Winemaking, Waiting & Rating

Yesterday I brought in our Mourvedre. The weather was threatening another rain, which I figured would be too much for the fruit since the skins have turned so soft. Sugar was about 23.9° Brix – about the same as it has been for a week.

Having worked with the varietal for all of three vintages now it seems to me that this is a characteristic of Mourvedre – the sugar increases to some point and then pretty much stays there, while the acids go away and the pH shoots up. So far in tank the Mourvedre smells and tastes wonderful, but I feel like I have a way to go before I have a fuller understanding of this grape.

The Grenache fermentation in process is lovely. When one of my co-workers stuck his nose in it yesterday he exclaimed "I want to wear it!" Whatever.

Tomorrow I finish harvest with the Counoise. The weather is getting better -- I think we are finally in for some "Indian summer" – but I don't think the fruit is going to improve. It is time to be done. The vines are exhausted and so am I, mentally, emotionally and physically.

Just now I have a few moments to write this as I'm awaiting the arrival of a couple from Houston for a tasting here at the Salon – they had one of our wines at Max's Wine Dive and liked it enough to put Westwood on their must-visit list while they are in the Wine Country.

With a free moment I was able to browse the October issue of Wine Enthusiast, where I saw that Steve Heimhoff reviewed an interesting group of Pinot Noirs. It was good to see that Brice Jones (my old boss at Sonoma-Cutrer in the early 90's) and his team have a hit with their latest project, Emeritus.

One other thing I noted in Steve's group of reviews was that the scores ranged from 96 ("exotic... feral... [a]bsolutely unique... endlessly fascinating... ") down to 80 ("Unattractive... funky... medicinal... soft, collapsed texture... ").

OK, once again here's a note to all wine reviewers – we get it, guys. There is a 20 point range between ambrosia and absolute dreck. Why do so many wine publications insist on maintaining the fiction of the "100-point scale"? Why?

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