserve dry barrels with SO2 gas in order to prevent storage water from leeching out their precious oaky flavors, but in my view, this would be an advantage because the surface flavors of toast and vanilla are soon used up and all that is left is the pithy green uncured, untoasted wood the wine eventually extracts from deep in the stave.

I like my barrels really old. Then if I need, say, tannin for structure, cofactors for pigment extraction, anti-oxidants for weak wines, or any of the aromatic enhancements like coconut, clove, vanilla or espresso, I'll do it with a good reliable chip that's been cured and roasted like a coffee bean. In my wines, these nuances are never the main act, but supplements which should be invisible, filling in the gaps and enhancing the grapes flavors of place the way a tiny bit of garlic brings out the flavor of a dish without upstaging the flavors of terroir.

Fortunately for me, most wineries don't see it this way, and they will sell off their barrels once they have been exhausted of flavor. The going rate for a good sound French oak barrel is about $50. Some people scrape and re-toast these barrels, but to me, that defeats the whole purpose.

It is true that used barrels spread Brettanomyces. But my approach is to allow a microbial balance which lets Brett grow to its natural level, well integrated by good structure. I do this by encouraging competing beneficial organisms by keeping my alcohols low and my cellar temperatures above 60F, exactly the opposite of the modern draconian microbial repression strategies most other winemakers use. This, of course, is the subject of another chapter in Postmodern Winemaking entitled "IBM: Integrated Brett Management."

bolligra


quality posts: 33 Private Messages bolligra
winesmith wrote:
Since the 2010 bottling seemed a little undeveloped, I got curious about its potential in wood, and I elected to hold back a few neutral barrels of this wine to see how much age it would take and what would happen. Amazingly, the wine continued to improve and develop layers and nuances until I finally bottled it this summer, after fully 78 months of barrel aging!
.



Clark, is the Lodi cab in the offer from the 2010 bottling or the recent one this summer?

In for one regardless, thanks!


As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

losthighwayz


quality posts: 61 Private Messages losthighwayz
winesmith wrote:I visited J.L.Chave in St. Joseph just after his 2006 Hermitage had received 100 points from Parker. I wanted to know his secrets, so I asked him who were his favorite coopers. He looked puzzled, sincerely wanting to help me, but he finally just shrugged and said, "I just don't remember. My grandfather bought all my barrels."

Mind you, Chave's Syrahs are very complete wines, in no need of any enhancement from oak extractives. They do desperately need time and oxygen, and an old barrel is better than a new one for that, because the residence time isn't limited by excessive extraction.

With care, a barrel can last many, many years. California winemakers make a lot of mistakes that ruin barrels, like trying to preserve dry barrels with SO2 gas in order to prevent storage water from leeching out their precious oaky flavors, but in my view, this would be an advantage because the surface flavors of toast and vanilla are soon used up and all that is left is the pithy green uncured, untoasted wood the wine eventually extracts from deep in the stave.

I like my barrels really old. Then if I need, say, tannin for structure, cofactors for pigment extraction, anti-oxidants for weak wines, or any of the aromatic enhancements like coconut, clove, vanilla or espresso, I'll do it with a good reliable chip that's been cured and roasted like a coffee bean. In my wines, these nuances are never the main act, but supplements which should be invisible, filling in the gaps and enhancing the grapes flavors of place the way a tiny bit of garlic brings out the flavor of a dish without upstaging the flavors of terroir.

Fortunately for me, most wineries don't see it this way, and they will sell off their barrels once they have been exhausted of flavor. The going rate for a good sound French oak barrel is about $50. Some people scrape and re-toast these barrels, but to me, that defeats the whole purpose.

It is true that used barrels spread Brettanomyces. But my approach is to allow a microbial balance which lets Brett grow to its natural level, well integrated by good structure. I do this by encouraging competing beneficial organisms by keeping my alcohols low and my cellar temperatures above 60F, exactly the opposite of the modern draconian microbial repression strategies most other winemakers use. This, of course, is the subject of another chapter in Postmodern Winemaking entitled "IBM: Integrated Brett Management."



Thanks for your insight! Will you be heading to SoCal anytime soon? Im sure a good number of wooters this way would like to meet up and taste through your portfolio and engage in vino dialogue. You mentioned wood chips for aromas. Ive read somehere on these forums that chips are frowned upon by most winemakers. Why is that? Second, are all wine aromas derived from chips and/ or barrels? If so, seems like winemakers have huge leeway in manipulating wine! I always thought aromas, taste, and color came from manipulation of the grapes via chemistry with a little vanilla or caramel notes from toasted oak barrels. Am I completely off base?

"The older I get the better I was"

rjquillin


quality posts: 182 Private Messages rjquillin
rjquillin wrote:Clark,

I seem to remember a thread where you discussed the same wine adjusted to different ABV and/or pH levels.

Is that still available anywhere?
I'm still new at this and trying to sort out how these things interact and affect what I'm tasting, and something like that sounds spot on as a learning aid.
winesmith wrote:The pH topic is very complex. Unlike titratable acidity, which we taste as tartness, crispness or sourness, you can't directly taste pH, which measures the free proton concentration in equilibrium as it is in the barrel. As soon as you put wine in your mouth, you greatly disturb this equilibrium, so you can't taste pH directly. However, the pH is essentially the gas pedal of aging, and it affects everything about the wine's chemistry and microbiology as it matures.

Yes, my pH question was too general, and I do appreciate the details. At times it's all too easy to forget whom we are addressing; you are not a tasting room bimbo.

I seem to remember a thread where you discussed the same wine adjusted to different ABV and/or pH levels.

Is that still available anywhere?


While poorly worded, was meant to inquire if you still and the adjusted wine available for sale/tasting. To allow us to experience first hand, ahh, taste, how we perceive these adjustments.

CT

randysanders


quality posts: 5 Private Messages randysanders

NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
I'm from the Lodi area and love Lodi wines. But...I live in NY, and can't buy! And the Winemaker involvement in this offer is beyond helpful...in the way that tempts me to buy.
WD, please help!

drewballa


quality posts: 0 Private Messages drewballa
winesmith wrote:That's an important question. I'll get you an answer, though it's the weekend and it may take me 'til Monday.



The high temperatures over the next week is the only thing holding me back as well....hopefully we hear something before this sells out!

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
bolligra wrote:Clark, is the Lodi cab in the offer from the 2010 bottling or the recent one this summer?

In for one regardless, thanks!


Love the WKRP quote - funniest episode ever, though we date ourselves.

Yes, the Lodi 2006 Cab is from the bottling this summer. A very special wine in the old style when we weren't in such a rush, ageworthiness was venerated, and turkeys could fly.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
losthighwayz wrote:Thanks for your insight! Will you be heading to SoCal anytime soon? Im sure a good number of wooters this way would like to meet up and taste through your portfolio and engage in vino dialogue.



Yes, I have a new broker in SoCal and would very much like to run down there in the near future. I'd be very grateful if any of you interested in partying would email me at clark@winemaking411.com.

bolligra


quality posts: 33 Private Messages bolligra
winesmith wrote:Love the WKRP quote - funniest episode ever, though we date ourselves.

Yes, the Lodi 2006 Cab is from the bottling this summer. A very special wine in the old style when we weren't in such a rush, ageworthiness was venerated, and turkeys could fly.



😝


As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

wkdpanda


quality posts: 11 Private Messages wkdpanda

I am heading for wine country in two days. I don't have cellar space.

Sigh
Clark's intelligent, informative conversations. Clark's dedication to restrained wine. Clark's really good wine.

Dang nabbit! I'm in for basically one of everything.

----------------
Andy the Wicked Panda

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
losthighwayz wrote:You mentioned wood chips for aromas. Ive read somehere on these forums that chips are frowned upon by most winemakers. Why is that? Second, are all wine aromas derived from chips and/ or barrels? If so, seems like winemakers have huge leeway in manipulating wine! I always thought aromas, taste, and color came from manipulation of the grapes via chemistry with a little vanilla or caramel notes from toasted oak barrels. Am I completely off base?



Let me summarize Chapter 4 in Postmodern Winemaking, The Seven Functions Of Oak.

When I got into the industry, the only barrel alternative was some really crappy uncured chips called Oakmore - full of sawdust and plankiness. This created a bad attitude about chips from most winemakers, myself included.

French oak barrels are made from 200-year-old trees planted by Napoleon for a future French navy. When the logs are sawn to length and the bark and heartwood discarded, about 25% of the good wood that is left is suitable for staves for barrels - the rest is discarded. This is a terrible shame, because it means we are destroying these trees four times as fast as we need to. There is nothing wrong with the rest of the wood except it consists of the odd pieces between the staves and can't be fashioned into a piece of fine furniture that holds liquid.

There are many uses for oak extractives beyond flavor - extracting color, anti-oxidative properties, tannin for structure and so forth. After Patrick Ducournau at Oenodev invented micro-oxygenation, he wanted the use of these capabilities, but thought the wastefulness of barrel production was deplorable. And he saw the opportunity to make better use of the waste. He set up a company in the 1990s that set as a goal to make a the finest and most consistent chip that can be made.

What resulted was a line of about a dozen products: all air-cured for 1-2 years just like a stave, some untoasted, the rest roasted like coffee beans to different temperatures to accentuate different flavors such as coconut, clove, vanilla, toffee or espresso, available in mixes that are similar to the complexity of a barrel, where these differences are obtained because the wood lies at varying distances to the fire.

On one line of products, the Swiss decaffination process is used to leach out tannins, and these are available for use in very small quantities late in ageing to tweak aromatics.

Since then, there have been dozens of companies trying to imitate Ducournau's chips, make them cheaper, or sell them with sexier-sounding formats like staves, beans, balls, spirals, and javelins. It's largely BS because a chip is arguably the best format - not too large to be consistent (the most expensive format is staves, and they are laughably inconsistent), and not too small that they act as an adsorbent, stripping the wine of aromatics, as oak dust is used.

This is a rapidly evolving area, and more and more winemakers are learning how to play. The ones who are not playing are largely motivated by a clinging to tradition - remember Thomas Jefferson was afraid to give up his slaves. But consumers are also to blame, because they have made it plain that anyone who is honest with them will pay a price.

Now let me quote directly from my book about this most destructive concept you have mentioned:

ma•nip•u•la•tion n.

1. treatment or operation with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner.
2. Shrewd or devious management by artful, unfair, or insidious means, especially to one's own advantage.

I’m going to assume that readers are all in favor of wines made according to definition #1. Those are not grapes in that glass. As everyone knows, wine is perhaps the most manipulated of all foods, and that’s just what we want. Pick ‘em, crush ‘em, ferment ‘em, press ‘em, age ‘em, bottle ‘em, and nobody minds. Those aren’t, per se, offending manipulations.

So I don’t think I am going out on a limb to interpret the desire to avoid manipulation as somehow connected to the moralistic accusations embodied in definition #2. The ire and vitriol which characterize this debate have the taste of betrayal and broken agreements.

My writing, teaching and consulting concerns working with wine in a skillful manner. What, exactly, is unfair or insidious about trying to make wine skillfully? What are the rules I ought not break?

An honest, open debate on this topic would have been well-settled years ago. Proponents of the new techniques would present their wines and skeptics would taste them and discuss their reactions. That’s what Wolfgang Puck does on TV when he shows off sous vide technology or freezes cheese with liquid nitrogen. It’s fun.

But in winemaking, none of this is happening. Unlike the free and open ‘70s and ‘80s, winemakers are lying low and keeping mum while paparazzi fire live ammo over their heads. Meanwhile, the gap is widening, and consumers can smell the inauthenticity a mile away. Benign neglect does not make the best wine. Vins de terroir take a lot of effort, a sort of intensive doing nothing. If you want winemakers to be as straight with you about their practices as I am, don’t lead with a slur.

My recommendation is that you put this offensive language on the shelf along with 404 - Page not found, kike and Pollack. I’m confident we can put enmity behind us once we realize that all the players are good guys who want the same things.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
rjquillin wrote:Yes, my pH question was too general, and I do appreciate the details. At times it's all too easy to forget whom we are addressing; you are not a tasting room bimbo.

I seem to remember a thread where you discussed the same wine adjusted to different ABV and/or pH levels.

Is that still available anywhere?


While poorly worded, was meant to inquire if you still and the adjusted wine available for sale/tasting. To allow us to experience first hand, ahh, taste, how we perceive these adjustments.



Ah, I think you are referring to the 1999 Deiner Vineyard Syrah series from Fresno State Winery. This was a wine picked at high brix and a portion of it alcohol-adjusted, then back blended in various proportions to achieve 31 different wines in 0.1% increments from 12.5% to 15.5%, and the four points of harmony bottled along with the original in a 5-pack that was reviewed by Tom Hill and many others.

In Chapter 25, Liquid Music, I show the experimental preference graph for the four sweet spots we obtained from a panel of 22 judges. In between these sweet spots, the wines were obviously flawed. This is just one of thousands of such experiments done at Vinovation over the last twenty years.

Nobody else I know of bottles a sweet spot series as a commercial product - too geeky and too "manipulative" for the present climate. However, there are two ways to do the experiment yourself.

1. The Chardonnay Double Dare package contains two vintages that were originally about 14.8% and were de-alcoholized via reverse osmosis to 12.9%. You can get yourself some Everclear or high proof vodka and set up a series, adjusting 50 ml aliquots up in 0.1% increments with a graduated 1.00 ml pipette to produce 20 wines at 13.0, 13.1 and so forth. Then taste them with your friends. You'll find a balanced Meursault style in the mid 13's and a "California Montrachet" in the low 14's. In between, the wines will be astringent and disharmonious, and you find general agreement on this among your fellows.

2. The other way to do this is to invite me to a book signing affair, and I'll bring along some samples.

You could actually approach any number of your winemaking friends to show you this technique. Good luck with that. They would have to be pretty good chums to even admit they have done it. You can thank the accusation of "manipulation" for that lack of candor.

klezman


quality posts: 129 Private Messages klezman
winesmith wrote:Yes, I have a new broker in SoCal and would very much like to run down there in the near future. I'd be very grateful if any of you interested in partying would email me at clark@winemaking411.com.



If you're here we will organize a gathering around it!

2014: 42 bottles. Last wine.woot: 2012 Iron Horse Estate Chardonnay
2013: 66 bottles, 2012: 91 bottles, 2011: 92 bottles, 2010: 74 bottles, 2009: 30 bottles, 2008: 3 bottles My CT

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
klezman wrote:If you're here we will organize a gathering around it!



Cool. I'd be most grateful if you can shoot me an email to clark@winemaking411.com so I can send you details when available.

Many thanks,

Clark

rjquillin


quality posts: 182 Private Messages rjquillin
winesmith wrote:Ah, I think you are referring to the 1999 Deiner Vineyard Syrah series from Fresno State Winery. This was a wine picked at high brix and a portion of it alcohol-adjusted, then back blended in various proportions to achieve 31 different wines in 0.1% increments from 12.5% to 15.5%, and the four points of harmony bottled along with the original in a 5-pack that was reviewed by Tom Hill and many others.

That sounds like it could be what I recall.
Well, I've got 5G of 190 lab ethanol. That should work, now, to get some of your samples currently on sale.

Thanks,
And I'll be with Klez when you visit.

Are your wines available for pick-up, in lieu of shipment?
Not the woot offering here, but your other wines.

CT

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
rjquillin wrote:
Are your wines available for pick-up, in lieu of shipment?
Not the woot offering here, but your other wines.



Yes, pick-up at Pack N Ship in Windsor is free. It's best to call us at 707-237-7000 to arrange will call. You may need to leave your number and a time to call you back.

If you decide to order on line at WineSmithWines,com, use IKNOWCLARK as a discount code for 20% off everything except the book and the sampler. Orders of a case or more get an additional 20% off that (total 36%). You also get free shipping over one case.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith

I’d like to say a few things about the 2006 Sonoma Cabernet Franc that’s in the Postmodern Sampler.

I’ve spoken of the difficulties of Pinot Noir, but it’s a cakewalk compared to Cabernet Franc. It’s usually grown and vinified identically to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, resulting in thin, grainy wines with bell pepper aromas and poor color, or in France, with wines which as Pascal Ribereau-Gayon put it to me, “are so refined that they forget to exist.” He believed that if we could learn to tame it, that Cab Franc was the one grape in which America could outdo France.

To be sure, CF varies more widely in character and style, is more subject to and reflective of terroir influences, than any other grape.

I took on this variety in 1993 to show my stuff. I have learned the importance of these principles:

1. Vine balance. The vine must be held back by a limiting soil which transfers its aggressive life energy into root development rather than canopy. Rocky soils are excellent, and a lush cover crop can also be used to keep the vine in check through competition at the surface. Sites with high UV are also helpful in bringing out fruit aromatics and discouraging the vegetal pyrazines symptomatic of shaded fruit.

2. Ripeness is a tricky business. Cab Franc does not rot easily and can be hung into rains. It also has a fairly wide picking window in which color and flavor development has taken place and deterioration is still in check. But each site has a different proclivity for reductive behavior, and hang time is an essential time to set the wine’s trajectory, which can sometimes necessitate half a decade to resolve in the cellar.

3. The right vineyard mix needs to be foreseen and lined up before harvest. Most Cabernet Franc vineyards are by themselves incomplete, requiring blending. Some vineyards, those with water availability, can be fruity and feminine, lacking structure. Others will lack fruit and be all structure.

4. Cabernet Franc does not readily extract its color, and benefits from cofactors in the fermenter.

5. CF is perhaps the most reductive wine, even more than Syrah. This is unexpected from its moderate tannin load, and owes much to its high minerality – that buzz in the finish resembling acidity or electricity. We don’t know what causes this sensation, but it is clearly a source of reduction and longevity.

My 2006 Sonoma Cab Franc is a blend of two Geyserville vineyards practically in sight of one another, but that could not be more different. It’s the dynamic tension between these two characters, a sort of yin and yang, that makes this wine sing. 72% is from Joe Ramazotti’s patch on the alluvial fan just north of town, where he has to fight the water from the Russian River by letting the cover crop go crazy and whacking back the canopy incessantly. The result is a lush, very feminine, plummy wine with little structure, much like a Grenache.

Across Highway 101 is Kenny Kahn’s Blue Rock, planted on serpentine soils (high magnesium toxic to vines) which produces spindly, struggling vines with angular, mean-spirited tannins, so that 18% is sufficient to frame the Ramazotti’s sweet core of fruit.
I fleshed out the blend with an additional 10% of the Lodi Cab Sauv from Peterson Farms.

I used air-cured untoasted oak chips from the forest of Alliers to help extraction in the fermenter, then submitted the wine to a month of early micro-oxygenation to fix the color. After 27 months ensconced in small French cooperage, the cuveé developed intense spice aromas and a mineral energy classically associated with Chinon wines, along with the graceful structure and roundness more often seen in Cab Francs from St. Emillion.

Bright and firm, our Franc offers a mouthful of spicy flavor and depth which loves firelight, wild mushrooms and roasted fowl. This wine is to be enjoyed now and can age gracefully for five years or more in a well-tended cellar. My favorite wine and music combo, which I demonstrated for Chip and Andrew, is to get this wine in the dark, set something on fire, and blast out Bruce Springsteen’s Jungleland.

I only have ten cases left of this wine. We are putting a bottle in the sampler case, which is limited to 48 sales, so after that we’ll have six cases for sale at WineSmithWines.com. Well, five. I need one for myself.

rjquillin


quality posts: 182 Private Messages rjquillin
winesmith wrote:Yes, pick-up at Pack N Ship in Windsor is free. It's best to call us at 707-237-7000 to arrange will call. You may need to leave your number and a time to call you back.

If you decide to order on line at WineSmithWines,com, use IKNOWCLARK as a discount code for 20% off everything except the book and the sampler. Orders of a case or more get an additional 20% off that (total 36%). You also get free shipping over one case.

PM Clark.

CT

InFrom


quality posts: 33 Private Messages InFrom
coynedj wrote:WD: Please make sure that Clark offers wines here on a regular basis, just so we can read his posts.

Ditto that! But first, please fix the NY issue! Just finished off the second of my Chardonnay from the first time it was offered here. Last night we marked the end of the camping phase of our vacation on the Maine coast, with a lobster picnic at our campsite. Really simple meal -- boiled lobster (no butter, thanks), along with fresh, local corn and green beans. Yum! The wine was perfect with the food.

On both of the bottles of this that we had, the cork (but not the wine) showed its age. Using a waiter's corkscrew, the cork pretty much broke halfway down. The top half emerged intact, the bottom half was a challenge. On last night's bottle I managed to worm it out, but the one we had on July 4 ended up with a hole bored through the middle, and we poured the wine through the hole. Not too terribly corky. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the wine at all. Looking forward to trying the Faux Chablis, I still have both of those. I think I have one stashed in the trunk, maybe I'll get to have that one with lobster, too.

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
InFrom wrote:Ditto that! But first, please fix the NY issue! Just finished off the second of my Chardonnay from the first time it was offered here. Last night we marked the end of the camping phase of our vacation on the Maine coast, with a lobster picnic at our campsite. Really simple meal -- boiled lobster (no butter, thanks), along with fresh, local corn and green beans. Yum! The wine was perfect with the food.

On both of the bottles of this that we had, the cork (but not the wine) showed its age. Using a waiter's corkscrew, the cork pretty much broke halfway down. The top half emerged intact, the bottom half was a challenge. On last night's bottle I managed to worm it out, but the one we had on July 4 ended up with a hole bored through the middle, and we poured the wine through the hole. Not too terribly corky. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the wine at all. Looking forward to trying the Faux Chablis, I still have both of those. I think I have one stashed in the trunk, maybe I'll get to have that one with lobster, too.



Yes, I have to confess that batch of corks did not hold up too well after ten years. I have had the same experience as you, and have learned to pull the cork very slowly straight up. I have seen maybe two tainted bottles, if that -- a very low incidence. I'd rather have this kind of problem.

Another tip on my wax tops: they're nice soft wax, so it's best just to go right through them, more or less just pretend the wax isn't there.

Lobster and other shellfish is really the thing to do with this wine.

InFrom


quality posts: 33 Private Messages InFrom
wordsmith wrote:...
Another tip on my wax tops: they're nice soft wax, so it's best just to go right through them, more or less just pretend the wax isn't there.

That did turn out to be the case the other day. The wax wasn't an issue.

bobrush12866


quality posts: 8 Private Messages bobrush12866

TT: Could you please give us some insight as to why it is taking so long to resolve the NY wine shipping issue..... Seems to me that a minor programming change would fix it...., Thanks

ThunderThighs


quality posts: 604 Private Messages ThunderThighs

Staff

bobrush12866 wrote:TT: Could you please give us some insight as to why it is taking so long to resolve the NY wine shipping issue..... Seems to me that a minor programming change would fix it...., Thanks


Unfortunately, I don't have any information on the reason or the resolution. I know WD is on it like a fly on shi.... He's working on it.



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JOATMON


quality posts: 19 Private Messages JOATMON
ThunderThighs wrote:Unfortunately, I don't have any information on the reason or the resolution. I know WD is on it like a fly on shi.... He's working on it.



Better hurry up. 33 of the 48 samplers are already gone.

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)

winesmith


quality posts: 49 Private Messages winesmith
JOATMON wrote:Better hurry up. 33 of the 48 samplers are already gone.



All NY folks please PM me with your desires. We will work something out directly with winedavid's blessing.

polarbear22


quality posts: 35 Private Messages polarbear22

Had to go in on the sampler case. This is too much fun to read, can't imagine how good it will be to drink. I bought the Chardonnay a while back, but have yet to try it.

Clark - thanks for all the great reading.

Polar bears are meant to be clever, very clever. They are the Einsteins of the bear community. - Anonymous
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mibuwolf83


quality posts: 6 Private Messages mibuwolf83

Hello, Clark! It's always great to hear from you and we all love reading your comments. How many words can you type/minute?

Here's my recent review on the 2004 Faux Chablis on cellartracker:

7/23/2013  WOW! Now this is what I love about Chardonnay. To me, this is the perfect style of Chardonnay that I like to drink. Initially, I thought that the WineSmith Chards are not aged in oak so I was surprised to smell a beautiful nose of smoky cedar integrated with the tropical fruits and lemon cream. It turns out that the wines were aged in 10% new untoasted oak by winemaker Clark Smith. He mentioned that this wine is "not ready", but for me, it is in perfect drinking form. Beautiful balance between oak, the fruit and the acidity - with each one complementing the other. Absolutely stunning! I regret not buying more during a couple of Woot Off ago.

mibuwolf83


quality posts: 6 Private Messages mibuwolf83
JOATMON wrote:Better hurry up. 33 of the 48 samplers are already gone.



Maybe a stupid question, but how do you track how many are left in the offer?