Posts filed under Pinot Noir Education

Secrets of the 2014 Vintage Revealed!

Wes Hagen finishes up the 2014 harvest at Clos Pepe and gives you the inside information on how this vintage will be remembered.  What's the 'miracle' that saved the vintage?

Click play and know within three minutes!

And as always, drink an extra glass of wine every day at table with the people you love!

--Wes Hagen, 9/29/2014

Why is Wine the Most Important Booze in the World?

Wes takes you on a trip through history to explain, in 4 minutes or less, why wine has always been the most important fermented beverage on the planet.

Don't forget to read Dr. Patrick McGovern's masterworks:  "Uncorking the Past" and "Ancient Wine", or for an easier read, Tom Standage's "History of the World in 6 Glasses".

And leave me questions, messages or suggestions for subject matter for subsequent vlogs!

First field ripeness tests for sparkling Pinot Noir

What I sent to our producers: 

This section is usually 1-2 brix behind the ripest sections of the Clos.  Nets are almost all up and green drop continues.

Sparkling section (NORM YOST):  (swale in front of Wes and Chanda’s house)

Fruit sample:  90% veraison, some color on crush, seeds 20% (?) browning.

Refract:  17.5 Brix  Hydro:  18.2 Brix  pH meter:  2.85 pH.

Juice aroma:  chalk, kiwi, aspirin, unripe strawberry and cherry

Mouth:  Aspirin, enough acidity to strip cheek lining from a Silver Oak drinker, green flavors dominant.  Minimal sweetness and flavor development.  Germans would say ‘nicht rund’.

Numbers are lower than I had feared.  My sense is the ripest sections: Hillside 115 traditionally, are sitting at 20 Brix and 3.0 pH.

Full tests on Pinot Noir next Monday.

Forget the fruit salad: learn to evaluate wine STRUCTURALLY!

How boring is a wine tasting note that describes a wine like a recipe for sangria?  Blood orange, bing cherry and kiwi?  Really?  Forget the fruit salad and learn to describe a wine like a pro.

Here's my notes that I read off of:

Does smelling cherries or raspberry make a wine better?  Of course not.  But breaking down the structural elements of a wine gives us a clear and distinct idea of our stylistic preferences in wine.  Go to a wine shop and say you want a wine that smells like 'bing cherries', a wine geek may look at you funny.  But if you say you want a structured and austere Chablis, they will know exactly how to hook you up!

Here's the visual aids reproduced:

Nose: Aroma (fermentative)/Bouquet (aged)
Jammy:  15%+ Napa Cab or Paso Zinfandel.
Fruity/Primary:  Cru Beaujolais (young-3 years)
Balanced:  Sta Rita Hills Pinot Noir (3 years from vintage date)
Earthy/Mineral:  5 year Chablis, Premier Cru
Austere/Mature:  20 year old Romanee Conti

Light/Elegant:  Sauv. Blanc
Balanced/ 'Round':  Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chinon
Rich/ "Chewy": Young First Growth Bordeaux, Barolo, Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel

Flabby/Soft/Low Acid/ High pH (hydrogen ion activity) High ripeness Zinfandel, 'cougar juice' Chardonnay
Balanced/Structured (Round) (Sta. Maria Pinot Noir)
Highly structured/Tannic/Firm/Bright (Chablis)
Highly Tannic/Shrill/Acidic (Dry Alsatian Riesling)