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Barrel Sampling and Beginning Blending Trials – 2009 Siebert Ranch Pinot

This is one of the most fun – and most interesting – parts of this whole endeavor.  We met with our winemaker Joe to barrel taste the 2009 Siebert Ranch pinot and determine what barrels we want to use for our 2010 wines.  The barrels are all French oak – some new and some that are about four years old and are “neutral” in their oak contribution.



Here are some notes on what we tasted of the wines from each of the types of barrels:

barrel type 1: homey, warming; pushing baked cherry pie, pie spice, ginger; nice, ripe fruit
barrel type 2:  wood overtone – smell the oak as wood, not toast; the fruit carries on the palate for a long finish with fruit; nice blueberry/blackberry; “wow” fruit
barrel type 3:  graham cracker, toasted/burnt marshmallow, toffee, caramel, roast meat; some smoke, but a lot of sweet aromatics; big oak power; not as much fruit support – a good counterpoint to the other barrels that adds more layers of complexity
neutral barrels:  cocoa, rhubarb; good acid; tighter tannins because older barrels are tighter, with less airflow

These are the components we are working with.  Now comes the magic of selecting barrels and determining the best blend from them.

Joe made some beginning trial blends with different percentages of new oak used, and different percentages of some of the different new oak barrels.  We will be continuing this in a few weeks, and then revisiting, revising, and perfecting our blend after we have finished with the insanity of harvest.  We’ll bottle in November or December, and have the wine ready for you some time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, depending on how the wine develops.

I hope that once you get to taste the finished product, you’ll give some feedback on what of these individual components you taste, and how you think we did choosing barrels and blending the wine from them.  I’d love to hear from you!


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