Jeff’s Corner 3-2-17

Hello to all,

We have a new wine featured on our barrel tasting tours, which are offered at least 3 times everyday and 13 times on Saturday. Our Tour and Taste package is perhaps the best way to experience Grape Creek behind the scenes, both for new guests or long-time Wine Club Members.

This awesome experience includes a complete tour of the production facility, a private tasting with your tour group, and a comprehensive discussion of how oak influences wine. Not just a discussion, however, each guest will get to taste the exact same wine, barreled the same day, from three different types of oak! Amazingly, it shows like a different wine from each barrel.

Beginning this week, we’ll be sampling the new 2016 Blackwater Vineyards Merlot from the Texas High Plains viticultural area (AVA). We’ll be tasting this wine from new French oak, new American oak, and 3rd vintage American oak.

This wine is a puppy, but already shows great promise with layers of ripe plum, blueberry, and rich raspberry. When wines in barrels are young, they lack integration; the component parts (fruit, acid, oak, and tannin) are disjointed and out of balance. Over the next year, the wine will mature and develop characteristics specific to each type of barrel while becoming more harmonious.

If we check out my snapshot (from top to bottom), we can find lots of cool info. This is American oak, with a light toast (or char) on the inside of the barrel. The heads (what we’re looking at) are toasted as well as the staves. “DC” is Demptos Cooperage, the manufacturer, and “16” is 2016, the first year we used this barrel. “07” is part of Jason’s numbering system.

The wine was barreled on November 1, 2016. The next line tells us it’s the 2016 vintage, and “BH” is Brent Hogue, the owner of Blackwater Vineyards. “MR” is Merlot, and “FR” stands for free run juice, which is the wine that runs freely out of the press before it is pressed off the skins. We only have 6 barrels of this wine (totaling 360 gallons), and sulfer dioxide has been added as a stabilizer.

So, if you get a chance, stop by and check this promising young beauty out. I suggest you take the tour soon, and then in about 10-12 months to see how it has evolved. You can make reservations on our website, or just drop by and sign up.