This time of year brings warm and happy feelings for me in so many ways. Of course, joyful time spent with our 3 sons, daughter in-laws and 3 granddaughters are highlights and in addition, I am comforted by the fact that our wines are peacefully resting in the their stainless steel tanks awaiting bottling in the New Year.
Although the tasting room is closed due to having sold out of last year’s vintage, we have been busy racking and fining the wines, gathering materials for bottling and in the coming weeks we will take care of the final filtering before bottling day.
I am a bit more excited about bottling this year because as I am sure you’re aware, the shape of my bottle is unique and our mobile bottler has always been less than excited to run them through his bottling line. Lots of special set up on his part as well as additional hands to try and keep them form tipping over during the process. Not exactly the picture of efficiency but this year, he has come up with specially designed tooling and we agreed to invest so that we can experience the same smooth operation as the wineries with “normal bottles.” Stay tuned and we’ll post a video! Bottling begins the 20th of January.
Post bottling we will again begin preparing to open the tasting room and planning the spring release. I am really pleased with how this vintage is coming along across all varietals and expect them to age really well.
Many of us can’t exactly wait too long to enjoy these wines but for those of us who enjoy the changes that an aged wine can bring, I wanted to shed some light on our wines and aging. I often get questions about white wines and their ability to age well with many believing it is a practice reserved for red wines.
How a wine ages depends on many factors beginning in the vineyard and carrying through the winemaking approach considering structure, acidity, and residual sugar to name a few. My aim is to make wines that are enjoyable early on AND that will develop nice complexity over the next 5 years.
Some of you may have tasted different vintages of the same varietals in the tasting room this year and we made it a point to pay attention to your observations. While it seems a slight majority enjoy the older vintages, many preferred the brighter acidity with more pronounced fruit notes in the younger wines. I am very pleased as this is the aim of my winemaking approach.
Do I need a wine cooler or cellar to properly age Acquiesce wines?
Of course, ideal conditions or close to it, can be achieved with either a wine cooler or cellar but if you want to lay these wines down for a couple of years, a cool dark area of the house such as a hall closet will do the trick. In addition to cool and dark, consistent temperature is key. Large temperature swings are a negative so the location should be away from heat sources.
If you are aging some of my wines now or do so in the future I would most appreciate hearing about your experience.
With a strong crop, we have more finished wine than ever before and we will be opening the club to folks on the waiting list! I’m so happy to expand the family and getting to know you all. With the newly planted vineyard being ready for harvest this coming Fall, we will be able to open the club to more folks and maybe even stay open through the holidays!
While this blog is a bit shorter than most, I want all who enjoy the Acquiesce experience to know you are very much appreciated and I really look forward to seeing you again beginning in March with an all new vintage and hopefully a few aged wine comparisons as well.
Rodney and I are off to enjoy time with the family and we wish you all the very best for the holidays and for 2017!!
MUSHROOM, HERB & GRUYERE CHEESE MINI TURNOVERS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cups finely chopped Cremini mushrooms
1 onion, chopped finely
¾ tsp dried thyme
¾ tsp dried rosemary
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp flour
½ cup heavy cream
3 tbsp Acquiesce Grenache Blanc
⅓ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
2 sheets of puff pastry, thawed (12x12 inches)
1 egg + 1 tbsp water whisked together
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat up the olive oil and butter. Add the chopped onion and saute for about 1 minute. Add the chopped mushrooms, thyme, rosemary and salt & pepper. Cook until the onions and mushrooms are tender and there is no moisture left from the mushrooms. Then stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Grenache Blanc and cream. Remove from the heat, and stir in the Gruyere cheese. Set aside.
On your counter, lay out the puff pastry with the parchment paper it came with still attached. Using a pizza cutter cutter, cut the pastry into 16 pieces. Scoop about 1 tbsp of the mushroom mixture into the centre of the dough (do not overfill or they will leak). Then fold the dough in half and press the edges to seal them. Place the mini turnovers onto your prepared baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Brush the sealed edges and tops of the turnovers with the egg mixture. Repeat the above with the other puff pastry sheet and remaining mushroom mixture.
Bake each tray for about 15 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
Following a winter and spring that brought some nice and needed rainfall, the vineyard is in really nice condition with all of the newly planted 7 acres well established. With harvest underway our focus has turned to the adult vineyard as we harvested and “luvsqueezed” (pressed) our viognier yesterday and I am really very excited about the flavor and balance of the juice.
Next up looks like Grenache Blanc which is at 20 brix right now and should be ready within the next 3 weeks. Stay tuned for status updates and you're welcome to stop by for peak at harvest and pressing activities with the AV team. Over the coming several weeks, all the wines will go through a long cool fermentation and finally their lives as wines in a sexy bottle begins in January.
This week we had the pleasure of hosting the Wine Bloggers 2016 Conference here in Lodi with many tours, excursions and discovery activities for the nearly 300 bloggers attending. At Acquiesce we were glad to host a pre-conference group on Wednesday with a vineyard and full tasting tour to kick off their activities as well as a really fun group that selected the "Pick a Peck of Picpoul" excursion that consisted of a vineyard and winery tour, tasting of freshly pressed Viognier juice, a full tasting experience followed by dinner at our home with 2 beautiful Can Can dancers . . . how French can you get?
A fabulous dinner prepared by Jennifer Kupka of the Lodi Airport Café paired very nicely with Grenache Blanc, Belle Blanc, Roussanne and Viognier. Pictures are nice but tasting is...
We are often asked about White Rhone varietals in Lodi and the long-standing misconception that Lodi is not suited for growing white wine grapes. Here a few facts that help explain the why and how of the differences and similarities of the Lodi region and the Southern Rhone region of France.
Let it be known that we adore wines from the Rhone region and drink them often. Of course we love our versions as well so what are the differences? French versions are a bit rounder in body and mouth feel and sometimes some oak can be detected. They are not very acidic but the finish can still be long and pleasing.
Acquiesce's Lodi versions are brighter with notes of fruit coming across on the aroma as well as the palate. They are higher in acid and have no issue staying with you through a nice long finish and can be paired well with an impressive array of foods. The pairing possibilities range from casual and informal snacks (Maui onion potato chips) to gourmet foods of fish, pork, poultry and beef of many variations.
Sidetracking for just a moment, there is another common misconception that white wine pairing options are limited to certain foods. How many times have you heard " if you're having a white wine order chicken or fish”? That’s just sad and very limiting so we are determined to open as many minds and mouths as possible to the truth about white wine versatility. Note: might be a book in our future
Okay, back to the main topic at hand. Historical weather information indicated in the charts below (we chose the years 2000 to 2015 show that Lodi is a few degrees warmer during the day AND a few degrees cooler during the night which, when coupled with the consistent delta breeze makes a key impact on the quality of the grapes. Another key factor is rainfall and time to ripen. Lodi doesn’t see any significant rainfall during the growing season which allows us to water to the exact amount we feel is best for flavor and extend the season for full mature ripe fruit.
These factors are only a portion of what is known as terroir and I'll have more on the total terroir coming soon.
The next time you relax and enjoy a crisp Acquiesce white wine, you might take a few minutes to contemplate the weather pattern here and maybe even do what I do, thank mother nature for the blessing.
Here's to the French Rhone and Lodi appellations!
And now our newest pairing recipe find.. From Serious Eats (our real go to food site) and Daniel Gritzer
Definitely a treat with our Roussanne (we enjoyed it along side a nice smash burger)
Cheers and looking forward to seeing you soon!