Part of the fun of being a winemaker is checking in on the wines as they progress from crush to bottling. There’s plenty of science behind how to shape wine, but none of that can supercede tasting and experience to get a feel for what a vintage is looking like.
Well, after countless barrel samplings over the course of the last four months, it’s safe to say 2011 is shaping up.
“It’s great,” winemaker Paul Bonacquisti says. “Everything is great. I like it so far — I’m not really complaining.”
Wines in Oak
2011 Zinfandel (Lodi)
Paul’s words are a little explicit (in a great way) when describing the flavors that are exploding out of the oak barrels of this wine. It’s his favorite in barrel right now, with smokey and jammy flavors popping through. “It’s everything you look for in a Zin.” The wine is being aged in a mix of American and French oak. Expected release of summer 2012.
2011 Cabernet Franc (Palisade)
Cabernet Franc is the darling of the Colorado wine world, an interesting red that can break the monotony of California Cabernet Sauvignon. “Patience pays off,” Paul says. That means Cab Franc is usually a late bloomer. In it’s infancy, right now, it’s showing off strong green pepper notes that will die down over time as the fruits come through. This will likely be a single-grape bottling although there could be a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in for balance. Expected release of late 2012.
2011 Pinot Noir (West Elks)
We received a teeny, tiny bit of West Elks Pinot Noir this year. It’s a bit green right now with some earthy flavors coming through. We’re guessing this will be a blending candidate because of the small amount (1/2 barrel) of this wine. We’ll keep you posted as it matures.
Wines in Stainless Steel
2011 Riesling (West Elks)
Oh, it’s fun to geek out with Riesling. Even early on, this wine showcases all the interesting flavors that make it one of the most food-friendly wines on the planet. The current vintage exploeds with lavender armomas. Minerals and apples hit the palate, alongside a peachey thing. There’s a good amout of acid in it right now, and it will likely be blended to level that off and finish with about 1 percent residual sugar. Release date: March 31st at the Spring Release Party.
Rosé of Cabernet Franc (Colorado)
The coloring is a perfect salmon from a few hours of skin contact on this dry-style rose. Grapefruits, strawberries and sunshine are popping through. It’ll be reminscent of Taval roses. There will be only 50 cases of this wine and it will be released to wine club members first. Release date: March 31st at the Spring Release Party.
2011 Chardonnay (Colorado)
We haven’t introduced oak or malo latic fermentaion to this Chardonnnay so it’s very crisp and full of tropical fruit. There are no buttery or meaty flavors that come with oaking. It’ll be a great summertime wine, but will likely be blended.