Tempranillo, Part III

May 29, 2013 | By | 4 Replies More

On the eve of our departure for WineMaker magazine’s annual conference, hosted in Monterrey, California, this year, I expressed some regret to the Vineyard Goddess that I didn’t have a bottle of home-made wine to take with me for one of the tasting events.  I had bottled my Tempranillo some 35 days earlier, and while it was just past the bottle shock stage, I had not yet tasted it (and it was way too late to try it that night).  For all I knew, it was plonk.

My bottle is the one in the foreground with no label.

My bottle is the one in the foreground with no label.

“Take it anyhow,” the VG told me.  “Take two bottles.  We can taste one on the first part of the trip, and if it’s good, you can take the other one to the tasting.”

Sage advice.  I packed two, using my newly minted method of wrapping the bottles in bubble wrap (replacing my old method of wrapping them in t-shirts), and told myself we’d taste the first bottle when we arrived in Sedona on the first leg of our journey.  As it turned out, I didn’t get to it until we reached the Grand Canyon for the second leg of the trip.

And what a surprise!  It wasn’t the vintage of the century, but it was definitely good.  I knew I had made some mistakes in the process, especially in the area of temperature control (overheating it at some points, and not keeping it warm enough at others), but it was still a good, solid drinkable wine.  So, I felt confident that I could hold my own with the other winemakers, or at least not get ridden out of town on a rail.

The comments were generally favorable.  The 100 or so winemakers who gathered for the tasting were seated at round tables of 10, and half the table rotated every ten minutes to be paired with new tasting partners.  We tasted each other’s wine and provided feedback.  I’d like to say that everyone was totally, if not brutally, honest, but I suspect we were more diplomatic than candid.

So, here are some of the comments:

“Young, but very hearty.  As it ages, it will become a very nice wine.”  (Oh, yeah, as it ages — someday it will be a decent wine!)

“Good tannins, good acidity, nicely balanced.”

“Good color, very dry.  Nice tannins and structure.”

“Crisp acidity, not quite as much fruit as I’d like to see.”

Well, that’s as far as my notes go.  Nobody was talking about long finishes or specific kinds of fruit on the nose or palate, but all in all, for a first outing, it wasn’t bad.  As I said in a Facebook post, I had walked in with nightmares that my fellow tasters would spit my wine on the floor and then throw me out of the room.  It was a relief to see that they all stayed and finished their taste of Bob’s Tempranillo.

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Category: All Posts, Wine, Winemaking

Comments (4)

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  1. Kenny White says:

    Great choice to make. I enjoy the Tempranillo. Chrysalis makes a good one also.

    • Bob Garsson says:

      Kenny, I’ll have to try the Chrysalis Tempranillo. Didn’t realize they (or anyone in Virginia) made a Tempranillo.

      I’m just about to bottle six gallons of Viognier, alas from Washington state and not my own Virginia vines. But with any luck, I’ll be bottling my own Viognier in a year and some months from now!

      • Kenny White says:

        Good luck with the Viognier. It’s really hard to find any grapes/juice available locally due to its huge demand. We planted a couple of test rows a couple of years ago. Only 100 vines, hopefully they will produce next year.

        • Bob Garsson says:

          Kenny, it’s likely to be even worse this year. We’ll have some articles in Grape Press spotlighting the difficult year and likely low crop yields. So growers with fruit to sell won’t have any problems, but wineries looking for fruit will likely be disappointed. I wish I could say that my Viognier was made from my own grapes, but alas, no such luck. Maybe next year. This is from a kit with groups sourced from the Yakima Valley in Washington state. Bottled a couple of nights ago, and had a quarter bottle left over which Chris and I shared, and it was surprisingly good!

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