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Categorized | California, Red Wine

Notes From A Wine Club

Linne Calodo is one of my favorite wineries in the World, located in Paso Robles, Central Coast, California, they make some of the most amazing Zinfandel, Syrah and Grenache blends.

Winter2010 newsletterheader Notes From A Wine Club

Included in your February shipment is one bottle of 2008 Sticks and Stones and two bottles of 2008 Problem Child. These wines are bold, bright with fruit, yet show a complexity of tannins, earth, and barrel driven extraction. As always, the 2008 Sticks and Stones is Grenache based, 57%, with a splash of Mourvedre, 29%, and Syrah,14%. When I am preparing to blend Sticks, I look for solid and aromatically concentrated barrels of Grenache that make your mouth water. On their own, these barrels are delicious but often lack finish and elegance. The introduction of specific Mourvedre barrels adds a subtle, earthy quality along with wonderful finishing tannins. A splash of Syrah softens any acidic feeling and brings about a lush palate. Upon tasting, the 2008 Sticks and Stones starts off with rich aromatics of boysenberry and raspberry that lead to a mouthful of vine fruits with hints of roasted meat and tar. Ready to drink now, but can be held for three to five years.

07sticksPC Notes From A Wine Club

The 2008 Problem Child weighs in at 70% Zinfandel, 17% Syrah, and 13% Mourvedre. At this point in my life as a winemaker, I have learned to think of producing Zinfandel as a game. A game where YOU NEVER KNOW THE OUTCOME! All wines are made
in the vineyard and Zinfandel is no exception. However, working with dry-farmed vineyards (no irrigation) creates so many challenges that I am always making small adjustments to ensure a spectacular crop.

First, there is Zinfandel’s infamously long flowering window to consider, a process lasting up to four weeks, which often results in a very unevenly ripening crop. In the quest to narrow the window of ripeness, we make two to four passes through the vineyard to drop inconsistent clusters. When we reach harvest, we have often dropped anywhere between 30 and 60 percent of the original crop. This is only the start; the clusters then begin to desiccate in the Summer and Fall heat and these raisins make it very difficult to know exactly how sweet the clusters are. Sometimes a vineyard of Zinfandel will be harvested at 23% sugar but three days later will climb to 28%. We call this “soak up” and is yet another inconsistency to account for.

Finally, after sorting and destemming the fruit into small fermenters, the game continues with the hopeful completion of fermentation. Herein lies the final problem: yeast can only ferment up to about 17% alcohol, and clusters at 28% sugar place me very close to that line. This is why I like to co-ferment Syrah and Mourvedre with the Zinfandel, they lessen the alcohol potential and bring a balance and flavor profile I look for. Enjoy the Problem Child now and through the next three to five years.

Eat, drink and enjoy,

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