Your Invitation to Blessing of the Vines
Published: Monday, March 02, 2015
It's time for the annual Blessing of the Vines...
Join us for this fun annual event and help us kick off the 2015 vintage with an afternoon of wine, food, music and friends.
Date: Sunday, May 17
Location: Woodworth Vineyards, De Luz
Cost: $20 for Members, $30 for Non-Members
Get your tickets below
In the Vineyards...
A lot has happened here in the Vineyards since the December Newsletter. We've had several wild weather swings. From snow and freezing temperatures at New Years to 85 degrees in late January, all the plants are confused. It's cooled down a little to more normal temperatures and we've got rain today (Thank God!).
Here is a look at the road leading to our place on New Year's Eve. This is the second time it's snowed here in the last 15 years. We didn't get much in the vineyards, just a dusting, these pictures were taken about 2 miles from us. The grapes were fine, but we had a lot of friends lose a lot of avocados.
We pruned the vineyard around the 2nd week of January. It's always exciting to think a new vintage year is starting. With the drought, the bees and mildew, 2014 was a tough year. So, we're looking forward to a fresh start to 2015.
The warm weather we had at the end of January and the first part of February has caused the vines to push early. In fact we are about a month early. The pictures above were taken the 2nd week of January and the pictures below were taken in mid February. Amazing!
We planted Leucadendron and Protea about 4 years ago. We've been harvesting the Leucadendron every February/March since the first year we planted. This is the first year, however, that the Protea has bloomed. So, we get to harvest that this year too. Woo Hoo!
Sensory Evaluation of Wine...
This is sort of a long winded way of saying 'Wine Tasting'. At the beginning of the year there are a lot of wine competitions, so how wines are tasted and judged is on my mind. It's always interesting to see how the same wine can do very well in one competition and not so well in another. Despite efforts to get some commonality in terminology and grading methods, the sensory evaluation of wine is still a very subjective thing.
Basically, there are four elements of tasting:
- Appearance "in glass"
- The aroma of the wine
- "in mouth" sensations
- "finish" (aftertaste)
These are combined to arrive at the following:
- Complexity and character
- Potential (suitability for aging or drinking)
- Possible faults
The way to make wine evaluation less subjective is to taste and compare multiple wines. To ensure impartial judgment of a wine, it should be served blind - that is, without the taster(s) having seen the label or bottle shape. Sometimes the wine is even served in a black wine glass to mask the color of the wine. A taster's judgment can be prejudiced by knowing details of a wine, such as geographic origin, price, reputation, color, etc.
There have been some really fun studies showing that the power of suggestion has a profound impact on perception. If someone is told that a wine is expensive, they are more likely like the wine more. If you serve the same wine in two glasses and tell the taster that one is from a well known region (say Napa) and the other is from a lesser known region (like Temecula), the taster will inevitably rate the one supposedly from Napa higher. It's just human nature.
Our Pinot Noir would have never won any Gold Medals if the judges had known ahead of time that it was from the Temecula Valley appellation, and that's completely understandable. After all, Southern California is not known for Pinot. A few years ago when we won our first Gold at an international Pinot competition, one newspaper called it a 'Bottle Shock' moment for Temecula. I love that quote because I love the movie.
If you haven't seen it, you need to rent it. It's the true story of how California won a blind tasting against the French in 1976. It's wonderful and demonstrates perfectly the powers of perception. Here's the clip.
2012 Pinot Noir Released...
Our 2012 Pinot Noir has just been released and, as usual, our favorite chef Patrick Bartlett has developed a wonderful recipe to pair with this wine. Here are Patrick's notes:
The award-winning Woodworth Pinot Noir continues to astound with classic French and American notes of earth and fruit co-mingling to offer beautiful mid-weight balance. This extraordinary wine is the ideal complement to the duck's exotic spices. The bright cherries cut through the spice and richness of the meat, each bite is as explosive and expressive as the first.
You've got to love that!
To get the recipe with all the pictures and instructions use this link:
March Wine Club Pick Up...
It's time for the March shipment to the Wine Club. If you normally have your wine shipped, it will be going out this week. If you normally pick it up, it will be available beginning Friday, March 6 at Crush & Brew in Old Town.
Since we won't be having a regular Pick Up Party, if you come in to pick up any time in March (beginning on the 6th) we will treat you to one of Crush & Brew's great cheese plates to go with your complementary wine. So, come in, have a glass of wine, enjoy a cheese plate and take home your wine club shipment. While you are there, check out Crush & Brew's updated menu.
Blessing of the Vines...
It's springtime and that means it almost time for our annual Blessing of the Vines. This is my favorite time of the year, so make plans to come and share it with us.
Date: Sunday, May 17
Location: De Luz Vineyard
Cost: $20 for Members, $30 for Non-Members
Don't miss this fun event. There will be great wine, food, live music and friends.
Get your tickets early at Blessing of the Vines
We hope you enjoyed this month's Newsletter. If so, please forward to a friend. You can read more about Woodworth Vineyards at www.WoodworthWine.com.
Also, please check us out on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/woodowrthvineyards
Gary & Marlene
Happening in the Vineyards...
I am sorry for those of you who may have been caught at airports in bad weather, or stuck in the rain or snow on Thanksgiving, but here in De Luz it was 87 and sunny.
The vines are finally going dormant and turning yellow. The liquid amber and Japanese lantern trees are a beautiful brick red. It's supposed to be rainy and cool this week, so that should bring in December nicely.
Bottling the 2013 Blanc de Blanc...
Many of you have followed the saga of getting our first sparkling wine made and released. it was definitely a labor of love with lots of starts and re-starts, but the result was our wonderful Luna de Luz a Blanc de Noir. We've decided to try again, this time with Chardonnay, for a Blanc de Blanc. We just completed the first step in the traditional Method Champenoise process and started the second step. Here are the steps for this labor intensive method:
1) Primary fermentation (the first fermentation after crush usually in tank),
2) Resting on Lees. The wine is mixed with yeast again and bottled. It is corked with a rubber stopper and crown cap. It's then laid on it's side in a cold environment for up to 15 months. This is the secondary fermentation which creates the bubbles.
3) Riddling. This is where the wine is agitated over a period of time to get the yeast sediment into the bottle neck.,
4) Disgorgement. The neck is frozen and the cap popped off along with the sediment.
5) Dosage. A small amount of sweetning is added if wanted. And finally
6) Finally, the wine is corked, capped and labeled.
Pete Mousis, one of our winemaers, was overseeing this first process and talks about the steps involved in making a sparkling.
Greater than the sum of it's parts...Blending
Wine blending is a physically simple task. You take different wines and mix them together. What could be easier? Unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences can take over.
Winemakers blend for a variety of reasons. Different barrels of the same wine are routinely blended to even out oak or tannins. Different years of the same wine may be blended to improve the characteristics of the wine. Or, different varietals are blended to create entirely new wines with the best (and sometimes worst) characteristics of all the wines.
Once or twice a year Tim Kramer (consulting wine maker) and I meet together to determine the blends for our Sweet Sophie, Wild Bandit, Sidekick and Black Dog wines. It's my favorite thing. Tim brings out the beakers, glasses and dump buckets and we measure, mix and taste until we both believe we have the best version of what we are looking for.
Tim and I met a couple of weeks ago and had a great time blending the reds. There is a lot of math involved (Tim does this, not me) to figure out how much wine can be made based on the percentage blends. Here is what we came up with for our next wines.
Wild Bandit (non-vintage): 65/35, Syrah/Pinot
Sidekick (2012): 55/45, Merlot/Syrah
Black Dog (2012): 55/30/15, Syrah/Merlot/Cabernet
We will be blending them several months before bottling so that the flavors and characteristics can blend in barrel. Can't wait!
Great Thanksgiving Leftovers...
By now everyone is just about done with Thankgiving leftovers. However, I thought I'd go ahead and share something with you that we tried last night...and it was great! I got this from the Pioneer Woman cooking show last week and it sounded so easy I naturally had to try it. It's a Thanksgiving Dinner Panini.
Basically, take two pieces of your favorite bread and spread a little Dijon mustard on each. Also add a slice of swiss cheese to each piece. Then just put shredded turkey, cranberry sauce, and dressing on one of the pieces of bread. Top it off with some of your cold gravy. Top this with the other piece of bread with the swiss cheese. Carefully butter the bread and put it into a Panini press, George Foreman or in a frying pan (with a weight on it) and let it cook until the bread is browned and everything is warm and gooey. It sounds ridiculous, but it turns out really good. We had it with Pinot Noir. So, if you have just one more meal to go from the leftovers, try this for something different.
If there is any leftover Pumpkin or Apple Pie try having a little Sweet Sophie with it.
The Perfect Christmas Gift...
If you have friends, relatives, employees, or anyone you need to buy a gift for in Southern California, get them something that they will remember forever. I'm talking about a gift certificate for a private Wine and Cheese pairing here at Woodworth Vineyards in De Luz. It's only $15 per person.
Gary and I will host your guests on a tour of the vineyards and they will enjoy five great Woodworth wines perfectly paired with five artisan cheeses. It's a unique gift that will be long remembered.
To schedule your own wine tasting or to purchase a gift certificate for tasting, use this link: Wine Tasting
We hope you enjoyed this month's Newsletter. If so, please forward to a friend. You can buy wine, join the wine club or schedule a Vineyard Wine Tasting at www.WoodworthWine.com. Join us at www.Facebook.com/woodworthvineyards
We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season!
Gary & Marlene
Happening In the Vineyards...
Well, this was not a great year for grapes. It started with the very warm winter and no rain. With the heat wave in Jan/Feb, we didn't really have a great fruit set to begin with. We had a really bad problem with bees this year. You can see from the picture on the left how bees can really destroy grape clusters. The theory is that with the draught, the bees were desperate to find moisture...who knows? Check out the picture on the right and you can see what squirrels can do to grapes. All that is left are the stems.
Farming is so fun!
We, along with everyone else, were about a month early for picking. We picked the Pinot in July and finished up the first of September. As expected, given the bees, squirrels and poor fruit set to begin with, the yield was very low. As an example we usually get 8-10 tons of Chardonnay and this year we got 1.5. Oh well, with any luck what we got is really good.
Whenever you wake up to a helicopter in your front yard, you know it's going to be a fun day
We sprayed the avocados for thrips and some other type of wee beastie in August. A couple of days ago we had a freak windstorm (50-60 mph) for about 10 minutes. It was part of the tail end of one of the hurricanes that hit Baja. At the end of that 10 minute storm we had 35+ avocado trees downed. So this week we are focused on getting them pulled up and staked.
How to read a wine label...
Wine labels have lots of information. Some of it is critical to understand what's in the bottle and other stuff is just marketing.
There is a difference between wines made in America and those from other countries. The rules are different. In France, for instance, wines are identified by Appellation (region), not by a brand. So a 'Chablis' refers to the growing region and you won't see any mention of the type of grape. (It's Chardonnay. by the way) Here you will have a brand name (Woodworth) and you need to identify the type of wine (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or White Table Wine, etc).
Let's focus on American requirements. The label has to contain the following information: Producer, Appellation, Alcohol Content, Government Warnings with Sulfite Notification, Net Contents. Some of this is supposed to be on the front label. Looking at our Pinot label, you'll see that all of that info is on what most people would consider the back. The TTB lets us designate the back label as the front label for approval purposes. Yea!
There are some interesting rules. For example, if you designate a specific AVA like Temecula Valley, then 85% of the grapes have to come from within that AVA. If a larger region like a state or country is designated, then only 75% has to come from the region.
You don't have to have a vintage date, but if you do and designate an AVA then 95 % of the grapes must be from that year.
So, if it says Chardonnay as the type of wine does that mean that it is 100% Chardonnay? No! In order to use a varietal name like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, etc., the wine must have at least 75% of that grape. So, it could be 25% of something else.
What do terms like 'Estate Bottled' or 'Reserve" mean? If you use the term 'Estate Bottled' then 100% of the wine has to be grown, crushed, fermented and bottled on the winery premises. 'Reserve' is more of a marketing term. It generally means that there is something special about the wine like better barrels, longer aging, something that sets it aside from the rest of the wines produced.
Lately, a couple of new terms have been coming up like 'single vineyard', 'sustainably grown', 'small batch production'. Again, these are primarily marketing terms to appeal to certain buyers. There are no government regulations to outline specifically what these mean.
I think that French labels are the most interesting. They have very specific rules, and you can learn a lot from understanding their labels. TheKitchen.com has a fun article about reading French labels. If you would like to learn about reading a French label, here is a link you can use: French Labels
So, next time you buy a bottle, take a close look at the label to see how much you can learn.
Wine Tasting in the Vineyards...
We've been having wine tasting here at the De Luz vineyards by reservation for about a month now. We've met so many great people and it's been really fun for us. I thought I'd share some pictures. If you are interested in scheduling a wine and cheese pairing, use this link: Wine Tasting
Winter Barrel Tasting & Pick Up Party...
Date: Saturday, November 8
Time: 5pm - 7pm
Location: Production Center at TVWM, 27595 Diaz Rd, Temecula, 92590
Come and join us for music, food and wine...a perfect way to kick off the holiday season. Use this link to RSVP: Winter Barrel Tasting
Our favorite chef and wine enthusiast, Patrick Bartlett, has developed some recipes for three of our recently released wines. These are all wonderful. Hope you get a chance to try them. Let me know!
If you click on the recipe name, you will bring up the full recipe with instructions and pictures.
This fish and fruit salsa allows the off dry brightness and subtle fruit notes of Golden Maggie to shine without a hint of competition. the salsa's tarragon bridges beautifully with the fennel scented risotto.
This beautiful blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet bursts with dark berries and spice. This simple and rustic meal is a perfect match for Black Dog and can be served as a summer grill or a winter feast. Try it with grilled vegetables.
Herc's Field Blend is a light, crisp wine with subtle stone fruit and white flowers. It pairs beautifully with the Clafoutis thanks to the harmony of the tangy goat cheese, subtle herbs and sweet tomatoes.
Hope you enjoyed this month's Newsletter. If so, please forward to someone you know. If you received this from a friend and would like to join our mailing list, use this link: Mailing List
It's Time for the Winter Barrel Tasting
Published: Friday, September 19, 2014
Winter Barrel Tasting...
It's that time again for our annual Winter Barrel Tasting & Pick Up Party.
Date: Saturday, November 8
Time: 5 - 7 pm
Location: TVWM, 27495 Diaz Rd, Temecula, 92590
Come and join us for music, food and wine to kick off the holiday season. We'll be tasting the 2012 reds in barrel along with other Woodworth wines. We might even have some custom blends to try.
Hope to see you there!
Other Recent Articles
June 2014 Newsletter from Woodworth Vineyards
Wine Tasting at Woodworth
Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Woodworth Vineyards now offering tasting by reservation at the vineyards in De Luz
This is the May 2014 Newsletter from Woodworth Vineyards
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