Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weather & Wine


It’s been a weird summer weather wise, I know we all agree, and I am asked often how it will affect the grape crop. I listen to smarter people than myself regarding this frankly, because while I have a great deal of interest in the outcome of the crop, since I am not a vineyard owner. So I do not have the experience of year-in-year-out growing grapes and seeing them develop.
That said, I do have more experience than the average person, so I guess its reasonable to ask me the question.  As I said, I listen to smart people about this and I am hearing two stories.  The first is the heat and drought will give us intense flavors but not much quantity due to smaller berries.  Now there’s been a wet August, which might help this for some kinds of grapes and hurt those with a longer growing season. So some good news, some bad. Got that?

Second line I hear is after the warm spring, followed by a late frost in some areas, the crop was diminished and the drought did not help it at all. This late rain is washing away any advantage in flavor intensity we might have gained, it’s a bad year.
 
Me, I am waiting for the grapes.  Let’s let the grapes tell us what they been up to, what they have given us to work with. I suspect we’ll see some great grapes this year and some fair ones.  We don’t buy bad grapes, so no problem there!
So it’s the end of summer and as you “regulars” know, we start rolling out the new vintage wines about now.  The first few are out, hope you’ve tried them, but if not, here’s some notes on them:
 
WILDCAT CREEK WHITE: This label has been a favorite for the past few years, a dry, fruity, white wine made with Vidal grapes from Michigan.  This past year we had some problems finding good Vidal, so we bought some Muscato juice to fill in the gap. No, WCW is not a Muscato, that one is still coming. But we did find some Cayuga White, blended in the last of the Vidal from 2010 and that’s the new WCW. The early reviews are good, see what you think.
 
SWEET SALAMONIE: Now, a few years ago we ran a very sweet white wine based on Cayuga White and it was a winner and I am happy to tell you its back!  We bottled a test batch and it sold out, so we bottled a full batch and its going good too!  It will go well on the Cheesecake Festival, its that sweet.

ROANN: Last fall I made a small batch of blueberry wine and frankly, I was not too fond of it.  But there were some customers who loved it! So I again made a SMALL batch of our 2011 blueberry wine, blended in a little Gew├╝rztraminer to balance the taste, now you see what you think.

PERU PEACH: The big surprise for the summer was how well people liked our latest peach wine.  Our naturally-made fruit wines do have unique flavors, but a lot of folks like this one.
We have two dry reds, a Malbec and a Zinfindel coming out soon. An off-dry Sauvignon Blanc is about ready and I have my hands in a different take on Riesling, but that one is still in the works.  I have been asked about our port-style wine, RIVERWALK, and yes, we have a new batch coming. Getting pretty close!

FREE CHEESCAKE FESTIVAL: What does wine have to do with cheesecake? You can sip wine while you eat it, of course, but for us it’s the biggest event of the year! We bring in 10-15 commercially-made cheesecakes; you taste them; then vote on your favorite!  Oh, and try some wine while you are here!  September 15, 1-6 pm.