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pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


benito posted:

Sometimes ethical considerations come into play. South African wines used to be produced pretty cheaply because of slavery, followed by the "dop system" in which poor black farmers were paid in leftover cheap wine rather than cash. Then you've got a workforce of addicts who relies on you for their fix, and labor costs are nonexistent.

If you pay migrant workers to pick the grapes, that would be one price level, if you pay full wages and health insurance and everything, that's another price level, and machine harvesting can be another price level depending on the equipment and the scale of the operation.

This is a great point. As an example, Ken Forrester Wines is a good South African producer that is quite inexpensive, quite easy to find in California, and are a member of a South African body that certifies wineries as ethical (WIETA).

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benito
Sep 28, 2004

And I don't blab
any drab gab--
I chatter hep patter

pork never goes bad posted:

This is a great point. As an example, Ken Forrester Wines is a good South African producer that is quite inexpensive, quite easy to find in California, and are a member of a South African body that certifies wineries as ethical (WIETA).

I've got a longer post on this, with info about Partnership Vineyards in South Africa. Not only are they ethical, but they also pay their workers in shares in the company, so even the grape pickers become part owners in the operation. I got to participate in a webinar session and tasting with the head winemaker:

http://wine-by-benito.blogspot.com/...ican-wines.html

got off on a technicality
Feb 7, 2007

oh dear


bartolimu posted:

The best I've managed is to be familiar enough with a couple of regions/varietals/styles I like to be capable of some critical thinking about costs within that genre. For instance, I know a decent amount about German Rieslings - enough to know I tend to prefer those from the Mosel region over others (there are always exceptions), and I have some idea of years in which weather influenced the quality of the wines. Based on that bit of knowledge I can usually pick out one of the better Rieslings in my price range. Occasionally I'm still surprised, though.

Being able to do that for all of winedom is probably beyond the grasp of anyone besides Master Soms, and even they can't know everything.

So Rieslings are a thing that I've been interested in lately; I visited RN74 in SF where they had a "Summer of Riesling" thing going on and had 5 half-glasses that night. Started with a recent Riesling Kabinett and ending in a syrupy mid-90s Donnhoff and was hooked every step of the way. Can you speak more about Rieslings please

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

Wine snob friend got fraped today:

New Zealand Sav Blanc is not terribly fashionable here (and presumably everywhere else) at the moment

therattle
Jul 24, 2007

I'm a family man - I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W.


Soiled Meat

I care bot for fashion, I like a big,tropical-fruity, slightly acidic fresh NZ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. I slightly prefer the full fruitiness to the French Sauvs which are slightly cooler and leaner; the SA Sauvs I find similar in style to the NZ ones but not quite as good.

I'd like a shout-out to some of the German and Austrian wines, like a good minerally dry/off-dry Gruner-Veltilner or Riesling, or a wine I had recently that I'd never heard of, a Kerner (Manny Nossing), which was fantastic. They combine a full, fruity falvour which is balanced by a mineral acidity. Delicious.

I have a question. Are you familiar with the disinfectant TCP (trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl)? It has a very distinctive smell to me which I cannot abide. I have noticed that certain wines, particularly reds, have that same taste, and once I notice it the wine becomes almost undrinkable. I can't recall if it is unique to a certain varietal (Merlot, perhaps), and it seems more common in French reds. What is this smell/taste? Are they phenols? In which wines do theory commonly occur, and why don't people find them utterly offensive?

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

You might be tasting a brettanomyces fault, which is a yeast that produces the chemicals 4-ethylphenol and 4-ethylguaiacol. Reds from the south of France have a bit of a reputation for this; however some people enjoy it. The other thing it could be is 2,4,6, Trichloroanisole or one of its close relatives. These cehmicals generally only come from cork and only wines sealed with cork are affected.

Not everyone can taste the same things in wine. It is quite common for instance for people to be 'bitter blind' -they're unable to perceive bitterness in wine.

bartolimu
Nov 25, 2002



Admirable Gusto posted:

So Rieslings are a thing that I've been interested in lately; I visited RN74 in SF where they had a "Summer of Riesling" thing going on and had 5 half-glasses that night. Started with a recent Riesling Kabinett and ending in a syrupy mid-90s Donnhoff and was hooked every step of the way. Can you speak more about Rieslings please

Caveat: I'm an amateur and most of the people in this thread know as much or more than I do. If I say something wrong I'm sure they'll speak up.

Here is a relatively decent guide for year-to-year variation of German vintages. You can find good wines in pretty much every year, it's just easier to find a great Riesling from 1990 than from 1986. When both are likely to be more expensive due to age, that's not a bad thing to keep in mind.

The general rule for Rieslings is that German ones are frequently sweet, while those from France (the Alsace, right on the German border) are frequently dry. Recently some winemakers on each side of the border have been emulating the other side's style, in part to increase market share and in part because the latest generation of German winemakers grew up drinking (and really liking) dry Rieslings, so they go with what they know.

For reference:
German wine regions (with weird Frenchy names or something), French wine regions.

I'm not very familiar with the Alsace Rieslings, or French wine labeling in general - it's about as labyrinthine as American tax codes, possibly worse - but on German labels there are a few words to look for. Some connote dryness/sweetness:
Trocken - dry
halbtrocken - off-dry

As far as Rieslings go, I generally get more information from the Prädikat designation. Prädikat tells you something about the must weight of the grapes when they were harvested - basically, how concentrated the sugar was versus how much water remained in the grapes. Traditionally these terms were tied to particular harvest times, but I'm not sure that is the case anymore. Exact definition varies by region, sometimes by producer, so they're not a perfect guide to sweetness or anything. Think of them as a one-word description of the winemaking process. The grapes get more raisinlike and are more likely to be infected with botrytis at more advanced stages of harvest.

Kabinett - Main harvest grapes. Least expensive of the group, and the most likely to be fermented to dryness.
Spätlese - Means "late harvest." Probably the best bang for your buck in most years, since the grapes still yield a decent amount of juice.
Auslese - "Select harvest" grapes are very ripe, leading to richer, denser wines than previous harvests. Probably the broadest category as far as sweetness is concerned. These are my favorite food or casual sipping Rieslings. Botrytis isn't uncommon at this stage.
Beerenauslese - "Select berry harvest" - these wines are made from hand-harvested overripe grapes. This style is invariably a dessert wine, extremely sweet with highly concentrated flavors. You can usually expect some botrytis infection at this point in the harvest, though it's not guaranteed.
Trockenbeerenauslese - There's that word "trocken," which we learned above means dry. Don't let it fool you. In this case, it means "select harvest of dry berries." Grapes harvested at this point are basically moldy raisins, covered with botrytis and very dehydrated. These wines are extremely sweet, concentrated, and rich. Also really expensive - I've seen 2-oz pours cost $60 or more for this stuff.

So, what to buy? I tend to go for Spätlese or Auslese as the price range is typically in my budget and the results are frequently good. Riesling is a late-ripening grape, so it's affected by weather more than faster-developing varietals. Years with hot summers (like 1998, the hottest summer on record) yield richer wines in general because the grapes ripen more quickly. Years with mild autumns (most recently 2007) produce especially good Ausleses, since the producers can sit around and wait for optimal ripeness without fear of losing harvest to too much rot, too much heat, etc. Overall cool years make Spätlese a better choice.

If you want to buy something for cellaring, I'd recommend 2007 or 2008 since both of those years have great promise. To drink now, go for the early or late 1990s. If money isn't an object, go back to 1975/76 and you'll see what really aging a good Riesling does. Really though, in my opinion you can't go too far wrong with German Rieslings in general.

benito
Sep 28, 2004

And I don't blab
any drab gab--
I chatter hep patter

I like NZ Sauvignon Blanc with grilled prawns or salads that include some citrus, but the really brassy ones have a great function:

If you have friends or family members that are new to wine and a bit curious, put a highly acidic one in front of them. Ask them to sniff it, and they say, "It smells like wine." Then ask them to sniff it again and look for the grapefruit, and it's so overwhelmingly obvious that they freak out and learn the first step in separating the generic wine aroma from the many possible descriptors. Later you can pull out other bottles and point to pencil shavings or lychee or more subtle notes, but they'll trust you that you're not just making things up, and that if they spend enough time with the wine they might discover these things.

When I've hosted online tastings for novices, I've talked about the background of the winery and the grape composition of the wine, and everything else, but I don't offer any of my own tasting notes. I always ask them what they're smelling or tasting. If it smells like band-aids or an old church* or that magical trip to Burning Man, go ahead and list that as your tasting note.

*I've only encountered this a few times, but I always love it, and have verified the association with a few friends in different states. Your mileage may vary in other countries, but there's this style of oaked Chardonnay that occasionally has the perfect combination of oak, old books, a hint of pine oil, and candles that immediately puts me in the 5th pew at the 100 year old Presbyterian church I attended as a child.

therattle
Jul 24, 2007

I'm a family man - I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W.


Soiled Meat

benito posted:

I like NZ Sauvignon Blanc with grilled prawns or salads that include some citrus, but the really brassy ones have a great function:

If you have friends or family members that are new to wine and a bit curious, put a highly acidic one in front of them. Ask them to sniff it, and they say, "It smells like wine." Then ask them to sniff it again and look for the grapefruit, and it's so overwhelmingly obvious that they freak out and learn the first step in separating the generic wine aroma from the many possible descriptors. Later you can pull out other bottles and point to pencil shavings or lychee or more subtle notes, but they'll trust you that you're not just making things up, and that if they spend enough time with the wine they might discover these things.

When I've hosted online tastings for novices, I've talked about the background of the winery and the grape composition of the wine, and everything else, but I don't offer any of my own tasting notes. I always ask them what they're smelling or tasting. If it smells like band-aids or an old church* or that magical trip to Burning Man, go ahead and list that as your tasting note.

*I've only encountered this a few times, but I always love it, and have verified the association with a few friends in different states. Your mileage may vary in other countries, but there's this style of oaked Chardonnay that occasionally has the perfect combination of oak, old books, a hint of pine oil, and candles that immediately puts me in the 5th pew at the 100 year old Presbyterian church I attended as a child.
I like the grapefruit idea!

I don't like oaked wines, especially whites, so I avoid Chardonnay.

idiotsavant
Jun 4, 2000

"I don't care!"

pork never goes bad posted:

Benito also mentioned real estate, which is fair enough. Unknown or less popular region wines can often be a great QPR. I like the Loire Valley for whites, and increasingly for reds. Of course, I've read more about wine than I've drunk right now, so perhaps take some of the recommendations I make with a grain of salt, but trying some wines from different regions can lead you to make some general rules that let you buy blind and be satisfied more often.

Here's a really good blog post from Tablas Creek that goes into a little more detail regarding land costs & how they affect wine costs, at least in California.

consensual poster
Sep 1, 2009



therattle posted:

I don't like oaked wines, especially whites, so I avoid Chardonnay.

Plenty of unoaked and neutral barrel-aged Chardonnay out on the market right now. You are missing out on some good stuff.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Perfectly Cromulent posted:

Plenty of unoaked and neutral barrel-aged Chardonnay out on the market right now. You are missing out on some good stuff.

Christ, I never seem to like chardonnay that I try. I "get" pineau d'aunis better than chardonnay. And it's not just the oak.

consensual poster
Sep 1, 2009



pork never goes bad posted:

Christ, I never seem to like chardonnay that I try. I "get" pineau d'aunis better than chardonnay. And it's not just the oak.

I can understand the sentiment. Chardonnay is a grape that is either bad, mediocre, or amazing for me. There are very few that are merely good and I'd usually rather drink something else for the same amount of money.

That being said, there are few wines I love more than a really good white Burgundy or, say, a Cameron Clos Electrique Blanc.

Bleston Humenthal
Nov 5, 2008

What are you doing, Julian! The chicken fingers aren’t even cooked! You want us to get sasparilla or something, you dick!

So I bought a bunch of '08 Oregon Pinots a while back, and I'm trying to organize my cellar a bit. I know they talked a big game out there about the ageability of their wines, but I want to make sure I'm not letting them sit overlong. Is there a good way to guess when a bottle will be coming into its prime, when you don't have multiple bottles of the wine to sample over time? Here's the ones on which I'm trying to put a rough drinking order/timeline (all wines are '08):

White Rose - Dragon's Bluff - North Valley Reserve
Bergstrom - Lancelloti
Shea - Block 7
St. Innocent - White rose vineyard
McKinley - Willamette Special Selection
Penner Ashe - Bella Vita
White Rose - 2008 Estate
White Rose - Dragon's Bluff - White Rose Vineyard Hand Select
White Rose - Dragon's Bluff - Dundee Hills
Crowley - Willamette
Pat Green - Ribbon Ridge

Some insight would be appreciated. Can I really hold these things for 10 years and have them improve, or at least not degrade?

consensual poster
Sep 1, 2009



Bleston Humenthal posted:

White Rose - Dragon's Bluff - North Valley Reserve
Bergstrom - Lancelloti
Shea - Block 7
St. Innocent - White rose vineyard
McKinley - Willamette Special Selection
Penner Ashe - Bella Vita
White Rose - 2008 Estate
White Rose - Dragon's Bluff - White Rose Vineyard Hand Select
White Rose - Dragon's Bluff - Dundee Hills
Crowley - Willamette
Pat Green - Ribbon Ridge

Some insight would be appreciated. Can I really hold these things for 10 years and have them improve, or at least not degrade?

2008 is a great vintage in Oregon, probably the best in the last 10 years or so. Most of what you have is mid to high-end stuff that will have no problem aging for 5 to 10 years. The Crowley and White Rose Estate are probably exceptions and should be opened in the next year or so. Most of the rest will be really good for about 5. 10+ years is possible, especially for stuff like the St. Innocent White Rose Vineyard (such a good wine).

I guess it depends on how much you like older wine. Personally, I like my Oregon Pinot on the younger side, but the more age-worthy ones can last a long time if they are well cared for. There was recently a vertical tasting of the Eyrie Reserve South Block Pinot Noir going back to the 70's and the wines are still good. Those are very structured wines, though. I've had some Eyrie Reserves from the 80's and 90's and, personally, I think they're more interesting than good when they get old, but I feel that way about almost all older wines.

4/20 NEVER FORGET
Dec 2, 2002

NEVER FORGET OK

Fun Shoe

Perfectly Cromulent posted:

2008 is a great vintage in Oregon, probably the best in the last 10 years or so. Most of what you have is mid to high-end stuff that will have no problem aging for 5 to 10 years. The Crowley and White Rose Estate are probably exceptions and should be opened in the next year or so. Most of the rest will be really good for about 5. 10+ years is possible, especially for stuff like the St. Innocent White Rose Vineyard (such a good wine).

I guess it depends on how much you like older wine.

Perfectly Cromulent is right. I could see the Crowley and White Rose Estate being youthful for another 3-5 years but they are more designed for the short term. The other stuff though should age past 5 and into the 10 year and possibly further area. The only exception for myself is the St. Innocent wine, I've had 12 year old wines from them (95 and 96 Freedom hill to be exact) that were completely dead, so personally I wouldn't hold those ones past 5 years OR just keep a close eye on cellartracker.

Perfectly Cromulent talks about a Eyrie tasting he went to recently, user Subtlet was also at that and wrote an amazing write-up on it here: http://www.cellartracker.com/new/event.asp?iEvent=15174

Also, user Subtlet and I went to a tasting organized by the wineberserker.com forums where we tasted many old vintages of Oregon wines that were still very much alive, this time my notes: http://www.cellartracker.com/event.asp?iEvent=14877



I tend to like my Oregon Pinots right on that edge where they are still showing youthful fruit but there is still some secondary flavor that comes from age. You owe it to yourself to find out whether or not you like them old or young first before you age the wines. The nice thing about most of those wines you posted is that they will be drinking pretty drat well for their entire lifetime.

Nice collection of 2008's, btw. I threw my credit card at 2008 Oregon Pinots as well, buying about 75 bottles in total.

Bleston Humenthal
Nov 5, 2008

What are you doing, Julian! The chicken fingers aren’t even cooked! You want us to get sasparilla or something, you dick!

Yeah, I went a little crazy on a trip out there a few years ago. Patience is not one of my stronger virtues, but I would like to keep that vintage around for as long as possible, but not hold on so tight that I open a dead bottle. Thanks for the insight.

consensual poster
Sep 1, 2009



4/20 NEVER FORGET posted:

Perfectly Cromulent talks about a Eyrie tasting he went to recently, user Subtlet was also at that and wrote an amazing write-up on it here: http://www.cellartracker.com/new/event.asp?iEvent=15174

Oh God, I wish I had been there. I know a few people who went and heard how amazing it was. Subtlet's notes are excellent.

4/20 NEVER FORGET posted:

The only exception for myself is the St. Innocent wine, I've had 12 year old wines from them (95 and 96 Freedom hill to be exact) that were completely dead, so personally I wouldn't hold those ones past 5 years OR just keep a close eye on cellartracker.

Well, in your tasting notes you say that the 1997 St. Innocent Brickhouse Vineyard Pinot still tasted youthful. This is kind of the problem I've had in recommending almost anything in Oregon past 10 years old. With a few exceptions, it seems like aging anything past that point is a total crap-shoot.


Currently drinking: 2004 Bodegas Torrederos Tinto Torrederos Ribera del Duero Reserva

So good. Blackberry, plum, a little vanillin from the oak with an herbaceous note and some dusty minerality on the finish. Bright, fresh, and lively where many (especially non-Spanish) tempranillos are clumsy and insipid. I'm always hesitant to open a tempranillo, but this is making me very happy.

Eco RI
Nov 4, 2008

NOM NOM NOM OM NOM



http://news.opb.org/article/wet-wea...arvest-decades/

It seems some members of the press have, unlike 2010, already grabbed a hold of the 2011 Willamette Valley vintage and are attempting to run it into the ground. GDD are tracking about a week behind 2010, which was itself a difficult year to get phenolic ripeness of any type. There were a few properties that were able to ripen fruit, but the overwhelming majority came in under-ripe and needed substantial chaptalization and subsequent chalking out of the high acidity, mostly well before ML fermentation began. Make sure you read the comments to this article and take their opinions with a grain of salt. While they seem to remain optimistic as one of the most challenging vintages in Oregon's history looms, they are also producers who live and die by press like this. I'd love to take the advice of a "farmer in the field," unless that farmer had as much skin in the game as these do. But, we'll see how this rounds out when fruit begins arriving this/next week.

Full disclosure: Highest brix and pH we've seen so far on any Willamette pinot noir property: 20.1 brix, 3.05...and that was yesterday. For reference, in 2008, fruit began to come in at 24-25 brix and around a pH of 3.5 in the last part of September. God have mercy on our souls.

Eco RI fucked around with this message at Oct 10, 2011 around 20:14

gay picnic defence
Oct 5, 2009

If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders - What would you tell him?

To Shrug.

There were similar things this year in Aus.

No one wanted to talk about botrytis but natural acid, longevity and elegance were on everyone's lips.
A good vintage for owning your own pasteurising unit and hiring it out to your neighbours.

benito
Sep 28, 2004

And I don't blab
any drab gab--
I chatter hep patter

At Halloween, I like to purchase very stupid wine glasses. Cheap plastic out of China, but sometimes fun to throw on a table for a party.

As I said on Facebook, imagine Vincent Price saying, "Oh my... this wine is... a SCREAM!"



And I will always love this Champagne flute:

Flattened Spoon
Dec 31, 2007


Hi Thread. I'm relatively new to wine and I'm still trying to get my footing on being able to differentiate between different types and varieties. So far I've enjoyed red wines like cabernet, though a lot of wines still are mainly hot or quite acid. I remember beer being similar, though more tasting like piss and ear wax, but the revelation of being able to taste the hops and malts came from after brewing up a batch and smelling/tasting the hops by itself. After that beer tastes amazing. So I've decided to so something similar with wine by making some.

My dad used to be an avid beer/wine maker many years ago, so I've inherited (stolen) his brewing equipment in the cellar and cleaned it up. I started looking online at different wine making kits or whatever, but soon discovered that it was grape harvesting season soon so I decided to buy some grapes instead. I've also read this 150 page free ebook online cover to cover, describing the different techniques and procedures for making the wine, covering the many sugars and acids in grapes and how they affect taste/stability of the wine, the chemistry of pH, free SO2 and how they protect wines, processing and fining, primary and secondary ML fermentation, and a bunch of other stuff. Feeling well-armed with my new found knowledge, I decided to buy 3x 36 lb cases of petite sirah and 4x cases of cabernet sav. I also got a (I think) decent pH meter and cheap materials to build a free SO2 AO test apparatus. I bought the grapes this past Sunday.

When I tested the grapes before fermentation, the petite sirah came out to: pH 3.4, brix ~19.5, TA 0.58%, and the cab sav came to pH 3.59, brix 21.5, TA 0.48%. I put in some K metabisulfite and pitched the yeast the next day and let her rip.

Now some questions. (I hope it's ok to ask wine making questions here...I've read the entire last thread and there weren't any but I devoured all of the wine making posts) Is it bad that I didn't adjust the must before initiating primary fermentation? I've read to adjust it before pitching yeast, but I've also read people adding sugar a little at a time throughout fermentation if the brix level is a little low. Same question applies for adding tartaric acid after fermentation? It seems like it would be better to adjust it to taste after the grapes have fermented. I added 500 grams of dissolved sugar to the petite sirah today to bring it up ~ 1%. I know that the alcohol will be a little low but that's ok I think, wine in general seems too hot for my palate atm. We'll see how it goes I guess. So far the whole process has been a blast!

The grapes are fermenting in my bedroom atm since it's somewhat temperature controlled. It's been holding steady at ~75F. Also my room smells amazing. Hearing the grapes fizz at night makes me smile.

Eco RI
Nov 4, 2008

NOM NOM NOM OM NOM



rangersilme posted:

Hi Thread. I'm relatively new to wine and I'm still trying to get my footing on being able to differentiate between different types and varieties. So far I've enjoyed red wines like cabernet, though a lot of wines still are mainly hot or quite acid. I remember beer being similar, though more tasting like piss and ear wax, but the revelation of being able to taste the hops and malts came from after brewing up a batch and smelling/tasting the hops by itself. After that beer tastes amazing. So I've decided to so something similar with wine by making some.

My dad used to be an avid beer/wine maker many years ago, so I've inherited (stolen) his brewing equipment in the cellar and cleaned it up. I started looking online at different wine making kits or whatever, but soon discovered that it was grape harvesting season soon so I decided to buy some grapes instead. I've also read this 150 page free ebook online cover to cover, describing the different techniques and procedures for making the wine, covering the many sugars and acids in grapes and how they affect taste/stability of the wine, the chemistry of pH, free SO2 and how they protect wines, processing and fining, primary and secondary ML fermentation, and a bunch of other stuff. Feeling well-armed with my new found knowledge, I decided to buy 3x 36 lb cases of petite sirah and 4x cases of cabernet sav. I also got a (I think) decent pH meter and cheap materials to build a free SO2 AO test apparatus. I bought the grapes this past Sunday.

When I tested the grapes before fermentation, the petite sirah came out to: pH 3.4, brix ~19.5, TA 0.58%, and the cab sav came to pH 3.59, brix 21.5, TA 0.48%. I put in some K metabisulfite and pitched the yeast the next day and let her rip.

Now some questions. (I hope it's ok to ask wine making questions here...I've read the entire last thread and there weren't any but I devoured all of the wine making posts) Is it bad that I didn't adjust the must before initiating primary fermentation? I've read to adjust it before pitching yeast, but I've also read people adding sugar a little at a time throughout fermentation if the brix level is a little low. Same question applies for adding tartaric acid after fermentation? It seems like it would be better to adjust it to taste after the grapes have fermented. I added 500 grams of dissolved sugar to the petite sirah today to bring it up ~ 1%. I know that the alcohol will be a little low but that's ok I think, wine in general seems too hot for my palate atm. We'll see how it goes I guess. So far the whole process has been a blast!

The grapes are fermenting in my bedroom atm since it's somewhat temperature controlled. It's been holding steady at ~75F. Also my room smells amazing. Hearing the grapes fizz at night makes me smile.

The optimal time to make sugar additions if you don't do them en masse prior to inoculation is in equally spaced intervals during the steepest part of the fermentation curve (during which the second third of the sugar is consumed in fermentation). In fact, there have been some recent papers suggesting that lengthening this phase of fermentation actually encourages glycerol production. That said, adding it too late could potentially leave you with some unwanted residual sugar once the yeast begin to shut down. So, I would recommend adding early and often.

I'm assuming you are planning on innoculating the batch with an ML culture once primary fermentation is done(unless you have already done so). If you have to add more tartaric (I personally wouldn't this with these varietals at that pH/TA), add it between the end of primary and the start of secondary. Alternatively, you could add the tartaric acid just prior to bottling, but it won't "integrate" as well as if you adjusted it prior to primary. I would just recommend against it in general with the fruit that you currently have. Be sure keep the pH > 3.5 so that the ML ferment doesn't struggle. You'll also want to wait to add any significant amount of KMB until after ML is complete. Otherwise, good luck. Also, for home winemaking purposes, I would recommend against any extended maceration. There have been several recent articles in the industry journal that basically show the net effect as negligible (across different [EtOH]). In the future, any improvements you would like to see in phenolic extraction and color stability should be made via cold-soaking, and even that should probably never exceed 3 weeks.

Also, as a rule of thumb, the general conversion factor for brix to %abv is roughly .55. I've seen yeasts produce more and less EtOH, but this is close enough. So figure that, with your current brix, you'll get 10.7% and 11.8% abv, respectively.

Eco RI fucked around with this message at Oct 12, 2011 around 20:10

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


rangersilme, that's very cool. I've always wanted to brew beer or make wine at home, but space has always stopped me.

I've been continuing my exploration of the Loire Valley in wine form, and have some recommendations and recent purchases to share. Please don't make fun of my pretentious cellartracker notes too much!!!

http://www.cellartracker.com/new/wine.asp?iWine=1174220
If anyone has a Trader Joe's near you, you owe yourself a bottle of this to try, at least. It's about $7, and really insanely drinkable. The other two notes aren't nearly as positive as mine, but if you like minerality in whites this is a great cheap option, and if you don't know whether you like minerality in whites, or Muscadet, this is a good exploration option.

http://www.cellartracker.com/new/wine.asp?iWine=1222180
I bought a white from this producer when in France so I was very happy to see this in a shop in Berkeley. It's a great Cab Franc at a great QPR. This is a great example of a low fruit, low tannin, low alcohol, high acid red wine.

http://www.cellartracker.com/new/wine.asp?iWine=1094632
Another purchase from the same Berkeley wine store. I loved this stuff, found it really easy to drink. Another high acid wine, this paired really well with rich food. The second day I had a glass or so left which I had with beef stew leftovers, and it worked really well. I'll have to try bone dry acidic whites with beef and other rich food more often.


http://www.cellartracker.com/new/wine.asp?iWine=1032253
http://www.cellartracker.com/new/wine.asp?iWine=964644
http://www.cellartracker.com/new/wine.asp?iWine=1235284
Going into K&L's SF location I was somewhat overwhelmed. It's huge! I normally shop for wine at TJs, or at smaller wine stores, or at wineries themselves, so the selection at K&L was a bit overwhelming. I ended up gravitating towards the Loire area, as usual, and picked up these three wines. I have had a Champalou Vouvray in the past (that time just the normal one, not this fancy one) and was very impressed. The other two were a recommendation from a staff member. Apparently the Paradis Chinon tastes like Violets? Either way, I'm looking forward to trying them, and in fact had to add the third to CT. You can look up other wines from the same producer for more info, though. I believe Garagiste has offered a lot of Philippe Tessier wine this year.



As I said, I'm really trying to drink all round the Loire, so if anyone has any producer recommendations please let me know! I guess I also need another part of the world to explore next, so what else would I like as a die-hard Loire fan?

Flattened Spoon
Dec 31, 2007


Eco RI posted:

The optimal time to make sugar additions if you don't do them en masse prior to inoculation is in equally spaced intervals during the steepest part of the fermentation curve (during which the second third of the sugar is consumed in fermentation). In fact, there have been some recent papers suggesting that lengthening this phase of fermentation actually encourages glycerol production. That said, adding it too late could potentially leave you with some unwanted residual sugar once the yeast begin to shut down. So, I would recommend adding early and often.

I'm assuming you are planning on innoculating the batch with an ML culture once primary fermentation is done(unless you have already done so). If you have to add more tartaric (I personally wouldn't this with these varietals at that pH/TA), add it between the end of primary and the start of secondary. Alternatively, you could add the tartaric acid just prior to bottling, but it won't "integrate" as well as if you adjusted it prior to primary. I would just recommend against it in general with the fruit that you currently have. Be sure keep the pH > 3.5 so that the ML ferment doesn't struggle. You'll also want to wait to add any significant amount of KMB until after ML is complete. Otherwise, good luck. Also, for home winemaking purposes, I would recommend against any extended maceration. There have been several recent articles in the industry journal that basically show the net effect as negligible (across different [EtOH]). In the future, any improvements you would like to see in phenolic extraction and color stability should be made via cold-soaking, and even that should probably never exceed 3 weeks.

Also, as a rule of thumb, the general conversion factor for brix to %abv is roughly .55. I've seen yeasts produce more and less EtOH, but this is close enough. So figure that, with your current brix, you'll get 10.7% and 11.8% abv, respectively.

Wow that's awesome, thanks! That sugar addition schedule makes sense. I had to look up what glycerol was, and that's an interesting consequence. I've read that burgundy wines usually add sugar which helps increase their mouth-feel, so is this one of the reasons?

And thank you very much for the tartaric acid addition advice. The only reason I thought about adding it was because of general (and probably useless) advice for the TA of dry red wines being in the 0.6-0.7% range. I did consider conducting a secondary fermentation but thought against it because the TA was a little low. My limited understanding of it is that it's used on grapes with a high acid content due to being under-ripe and thus have larger amounts of unstable malic acid, and also to help stabilize the wine against other microbes by consuming the more unstable food sources. However the grape must tastes amazing atm and I don't really notice any deficient acid, though I'm not sure if that matters at all. Because of your post I'll get some MLB and play with that.

When you said that those varietals wouldn't need additional acid with my current pH/TA, is that because the more tannic wines don't need as high an acid content as less tannic wines? Or should I just forget the .6-.7% TA guideline?

There was a graph in the book showing color and tannin extraction over time, where after ~4 days color extraction stopped while tannins increased due to color pigments being soluble in water and tannins extracted from the increasing ethanol. I'll try to press the grapes hopefully this friday. I'll look into cold soaking for the future. How long would you consider extended maceration to be ie. how long is too long?

Also, my last classes in biology and chemistry were (sadly) in high school. I'm currently an engineering student, so while I've largely forgotten everything since then I feel I might be able to try to learn some of it without (hopefully) too much difficulty. Are there any resources you would suggest to look into? Such as the more hard-core microbiology/chemistry books or books geared more toward wine-making?

Again thanks! Your posts are very enlightening.

Flattened Spoon
Dec 31, 2007


pork never goes bad posted:

rangersilme, that's very cool. I've always wanted to brew beer or make wine at home, but space has always stopped me.

Hey thanks!

I don't know your situation but brewing up a batch of beer surprisingly doesn't take up very much space. All you need is a decently large pot (~3-5 gallons) and a stove to fit it on, a sink, counter and a bathtub (it makes cleaning everything a lot easier). You can shove the carboy under a table if you're careful. If you're innovative you can make it in a pretty small kitchen, though it might take a couple of tries to get your work-flow smooth. The beer extract kits are only 5 gallons and make tastey brew, all-grain would require much more space. Though this isn't a beer thread so I'll stop now. Wine making in a small space would be a lot harder I think. I doubt the concentrate kits are worth it though I could be wrong.

Cpt.Wacky
Apr 17, 2005


rangersilme posted:

Wine making in a small space would be a lot harder I think. I doubt the concentrate kits are worth it though I could be wrong.

Mead can be very wine-like and it's about as simple to make as those beer kits, it just takes longer to be ready.

I like to buy local stuff. Can anyone recommend some Washington wines? I'm no expert so about all I know is that I like them cheap (<$15 or so) and red. There are a few local wineries and I've already tried all their stuff that wasn't too expensive.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Someone posted a pretty good and pretty simple guide to the German Pradikat system on Wine Berserkers (thanks for the link 4/20!) which I'm going to paste here. I also put a link so people can read comments if you like.
http://wineberserkers.com/forum/vie...hp?f=21&t=54623

A primer on the prädikat system of German Riesling.
Note 1: In the somewhat bizarre world of German wine there are separate ripeness requirements for every single approved grape variety. So what’s kabinett for Riesling is not necessarily kabinett for Scheurebe (in fact it is not if I recall correctly). The same goes for Muscat (each kind of Muscat…), Kerner, Spätburgunder, etc. So the numbers quoted below are for Riesling unless otherwise stated.

The prädikat system:
Developed as part of the 1971 wine law (which also rewrote the boundaries of a number of vineyard sites), the prädikat system was meant to codify and clarify (?) the ripeness requirements for various levels of German wine. Prior to 1971, terms such as Cabinet (generally meaning a wine meant for keeping) and Feinste Auselse (roughly translatable to today’s gold capsule auslese) were used with little or no regulation. Certainly 1971 was an auspicious year to start such a system, as the exceptional vintage meant a full usage of the system, from QbA to TBA in its first year out of the blocks. Since 1971 there have been some revisions to the system, most notably the addition of the Eiswein prädikat in the ‘80s, but the majority of the system remains as imposed in 1971. (As an aside, there have been some more recent additions with the advent of Grosses Gewächs, Erste Lage, Selection & Classic labeling rules, but that is another set of rules for another post.)

On to the system.

There are essentially three levels of wine in Germany. The first is tafelwein, equivalent to vin de table in France and actually controlled in its regulation through the European Union, not German wine law. With the exception of certain “experimental” lots (e.g. untraditional use of barrique) this category is not worth considering here.

The second category is Quälitatswein eines bestimmten Anbaugebeites, hereafter referred to as QbA. While not actually a prädikat, QbA (translatable as “quality wine from a specified region”) still has legal requirements on grape variety and ripeness. In that way it is frequently, and incorrectly, considered as a part of the prädikat system (even though the wines must pass the testing process and receive an AP number…more later). This does not mean that QbA is inferior wine. In fact many QbA wines are excellent and can represent remarkable value. QbA has also recently been used as the opening for the new styles of dry wines in Germany, with wines legally entitled to a prädikat instead being sold as QbA or with a new designation of Grosse Gewächs/Erstes Gewächs. This primer will not delve into the Grosse Gewächs discussion. That will have to come later.

The third category of wine is Quälitatswein mit Prädikat. This is the heart of the matter. “Quality wine with distinction” (or attributes) is the translation, and it opens up the world of fine German wine, and a whole lot of confusion for those who are first faced with a German wine label.

First off there are six levels of pradikat, though one (eiswein) is not really a separate level, just a specification of production tied to other levels. The levels are:

Kabinett: The first level of prädikat, and normally the lowest in alcohol

Spätlese: Literally meaning “late harvest”, and required to be harvested at least one week after the main harvest has started

Auslese: Meaning “selected harvest”, but with no requirement for late picking

Beerenauslese (BA): Meaning “berry selection”, and normally affected by botrytis. This is also the minimum level of ripeness required for a wine to be officially classified as an Eiswein.

Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA): Meaning “dried berry selection”, and normally affected by significant amounts of botrytis.

Each of these prädikats carries with it certain requirements for the “ripeness” of the grapes (actually the sugar content of the unfermented grape must) that vary by region and grape variety. This is specified by the öchsle scale (a measure of specific gravity of the must), and does not in any way indicate the amount of sugar in the finished wine.

Limiting this discussion to Riesling, and the six most famous wine regions of Germany, the minimum öchsle requirements are:

QbA: 51 (approx. 12.6 degrees Brix!!) for the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Mittelrhein; 57 for the Nahe and Rheingau; 60 for the Pfalz and Rheinhessen

Kabinett: 70 (approx. 17 degrees Brix) for the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Mittelrhein and Nahe; 73 for the Pfalz, Rheingau and Rheinhessen

Spätlese: 76 (approx. 18.4 degrees Brix) for the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Mittelrhein; 78 for the Nahe; 85 for the Pfalz, Rheingau and Rheinhessen

Auslese: 83 (approx. 20 degrees Brix) for the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Mittelrhein; 85 for the Nahe; 92 for the Pfalz and Rheinhessen; 95 for the Rheingau

Beerenauslese & Eiswein: 110 (approx. 25.8 degrees Brix) for the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and Mittelrhein; 120 for the Nahe, Pfalz and Rheinhessen; 125 for the Rheingau

Trockenbeerenauslese: 150 (approx. 34 degrees Brix) for ALL SIX REGIONS

There are a couple of things to note here. First is that the ripeness requirements overlap. For instance an auslese in the Mosel may only legally be spätlese in the Pfalz. This is based on the climate in the various regions, and the likelihood (prior to the recent warmer years) of ripening grapes to the specified requirements. Second is that there are no requirements for the use of gold capsules, stars or any other special identifier. This is a loophole in the 1971 wine law that leaves everybody confused.

Again, the requirements listed above are for the unfermented grape must, and do not necessarily give an indication of the final residual sugar in the wine. The terms Trocken (dry) and Halbtrocken (“half-dry”) do have legal definitions, and when placed on the label indicate residual sugar content ranges. For trocken the range in 0-9 grams per liter of residual sugar, and for halbtrocken the range is 10-18 grams per liter. For about half of the trocken range the allowable residual sugar range is below the human detection threshold (commonly around 5 or 6 grams per liter), and given the acidity of most German Riesling, the average trocken wine will taste dry. Halbtrocken is completely within the detection threshold, but can end up tasting fairly dry due to the acidity. Even wines with higher residual sugars can taste dry if the acidity in the wine is high enough. (Tried any 1996 kabinetts folks?)

So it now seems perfectly clear. Right?

Heck, this is where it gets fun!

There are a whole bunch of things that can happen to totally confound the wine lover. Let’s take them one by one.

1. Why is my kabinett so sweet?
Well probably because it’s not really kabinett. More than likely these days (2005 is perhaps the latest ultimate test case) the wine labeled kabinett is actually spätlese. It’s been declassified. So you’re getting a bargain right? Well yes, but if you’ve come to expect the light, fruity, just off-dry refreshing kabinett of yore (those of us who started drinking these wine prior to say 1998) then you are likely to be disappointed. Many of today’s kabinetts are monsters sold as kabinett because people buy kabinett. The $15.99 kabinett is a staple of the wine trade (at least the niche that is German wine), and without it the genre might actually flounder. So producers are “forced” to make something called kabinett. If they pick the grapes earlier (lower sugars but unripe skins/seeds) the wines can be green and nasty. So some take their lightest spätlese (or even auslese) and call it kabinett, while others do a careful selection in the vineyard to try to craft something that resembles kabinett.

Don’t get me wrong. I love some of these “declassified” (there’s a loaded word for you) bargains. As an example, the 2005 Selbach-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett is legally an auslese. It was harvested at 99 öchsle (remember 83 is the minimum for auslese in the Mosel). Now it does not taste like an auslese, but it certainly does not taste quite like kabinett. I’m cellaring it with anticipation that it will react in much the same way as a good spätlese. If I want a kabinett I grab a bottle of 1997 Willi Schaefer Graacher Domprobst or a Merkelbach wine. (Both of them are likely legal spätlese, but at least they taste like kabinett.)

So with a series of very hot years the genre of kabinett is a somewhat endangered species. What is a wine lover to do? You can drink QbA, but the alcohol content is likely to be higher. Most QbAs I run across are around 10% alcohol by volume, where kabinett hovers around 8-9 percent. I guess until (if?) we have a cooler year we will be drinking a lot of spätlese and auslese but not knowing it from the label

2. What do the stars/capsules mean?
Oh another one of my favorites. This is widely discussed on the wine bulletin boards every time a new vintage of Christoffel (stars), Selbach-Oster (stars), J. J. Prum (capsules) or Dönnhoff (capsules) is released. All the stars or capsules are is a way for a producer to designate selections of a certain pradikat. Unfortunately they don’t use them consistently. They have no legal requirement to do so.

And please let me stress that the “no star” wine is not a bad wine. It’s just a different wine, usually priced lower and thus a lovely bargain for the discerning wine geek. For what it’s worth, my favorite 2005 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Auslese is the no star, and I have tasted them all multiple times.

This gets even more complicated because some producers (e.g. Dönnhoff) use gold capsules for all of their auslesen. It is only by knowing the AP number (that cryptic code number on the bottom of the label) that one can determine if the bottling in hand is the regular or gold capsule release. I have two versions of the 2001 Dönnhoff Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling Auslese. They have two different AP numbers. One is the “regular” bottling (my wife’s favorite wine in the world by the way), and the other is the “gold cap.” Of course now even Helmut Donnhoff has caught on, and he even refers to the wines as gold capsule.

Stars can represent a stylistic choice as well. J.u.H.A. Strub has released several Niersteiner Paterberg Riesling Spätlese wines with stars. The 1998, 2001 & 2005 have three stars, while the 2002 version has two stars. They basically denote an auslese level wine with no botrytis. So we have another variation on the theme, with the number of stars being some indicator of the overall concentration of the particular wine.

Stars and capsules can be discussed till the proverbial cows come home.

idiotsavant
Jun 4, 2000

"I don't care!"

rangersilme posted:

Also, my last classes in biology and chemistry were (sadly) in high school. I'm currently an engineering student, so while I've largely forgotten everything since then I feel I might be able to try to learn some of it without (hopefully) too much difficulty. Are there any resources you would suggest to look into? Such as the more hard-core microbiology/chemistry books or books geared more toward wine-making?
Don't know what the modern day equivalent is, but Knowing and Making Wine by Emile Peynaud is very well written and very informative. I'm sure some of it is less relevant these days but it still feels like pretty solid information.

I wouldn't worry very much about adjusting tartaric or chapetalizing (ie adding sugar) or anything else if it's your first time making home wine. Worry about proper sanitation, getting your SO2 additions right, and proper inoculations. It's easy enough to get the basic things down and make perfectly drinkable wine - there's no need to go crazy worrying about acidification or enzymes or other extra details the first time around.

Subtlet
Jun 10, 2004
You say that all the time

" a pretty good and pretty simple guide to the German Pradikat... "

Total deliciousness wrapped in an intimidating shroud of complexity?

German Riesling = nerd juice
Burgundy = rich nerd juice


It's like a puzzle that feeds you candy after you figure it out!

idiotsavant
Jun 4, 2000

"I don't care!"

Here's another very thorough explanation of German wine and wine law.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I should have remembered that guy has a good Germany article too. I love the Loire one!

Speaking of the Loire:



It was a bit young, lot of red fruit and pepper on the nose. Tasted earthy, very characteristic cab franc. Big fan!! Really needed the decant.

Ignore the boxes in the background, by the way, new apartment.

ETA: http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1020940 2008 Chateau du Hureau Saumur Champigny "Tuffe"

pork never goes bad fucked around with this message at Oct 17, 2011 around 02:39

enthe0s
Oct 24, 2010

In another few hours, the sun will rise!


pork never goes bad posted:

I should have remembered that guy has a good Germany article too. I love the Loire one!

Speaking of the Loire:



It was a bit young, lot of red fruit and pepper on the nose. Tasted earthy, very characteristic cab franc. Big fan!! Really needed the decant.

Ignore the boxes in the background, by the way, new apartment.

ETA: http://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=1020940 2008 Chateau du Hureau Saumur Champigny "Tuffe"

What's the name of the apparatus you have in the pic? My friend has one and I asked her about it a couple of months ago but I can't remember what it's called at the moment.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


A decanter! It is for pouring wine into to remove sediment, and also for aeration. You know when people swirl their glasses? Same thing - oxygenating wine brings out a variety of different smells and flavors that may otherwise be muted. Plus it's fun to try out to see the effects on different wines.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Is a double post a bad thing?

So I think people should do more "What are you drinking today" posts! At risk of sounding a lush, here is what I am drinking today. (sorry for bad cellphone pic!)



2004 Sawyer Cellars Bradford Meritage in a half bottle. Sawyer has a lot of half bottles from 2004. I guess they made them intending to sell them to restaurants for glass pours, but it didn't take off, so I got a few cases of halves for very cheap prices. Means I can drink old stuff on a Monday night.

The 2004 is made from a blend of 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 13% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc with 24 months under French oak. Out of a full bottle this is just coming into strength, but the half bottle has aged much faster and it's beginning to lose a lot of the fruit. There is a lot of leather/earth/smoke here that isn't quite so overwhelming in the full bottle. This is very spicy and still quite tannic for a Meritage this age with this much oak, and if I had better storage facilities I'd pick up a few full bottles to keep over the next few years to see how they change with a slower development. It's a little bit drier or thinner than a lot of Napa Meritage, so if you like the Napa thing at slightly lower abv, maybe give them a shot.

Mandalay
Mar 16, 2007

WoW Forums Refugee

I for one appreciate your posts even if I can't comprehend 99% of them. Also I miss the hell out of Berkeley, so those local shoutouts aren't going unnoticed

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Tonight my fiancee and I are celebrating her birthday privately. Tomorrow we go out with friends for cocktails, so no wine then, but tonight we are drinking lots of nice wine!!! Well, by lots I mean 2 bottles. Here they are.......


We started with 2010 Unti Cuvee Blanc. This was recommended to me by the nice people at Arlequin in San Francisco. It's made up of 48% Grenache Blanc, 45% Vermentino, and 7% Picpoul, and we both liked this very much. It's so loving good. Bracing acidity, and bright fruit. This went down very easily. Unti is in Napa Valley, but the style of wine is very different to the norm for the area. The varieties used in the blend are characteristic of the Mediterranean, particularly southern France. This is the only white wine Unti makes. Does anybody know of varietal Picpoul or Vermentino wine? I'm not super familiar with the grapes, and I suppose I should look them up, but I'd be interested to taste what they are like more "front and center" as it were.

We drank the Unti with this:


I am a big fan of pairing crisp, acidic white wine with richer red meat based dishes - I'd rather have an ok pairing of wine and food that I love and feel like at the time, than obey a rule that says "pair red meat with red wine" or whatever. That said, there is such a thing as too much dissonance. I wouldn't drink white wine with a beef stew made with irish stout, for example.

After dinner we started in on this:


2010 Domaine Ricard Touraine "Le Petiot." Really delish, Loire white, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, definitely the kind of wine I like best. Plus, the art on the label is awesome!!

Maarak
May 23, 2007


I won tickets to a wine tasting event, any of these look like a must try? http://secondglass.com/wineriot/dc-2011/wine-list/

Crimson
Nov 6, 2002


Maarak posted:

I won tickets to a wine tasting event, any of these look like a must try? http://secondglass.com/wineriot/dc-2011/wine-list/

Santa Ema Amplus One is a good Carmenere dominated blend. Delicious savory pepper notes. The Montes Alpha Syrah is probably tasty. Joseph Carr Cab isn't bad. A ton of cheap stuff in there, but some of those Old World wines might be worth trying, particularly the Italians (I love Barbera) and the German Rieslings (aka the best wine on Earth).

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idiotsavant
Jun 4, 2000

"I don't care!"

pork never goes bad posted:

Does anybody know of varietal Picpoul or Vermentino wine? I'm not super familiar with the grapes, and I suppose I should look them up, but I'd be interested to taste what they are like more "front and center" as it were.
Kermit Lynch imports Antoine Arena's Patrimonio - it's Vermentino from Corsica and you can get the 2006 for like 18 bucks in Berkeley. The last bottle I had was a touch oxidized, but the two or three before that were all fresh as hell and awesome. Somewhat of a country wine, but fun to drink. Arena is a super nice guy as well, total vingeron.

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