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Jeff’s Corner 3-22-18

Hello to all on what is an extremely perfect first day of spring in the Texas Hill Country.  As I write, it is 71*, 18% humidity, and not a cloud in the sky.  The bluebonnets and other legions of wildflowers are reaching toward the sun, and I’m thinking it’s a good thing T. S. Eliot wasn’t a GCV Wine Club member.  If he were, he would never have written “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land...”.

How could he, when he knew he was about to receive the brand new 2016 Serendipity in his April Wine Club allocation.  Plus, crafty as old T.S. was, he would at least be a 6 bottle Black Label or Mixed member so he could get 2 vintages (’16 and ’15), or more likely a 12 bottle member so he could collect 4 bottles (2-’16, 1-’15, and 1-‘14).

So, if any of you 3 bottle members are drooling at the thought of receiving multiple bottles and vintages of our elusive and exclusive Serendipity, it’s not to late to upgrade your membership.  Simply email us at [email protected] no later than 3-31-18 to do so.

Last week, Brian sent me a late-night email extolling the virtues of the new 2016 and asked me to write about it before it was shipped, so here we go.  First released in 2007, this is the ninth vintage of this amazing wine  (we didn’t produce it in 2009) and, as I like to say, “It’s a real beauty!”.

The 2016, as has been the case with recent vintages, is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (68%), blended with 20% Merlot and 12% Syrah.  The alcohol-by-volume (ABV) is a sensible 13.8%.

The color is a deeply extracted purple/violet, with deep, dark clarity at the rim.  Aromas are ripe and intense,  with nuances of oak accented by black cherry, cassis, cigar box, and leather.  Delicate layers of lilacs, roses, toffee, and chocolate contribute to a very complex nose.

Loaded with youthful exuberance, fruit, tannin, acid, and oak are very well-integrated for a full-bodied wine barely in adolescence.  The finish is rich and enticing, with lots of fruit to balance a soft, elegant texture.

This wine is rewarding now after an hour or so in the decanter, but if we can be patient for a year or two it will develop even more finesse.  Let’s try this lovely wine with a blackened New York Strip topped with wild mushrooms in a Gorgonzola-cream sauce.

Jeff’s Corner 3-12-18

Well, I have jury duty today (which I love), but just in case I’m sequestered for a few years, I thought I should sneak in a bonus Jeff’s Corner for you to remember me by.

The last two weeks we’ve talked about bud-break, but today we are very fortunate to get the final word from Clint Messimer, the maestro of our vines.  

Oh, by the way, the Chenin Blanc budded out on March 7, just as Brian predicted.  Sometimes his crystal ball is as big as a full moon.

Now, here’s Clint in a slightly edited staff email.  This is really fascinating, and really amazing:

Back to the budbreak...
The Chenin budbreak is significant for us in the vineyard because it marks our biofix date to begin tracking growing degree days--GDDs.  GDDs are simply a measurement of heat units, and you actually get several GD "Days" in a single day.  We record year-to-year about everything we can, and GDDs is one of the most important bits.

GDDs are good for what?  Insects are cold blooded kind of like plants.  Heat and weather dictate their emergence and life cycles.  These are all very predictable when you relate them to certain accumulations of GDDs.  They help us to know when insect pests are gonna be around, and more importantly, when they'll be vulnerable to sprays.  They also help us anticipate developments in the vines.  Last year y'all asked me when the Mont would start veraison.  Whatever my response was, it was based on a number of GDDs.  And to illustrate just how accurate they are check this out...
since 2014, the Chenin has had a range of beginning veraison of 11 actual days, but only a range of 48 GDDs (1820-1868), which in mid to late June is less than two days.  And, it works like that with everything.  We'll see if we fall in that range this year, and maybe we can make some predictions on other things and see how we fare.  It'll be cool

Jeff’s Corner 3-8-18

Hello, Hello, Hello

Last week we talked about bud-break, and how our vines were waking up from their long winter nap.  Many of you faithful readers expressed interest, so here’s a visual follow-up.

I took these three snap-shots March 26, 2015, probably not too long after they popped open.  These buds were really tiny, and I shot them on the macro setting of my lens.  I’d be a fool to try and find words for their beauty, so here ya go...

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