WineSmith Planet Pluto Meritage (4)

Any mega purple added? And thanks for all the info.

Okay, I’m back from my bed. Shall we talk about appellation madness? I’ve stated my views. Any argument out there?

I do want to clarify that appellations are really valuable to study. It’s really quite amazing how much regional character determines flavor and character, quite apart from any winemaking decision. It’s only when it’s used as a guarantee of quality, a separate buying proposition from the wine’s quality, that it causes wine value to erode. Comments?

That is exactly by point. This is a FACT, not an opinion, let alone a negative opinion with nothing to support it.

Wellingotn then WineSmith in a row! oodles of learning. Am I dead? Is this nirvana?

Indeed. The ?Kimmidge Limestone which uderpins the beautiful minerality of Chablis does make a difference. However, France and Burgundy in particuar (and Chablis is the northern outpost of Burgundy) is notorious for the variability of quality by grower.

Some attribute it to terroir, but often that’s just an excuse for limited, lazy or unmindful winemaking! OTOH, the good winemakers can make decent wine most years. See Wellington in Sonoma for an example in the States. To know your craft requires mastery of more than one kind of weapon.

PS Pluto is a dwarf planet!

Certainly not. As I explained before, I do place importance on anthocyanin content as a key element of fine structure. This is because anthocyanins are thought to be “bookends” on oxidative polymerization. The more of them you have, the shorter the average chain length, so the finer the texture and the greater the aromatic integration.

I don’t like to use megapurple because it imparts an Alicante Bouchet character I call “sweaty fruitiness” that gets in the way of the Bordeaux nuances I’m playing with in this wine.

I focus on ripe-but-not-overripe and use untoasted oak in the fermenter to enhance color extraction.

If you’re into this kind of stuff, you’ll like my book, Postmodern Winemaking: Rethinking the Modern Science of an Ancient Craft, which is available in July from U.C. Press. Check out

I love Petit Verdot and the inkiness it imparts. You don’t have any do you?

Agreed. Had my opinion been allowed to just sit there, it would have been just that: one opinion.

I took a break and read some more from WineSmith’s site ( - and his articles on wine and technology are worth a look. Haven’t read all of them, but they’re thoughtful and clear - and make the wine even more interesting.

Being wooters, I would venture to say that a majority of us look for value. While understanding that certain appellations can have significant “pedigree”, those often come at a price, and not as much value. I think the biggest arguement with great appellations (same can probably be said for great vintages) is that even the mediocre winemakers can produce some good wines from good appellations, while the great winemakers can make excellent wines.

The difference being that great winemakers can still do wonders with grapes from “lesser” appellations, producing wines that are far superior to those that mediocre winemakers are making from great appelations.

I guess my point is that, while appellation is incredibly useful in determining expected characteristics of wine, and at times a premium can be rightfully justified based on appellation AND winemaker, I personally put a much larger emphasis on the winemaker and style then I do on appellation. But then again…I am just a cheap accountant. Hah.

EDIT: I moved my post about shipping to the Plus discussion it referenced. It can be found here:

Shipping discussion

I like Steven Pinker’s point of view on the nature vs nurture debate. He likens it to a discussion about computers. Does your desktop perform as it does because of its hardware or its software? Each alone is entirely necessary but also completely insufficient.

Burgundy is an interesting case in point, because it really is a fabulous place to grow Pinot Noir. Proof is that off the limestone, a few meters from Romanee Conti, they grow potatoes.

However, when a region gets so famous that the name alone guarantees box office sales (like some Hollywood star supporting an atrocious B movie), value suffers. When unmindfully made wines sell anyway, why focus on quality?

It’s almost an incentive to buy only wines from obscure origins. In Iowa, North Carolina and Nova Scotia, the winemakers are keenly clued in because they have to be.

What an insightful question. Petit Verdot is a great solution to the color issue, because it usually marries well with the other Bdx varietal characters.

It’s magic stuff, though quite variable from one vineyard to the next. I do not at present have a source, and even from obscure areas, it’s quite expensive for a blend like this, the Statewide average price being almost $5,000 per ton. But you only use a tiny amount, so it would behoove me to focus on a vineyard who could supply me some.

This question has been discussed before and unfortunately, was not answered there, apparently.

Most wine orders ship out on Monday, allowing them to reach their destination on Wed or Thursday, or at the very latest, Friday, so they don’t sit idle in a truck or warehouse on a weekend. The exception to this is East coast purchasers. These will typically be shipped on a Thursday or Friday, to ensure movement during the weekend (the trucks moving across the country, not sitting idle), and arrive mid-to-late week the following week. They specifically watch weather patterns and time shipping as best as possible.

Summer shipping is a little different, as a lot of this ends up being shipped partially across the country in 3rd-party refridgerated trucks and then sent out from a more centralized fed-ex hub via 2-day shipping (this is not yet in affect though).

Speaking of Woot shipping peculiarities as we were, I needed a couple of surge protectors, and somehow this happened in my shopping cart:

Funny how that works, isn’t it? In for two (of each!)

North, thanks for your reply. I thought it best not to clutter this offer’s discussion with the shipping stuff, and moved my post to the McClean Plus discussion.

Sounds like time for a Wellington conversation. Peter occasionally gets some, loves it, and knows there’s a market for his occasional single-varietal PV as well, and if you two geniuses put your heads together, find a parcel of land…

This is very well put. AVAs are critical in determining the raw materials the winemaker has to work with.

Take Howell Mountain, for instance. There really is no way of making a wine that is not remorselessly tannic from those grapes, and the wise winemaker will embrace that character and make as graceful a monster as possible. It would be a rip-off to press sweet and make a lighter style, because the consumer is expecting big, blocky, angular tannins.

I had a Chateau St. Michelle Merlot over the weekend, and I was disappointed that they had made a mainstream style which, to me, lacked the signature acidity I look for from Washington Merlot.

Trusting winemakers over AVAs makes a lot of sense, because they are traceable and accountable. I can’t afford to make empty promises, especially in a forum like woot, because you guys would rat me out in a heartbeat and I’d lose credibility with the tiny niche that “gets” what I’m up to.

An AVA is accountable to nobody. Napa is above the law. No matter how much complaining goes on about its overblown, caricature style, the extended hangtime, high alcohol, poorly aging trend goes on because there’s always a greater fool.

All that said, Napa is an amazing place to grow Cabernet Sauvignon, and one of these days, I’ll put my $100 Cab, Crucible on a woot sale so you can see my best - Napa Cab done right. It’s really an extraordinary wine, and a bargain for what it is. But don’t buy it because it’s Napa. Buy it because this is me you’re talking to.

There is, in fact, 4% of the 2006 Crucible in this blend, and even in that tiny fraction, it contributes substantial body and substance.

Man, this page is awesome -

“Let’s face facts. Wine assessment in California competitions is a joke. Recent published papers by statistician and Humboldt winemaker Robert Hodgson on judge unreliability2 and on the inconsistency of awards in 13 U.S. wine competitions3 have created a well-deserved scandal.”

Thank you!!

“Today there are thousands of Cabernets being grown in hundreds of AVA’s scattered over dozens of states and provinces, and the percentage of seriously flawed wines has dropped considerably – almost everything is pretty good. Absent defining criteria, judges are left to choose among a wide variety of well-made wines with vastly different personalities, and of course they waffle, as any open-minded expert should.”

Even better.

“As an outgrowth of my work in defining regional varietal identities for, I received this Spring the cooperation of the Riverside International Wine Competition to experiment for the first time in any U.S. competition with the revolutionary concept of judging wines according to regional standards.”

This should be the standard for wine judging.

In for one, BTW. :slight_smile:

…and wait ten years. There’s nothing finer than a stand-alone PV (check out Matt Rorick’s Gascony Cadets from Forelorn Hope, the only wine ever gave a perfect score. But most sites produce one that’s too simple for that status. Picking the right site is inevitably a trial-and-error process. I’ve been beating on my grower clients to plant PV for years, and they chicken out. It’s a problematic grape, high in acidity and prone to shatter.

Seems you have posted something that would interest a good many people, but was not sanctioned by the Amazon over lords. Bad boy!