Friday, January 6, 2012

'Exercise Your Taste Buds,' from Peju Province Winery

PEJU Winemaker Sara Fowler tasted through sixty different barrel lots of the 2009 and 2010 red wines in our cellar yesterday. She called it "checking in with the wine." What was she checking for?

"I'm checking to see how the wine is maturing, how it's progressing, and to see if any of the individual barrels need attention."

Sixty glasses of wine lined the Production office. Incredulous, I asked her how she could possibly maintain the ability to taste the subtleties in numbers fifty through sixty (or even after #20). She chuckled and said,

"Sixty is nothing! I used to have to taste hundreds of wines in a day at one of the other wineries where I've worked. I'll just take a break after the first thirty, do something else for a couple of hours, and then come back to the last thirty."

At Peju, we age our Napa Valley tier reds for 16-18 months, and our Reserve wines for 26 months, so at this time, Sara is tasting through the 2009 Reserves and 2010 Napa Valley tier reds.

"The 2009 Reserves are dee-licious!" She says with glee. Our Reserves are Cabernet Franc- and Cabernet Sauvignon-predominant Bordeaux blends made exclusively from fruit grown certified organically on our Rutherford Estate. "Though each barrel will impart slightly different flavor characteristics-- and we purchase barrels from several different cooperages for this reason-- all the 2009 reserve wines themselves are full of rich, ripe, dark fruit flavors. 2009 was the last great year before the trickier two to follow, but I've been pleasantly surprised at the way the 2010's are tasting today, as well."

"I have the best job in the world," Sara said, as I turned to leave. "It just doesn't get much better than making wine in the Napa Valley. I can't wait to play with these delicious [barrel] lots and start blending later this month!"

by Britt Starr for Peju Province Winery

view the full Blog here: Peju Crush Chronicles