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Sur Lies Aging with Greg La Follette

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="359"] Winemaker Greg La Follette sampling lees.[/caption]

It’s said that the early actors in Ancient Greece rubbed wine lees on their faces in the first form of stage makeup.  Much as we embrace wine names based on poets of antiquity, this use of lees hasn’t caught on here at Ancient Oak Cellars.

However, if you have seen our recent release of a 2014 Chardonnay from the famed Kent Ritchie vineyard (or have heard about our forthcoming spring release of 2015 Chardonnays from the Nurmi and Flyway vineyards), you may have noticed references to a technique called sur lies aging.  If you haven’t heard about any of these, that probably means you haven’t joined … Read More »

Stories of Harvest: Lucy Moholt-Siebert

Stories of Harvest: Lucy Moholt-Siebert
[caption id="attachment_2816" align="alignleft" width="276"] The author (and daughter of the winery owners) at a Berger Ranch harvest in 2014.[/caption]

“Harvest is the anchoring point of our year” is what I wrote in the first blog of this series, and it’s what I tell myself as the bathroom light first hits my eyes at three in the morning and when I down a mug of coffee and when I realize that it was decaf.  Earlier, when the grating noise of my alarm breaks the tranquility of my darkened room, I’m not awake enough even to think, let alone give myself pep talks.  Later on I’m too immersed in the rush of harvest — and in the … Read More »

Leaf-pulling and MOG

Leaf-pulling and MOG

In my school orchestra, the conductor often joked — in an ongoing effort to get us up out of our sheet music — that all those Italian words on our sheet music mean the same thing: “watch the baton.”  The same principle applies at harvest.  Anything in Spanish means, for the purposes of a white leaf-picker, “look up and hold on.”  (Of course, in either of those situations it also means “work on your language skills,” but that’s another story.)  Leaf picking is the easiest, though plenty grueling, job to step into.  The actual picking is done by professionals, so quickly that I can pick up vibrations in the trellis at the … Read More »

Countdown to Harvest with Greg La Follette

Countdown to Harvest with Greg La Follette
[caption id="attachment_2599" align="alignleft" width="200"] Ancient Oak Cellars Winemaker Greg La Follette[/caption]

You know it’s a chancy business when our winemaker is asked what he’s been excited to see in the vineyard this year, and he responds, “remarkably even and temperate” weather, with most of the growing season being “downright moderate!”  That exclamation point was part of the quote, in case you were wondering.  Of course, there is good reason to be excited about the weather, as Greg explains:

“We decided to take advantage of the long-term forecast for cool weather and push picking back, giving some fruit which still has slightly tougher tannins time to catch up … Read More »

Veraison and Amaryllis

If you drove up the driveway to Siebert Ranch this time of year, you might notice two things: that the grapes are changing color, and that there are rows of brilliant flowers lining the road.  While many of you know that correlation does not equal causation, we do really enjoy this particular coincidence.  The flowers are called amaryllis — or “naked ladies” for the way they grow leaves, die back and then grow flowers among the dead leaves, thus being “naked” of leaves.  They just begin blooming at the beginning of veraison (grapes turning color) in the Pinot Noir we have at Siebert Ranch, are fully blooming at around 75% through veraison, and are dying back at harvest.  For all … Read More »

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