96 Points, TRB’s smallest Cabernet Project & It is stunning

The story of Hobel Wine Works began in 1998, when Cameron Hobel first met friend and winemaker Thomas Brown in Napa. Cameron was working as the Director of Business Development of a wine auction site and Thomas was working as Assistant Winemaker at Turley Wine Cellars. Their mutual love of great wine led to many shared dinners and glasses of wine, where they discussed the prospect of finding a project that would allow them to work together in producing a world-class wine. The opportunity finally arose eleven years later, with the premier release of the 2009 Hobel Cabernet.  This ninth release, the 2017 vintage crafted by Thomas Rivers Brown will really wow you, it is AMAZING!

For the past few years, The Hobels & Thomas Rivers Brown had been searching for a new vineyard to add to the lineup, looking for a unique vineyard that would allow them to produce a wine that would rival the quality and balance of their original Hobel Cabernet Sauvignon from the Engelhard Vineyard.  They finally found a wonderful match with the R.M. Kennedy Vineyard, a beautiful hillside vineyard located in Calistoga, they also added the Ciminelli Vineyard to add complexity to the program

Hobel 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “The Grain” Napa Valley
RETAIL 129.99 – NOW $114.99!
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code HOBEL17 during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Hobel

Winery Notes: “Starting on October 8, 2017, massive fires raged through the Napa Valley, causing widespread destruction and filling the valley with smoke. We were fortunate that our fruit for the 2017 The Grain was harvested on September 28, 2017 before the fires began and the wines were safely in tank. Our fearless winemaking team led by Thomas Brown worked at the winery throughout to ensure the wines were doing well and following their typical course during production”

Winemaker Notes: “The Grain has always been one of the most complete and exceptional wines in the program. It combines all the natural California sunshine with a savory note provided by the clonal mix at the Ciminelli Vineyard. Always an interesting and multi‐layered wine, the 2017 might be the most complex version to date. We are all very sad to see this wonderful fruit source go, but it is wonderful to be able to end our many years with this vineyard on a high note!  Only 134 cases produced!

Hobel 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “The Figure” Napa Valley
RETAIL 109.99 – NOW $99.99
FREE SHIPPING on 6
Use code HOBEL17 during checkout

OK to mix & match with other Hobel

Winery Notes: “The 2017 The Figure is a wonderful classic Cabernet that exhibits many of the qualities from this vineyard site we have come to love over the years.  Just like the 2016, the 2017 Figure is black and dark purple in color.  Aromas have higher toned notes of cedar, tobacco leaf and eucalyptus, all enveloped by black fruit – plums, cherries, boysenberries.  There is great fruit density on the palette which is nicely framed by dusty tannins. Partially due to the increased attention to farming by our team and additional vine age, the 2017 Figure shows great complexity and shares the same broad shoulders which are typically characteristic of The Grain.  The 2017 Figure is a blend of clones 6 and 30 and the wine was raised in 75% new French oak from Darnajou, Taransaud, Remond and Baron.”

Winemaker Notes: “ In 2017, we finally saw the Kennedy Vineyard come into maturity. It has always had an exuberant fruit expression but now with some vine age, it has added complexity and structure to complement its forwardness. Judging from what is in barrel for 2018, the upward qualitative trajectory looks promising and we are excited to keep The Figure as a cornerstone for the project”  Only 91cases produced!

Click here or on the links above to order!
 

VIRTUAL WINE TASTINGS = FREE BOTTLE OF WINE WITH PURCHASE

Dear Friends,
We are having fun with our weekly Virtual Wine Tasting events. If you have not yet joined us, I highly recommend you do! Every Friday at 3 PM PST we meet with a winemaker at his/her winery and taste 3 new releases. I provide some food pairing suggestions so you can make it a real Happy Hour!

This is a chance to visit California Wine Country from the comfort of your home, while enjoying the wines, meet and taste with the winemaker – So no travel, no hotel, no car rental – JUST order a 3-PACK of wine and we deliver it to your home in time for the session(s)!  Invite your friends, family and have a Social Distance Wine Tasting. I know that some of you have organized an entire dinner around the wines, others just SIPped and munched on finger foods, but everyone has had a great time.

BUY 3 Virtual Tastings, and receive 1 FREE BOTTLE OF WINE AT NO CHARGE as a BIG THANK YOU!

I look forward to seeing you on one of our future sessions!

A Humbled
St. Frank,
Your Patron Saint of (soft) Tannins

 

Virtual Tasting Calendar

RSVP & WINE PURCHASE REQUIRED IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE
Click here to reserve your spot!
 


June 5 – 3 PM PST
COHO VIRTUAL WINE TASTING JUNE 5 – 3 PM PST
with owner Gary Lipp

RSVP & PURCHASE REQUIRED
Click here!

 


June 12 – 3 PM PST
DRAGONETTE CELLARS VIRTUAL WINE TASTING
Brandon Sparks-Gillis, winemaker and partner
RSVP & PURCHASE REQUIRED

Click here!
 


June 19 – 3 PM PST
LUCIA (PISONI) VIRTUAL TASTING
Jeff Pisoni, winemaker and partner & Bibiana Gonzalez Rave Pisoni
RSVP & PURCHASE REQUIRED

Click here!
 


June 26 – 3 PM PST
CROCKER STARR (BRIDESAMAID) VIRTUAL TASTING
Pam Starr, Winemaker/Partner
RSVP & PURCHASE REQUIRED

Click here!
 


July 3

NO TASTING – HOLIDAY WEEKEND

 


July 10 – 3 PM PST
PAUL LATO VIRTUAL TASTING
Paul Lato, Winemaker/Owner
RSVP & PURCHASE REQUIRED

Click here!
 


July 17 – 3 PM PST
LULI VIRTUAL TASTING
Master Sommelier Sara Floyd/Jeff Pisoni Winemaker
RSVP & PURCHASE REQUIRED

Click here!
 


Other Upcoming Virtual Wine Tasting Dates TBA
Crocker Starr – MC4 – Melis Family
And more!

 
 

15% OFF a Hidden Napa Gem that will not break the bank!

This ONE acre vineyard is located next to venerable and highly regarded Grace Family Vineyard in St. Helena. They have been producing some amazing wine over the past decade. All courtesy of an 100-Point winemaker who turned this little piece of dirt in a pile of gold flakes! The winery is owned by four friends and neighbors – the Martin and Croshaw families, thus the name MC4!

The 2017 vintage marks the ninth release from this great venture and I am proud to serve it up! As always tiny production (125 cases), so don’t wait too long…

MC4 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” St. Helena Napa Valley
Retail 80.00 – NOW 69.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more
Use code MC4 during checkout

I was happily surprised how well this youngster showed from the get-go. Bold and bright flavors on the nose of palate – black stone fruit, chocolate and espresso beans jump out of the glass and tease the palate. Great density, yet well-balanced and elegant showcasing the intensity of a linebacker and the elegance of a ballerina – translated bold flavors, great body and an elegant long-fine-grained finish. The wine crescendos with silky tannins.  Another great achievement from one of Napa’s smallest vineyards.

Parker 94 Points: The MC4  sports a medium to deep garnet-purple color and nose of crushed wild blueberries, black cherries and mulberries with slight touches of baking spices and dark chocolate plus a waft of sage. Medium to full-bodied, the palate features appealing restraint, with taut, muscular fruit and fantastic tension, finishing long and softly textured.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for availability and priority allocation!

In Remembrance

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words
but to live by them.”
~John F. Kennedy

We wish to you and your family the best of health and a most happy Memorial Day.
Sincerely, Frank Melis and Golden Gate Wine Cellars 

 

The Future of Dining

The future of dining

By Susie Davidson Powell
In TimesUnion.com

 

Staff at the Mediamatic restaurant serve food to volunteers seated in small glasshouses during a try-out of a setup which respects social distancing abiding by government directives to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Photo: Peter Dejong, AP

Finally, we had the first day without new hospitalizations in Albany County since the shutdown, and with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announced four-phase economic reopening for New York state and plausible mid-June dates for the restaurants to reopen, the idea of a return to on-site dining is feeling distinctly real. But figuring out what it might look like — or how it will work — is less clear. As chef-restaurateur Tom Colicchio said in a recent New Yorker interview, “The question isn’t when a restaurant can open. The question is: When can the public feel safe going to a restaurant?” His comment struck a chord.

We can confidently assume comprehensive measures will be in place in accordance with federal guidelines and metrics for reopening New York. Measures are certain to include staff in face masks and gloves, disposable menus, sanitized or sealed cutlery, contactless ordering via an app, sanitizer stations for customers and staff, surface cleaning every 30 minutes, partitions at counters, spacing between tables, 50% to 75% reduced capacity and a focus on outdoor spaces whether they be patios, sidewalks or newly pedestrianized streets. Whatever it ultimately looks like, it won’t be a simple turn-key return to dining as we knew it. No matter how well such measures are rolled out, they are likely to detract from the experience overall, but the degree to which we miss dining out means we will hopefully weather it well.
 
Via Zoom I asked girlfriends if they’d hurry back to their favorite bars and restaurants with the ban lifted. Yes, most said, if they could sit outside. Yes, with the expected safety protocols in place. But consensus foundered on a pressing, thorny issue close to the heart of most women: bathrooms, that most exposed, high-traffic, potentially infectious, multi use contact point. (It’s no surprise that the leading voices on the importance of public toilets in urban planning and inclusive urban design are women: Dr. Clara Greed in the U.K. and the late Jane Jacobs in the U.S.) Would alternating stalls meet distance regs or increase the density of use on fewer lavs? Would a hand-sanitizing station outside the bathroom inspire confidence before touching the door handle? Would dedicated staff sanitizing between customer use? Should we limit our liquid intake? Carry stand-up portable female urination devices? Would our willingness to dine at restaurant tables falter on this?
 
Public toilets, as a matter of public health, is a question not only for restaurants but open-space venues. Take the new drive-in raves in Germany and Denmark, where 250 cars, limited to two people each, converge on drive-in theaters (“autokinos”) for socially distanced raves. Cars park 5 feet apart but occupants who must, at some point, pee observe the distancing markers at frequently sanitized porta-potties onsite. Would this work at Tanglewood and SPAC? Could we copy high school students “circling the wagons” most nights in school parking lots and tailgate our fix of summer arts?

Though the overnight implosion of an industry that employed 15 million workers and had been expected to generate $899 billion in 2020 sales has demonstrated the fragility of the hospitality industry, worker protections and deep flaws in the food system, there are glimmers of hope in innovations that could improve the industry overall. What those will be is getting chewed like cud in food media, but my takeaway comes, in part, from a daily interaction with Instagram.

Seeing so many people cooking and baking at home has surely increased the awareness of what it takes to produce a meal, the cost of shopping for multiple ingredients, the time involved with braising meat or baking something as simple as bread. With that, it should be easier to reset consumer expectations of the cost of labor and food and make this a teachable moment: Big Industrial Food is unsustainable. For future success, restaurants will need to be multifaceted with to go, delivery, dine-in, retail, and agile enough to pivot as needed, perhaps with little time. Those who added grocery shelves will almost certainly keep them. The pandemic has expanded restaurant identity and that forward propulsion is unlikely to change back.
 
It could go one of two ways: Dining out may be a pricier treat on par with going to the theater, or simplified menus may steer us back to the early millennial trend for inexpensive, tapas-style, personal plates. The rise of virtual tipping jars, via Venmo, Cash App and similar, seems likely to stay and — finally — optional tipping may be eliminated in favor of stabilized front- and back-of-house wages, particularly since servers whose income depends on tips will be hit by reduced capacity seating. For future success, restaurants will need to be multifaceted (to go, delivery, dine-in, groceries) and agile.

We’re getting a glimpse at the future in short-term practices coming out of Asia and Europe. Think temperature checks before entering restaurants, scannable QR codes detailing disinfecting protocols and times (like an electronic version of the initialed bathroom checks in store restrooms), floor markers for customer distancing and contactless, everything from curbside and entryway pick up, to ordering and payment via restaurant app when dining in. Even fast-food chains are exploring changes: In Milan, Burger King is testing a dine-in reservation and ordering app; in McDonald’s in Hong Kong, customers stand before a thermal monitor before ordering.
 
If guest comfort is the dominant variable, the return to restaurant dining is likely to be slow at first, and it will be a challenge for restaurants to afford to open at 50% capacity (or lower) with sufficient staff to handle supervising guests and sanitizing surfaces while running food and drinks. There are endearing models coming out of Europe like the two-person “quarantine greenhouses” at a restaurant in Amsterdam (in the Netherlands), where servers in plastic face shields pass plates to diners on planks and pour wine from outside. In the U.K., air purifiers are part of the modeling plans for revised restaurant layouts.

I turned to my stash of restaurant trends, an end-of-year rite of passage as data companies make annual forecasts. One, by QSR magazine back in January, caught my eye for its effort to predict restaurant trends for the next decade. Like Colicchio’s comment, it struck me hard. “The greatest wars in the world will be fought in the food service industry,” declared the founder of one consulting group, while contributors to the article anticipated the rapid evolution of “what constitutes a restaurant,” diversification in restaurant offerings, hybrid restaurants offering twin dine-in and takeout functionality, the technological influence on all aspects of operations, growth in mobile ordering, social media marketing, delivery and artificial intelligence, spurred on by the youthful, tech-savvy and cuisine-eclectic Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Despite the continued social component of dining, “the restaurants of tomorrow will be designed to cater to people who don’t want to come in” was one strangely prescient quote, although another forecast a “return to wanting to dine in.”
 
A Bloomberg opinion article raised the prospect of de facto segregation in terms of risk tolerance to socializing and dining out: those more comfortable, or who have had the virus, versus those still at risk. No one foresaw a global pandemic and hospitality shutdown, yet these trend forecasts seem to support restaurant reopening plans. Perhaps, with stimulus money correctly allocated, there is greater hope for survival and regrowth than we have allowed ourselves to expect.
 


 

This time of social distancing is the perfect time to order wine online! Visit GoldenGateWineCellars.com today! As always don’t hesitate to call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for help and suggestions.

15% OFF this Bold & Racy Pinot Noir

Katy Wilson named her winery after her great-grandmother – Verona LaRue Newell.  Verona survived and suffered through the great depression. Verona left a big impression on her and when she started her own business dedicated the winery “LaRue” to her.  Katy grew up on a farm and at a young age knew that she wanted to be a winemaker.  She drove a tractor before she could drive a car!  After graduating with a degree in winemaking, she gained experience working at many great wineries both in the US as overseas, Phelps, Craggy Range, Torbreck and most recent at Kamen, but it was during her days at Flowers that she fell in love with Pinot Noir and the Sonoma Coast.  She sources from two stellar vineyards, Rice-Spivak and Emmaline Ann – used by many great wineries like Cobb, Flowers, William Selyem, etc.

The 2016 LaRue Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a blend of two well-regarded vineyards: Rice-Spivak and Thorn Ridge. The Rice-Spivak Vineyard is south of the town of Sebastopol with soils that are Goldridge sandy loam along with volcanic ash. This distinctive soil profile along with the clonal selections of Dijon and Swan create a wine that is balanced with good acidity, fresh aromas, and unmistakable minerality. The Thorn Ridge Vineyard is planted on a steep, eastern-facing slope with Goldridge sandy loam soils and is west of the town of Sebastopol. These grapes are from two small blocks planted over 20 years ago of Pommard and 115 clones. The vineyard experiences a heavy marine influence, which gives notes of dark fruit integrated with spicy undertones to the wine.  

175 cases were produced. The wine was aged for 20 months in French oak (28% new). Alcohol: 13.5% 

LaRue 2016 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Retail 65.00 – NOW 54.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more

Use code LARUE during checkout

This youthful wine opens up with aromas of black cherry, just ripe strawberry, and red raspberry. Floral notes of violets, honeysuckle, and jasmine lift the aroma. On the palate, the fruit notes follow through and intermingle with flavors of cardamom, five spice, and a hint of vanilla. The mouth-feel is filling and round with supple tannin notes. 

Robert Parker 94 Points: “The 2016 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast is a blend of fruit from the Rice-Spivak and Thorn Ridge vineyards aged in about 25% new oak. Medium ruby-purple colored, it has a classic nose of red and black berries, cranberry sauce, rhubarb, woodsmoke and black tea leaves with notes of dried flowers and underbrush. The palate is medium-bodied, rounded and with concentrated earthy fruits, soft tannins to frame and juicy acidity to carry the very long, layered finish.”

Anthony Galloni: “The 2016 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is bold, racy and quite juicy, especially for Katy Wilson’s style. Dark cherry, plum, spice and rose petal are all pushed forward in this mid-weight, succulent appellation-level Pinot. The 2016 is very pretty, but also a bit riper than is the norm. It should be ready to drink upon release.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

15% OFF – 95 Point Multidimensional Syrah

Matthias Pippig is not your everyday mainstream winemaker. He’s an “artist” in the true sense of the word. A creator, a dreamer, a visionary, a poet, a chef, a scientist. Mix this all together and you have Sanguis. Matthias moved here from Germany some 30 years ago with plans to make it big in the Rock & Roll scene. Life took a different turn, as he had to make a living and he eventually stumbled onto the L.A. food scene. He worked as a waiter, and in time met Manfred Krankl, of La Brea Bakery fame, with whom he’d partner and work for several years. Krankl, created the infamous Sine Qua Non label and that inspired Matthias to go a similar route and the rest is history. Sanguis is not a quaffing wine, but complex and sophisticated.
 
Sanguis 2017 Syrah “Bossman” Santa Barbara
Regular $95 – Now $79.99 on six or more!
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more

Use code BOSSMAN during checkout

95 Points: “Always a Syrah-dominated blend, the Bossman checks in at 70% Syrah, 21% Petite Sirah, 5% Grenache, and 4% Viognier that saw 35% stems and 26 months in 50% new French oak. Spiced currants, blackberries, crushed violets, cured meats, and ground pepper aromas and flavors all emerge from this full-bodied effort, which is brilliantly textured, seamless, and polished, with nicely integrated acidity and tannins. This is another great vintage for this cuvée, and it can be drunk today or cellared for over a decade.”
 

Winemaker Notes: ”An eccentric gentleman, like the men of early car racing – Confidently humble, determined and patient, smart, beautiful (but not in the Hollywood or GQ sort of way), generous… probably in his mid-fifties but not the sort of 50’s that we’d find in a Viagra commercial and also not the Dos Equisman (though I like him very much). As a wine, this just about has it all – a dark brooding core enrobed by bright and vibrant energy and an incredibly generous manner. It is as pure and lively an expression of Syrah as we’ve been able to coax from nature and put in a bottle – beautiful now and promising a long interesting life ahead.”
 
Also check out this other great Sanguis Wine (assorts for FREE SHIPPING)

SANGUIS 2016 THE MODERN PROPRIETARY RED, SANTA BARBARA 95 POINTS $95.00 now $79.99

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

15% OFF 97 Point White Napa Gem under $40!

This is only the fifth  vintage of Annia made by the 100 Point winemaker Dan Petroski (the genius behind Larkmead’s success). There is a story that George Vare liked to tell us about Ribolla, according to the late, great Stanko Radikon, Ribolla is the consummate supporting actor when blended into a wine under the 50% threshold. at that minority level, the grape will truly morph into the background, providing the floors, the walls and the ceiling for the other grapes to adorn. in the 2018 Annia, the Ribolla in the wine is flattering; stone fruit and baked apple with green almond on the palate that plays off the Tocai’s citrus blossom and pear skin. The 11% of Hyde Chardonnay in the blend tightens the wine a bit, but in reality it just steps aside and gives the two Friulian varieties a stage to play on; however, expect the Chardonnay to get involved as the wine ages. 

Massican 2019 Annia White Blend, Napa Valley
GGWC 39.99 – NOW 33.99
FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
Use code MASSICAN during checkout

This stunning blend of Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla and Chardonnay, is lively, intense, and perfectly balanced. Medium to full in body with notes of nuttiness, Meyer lemon, a hint of spice on the nose.  On the elegant, lush palate you’ll encounter touches of honey, citrus and creaminess that sync together nicely in the glass. The flavors are well-balanced with nice richness but nothing overwhelming.  The wine was aged mostly in neutral barrels, some stainless and concrete egg.

Winery Notes: “Our flagship white wine blend sourced from small vineyards around the Napa Valley. The three grape varietals, Tocai, Ribolla and Chardonnay, are harvested separately, and fermented independently in French Oak and stainless steel tanks until blending six weeks before bottling. The Tocai and Ribolla build the aroma and flavor profile of the wine, while the Chardonnay adds to the wine’s structure. The wine is fresh and subtle and fulfills the promise set forth years ago to bottle memorable white wines, unique amongst the whites of California.”

Wine Spectator 97 POINT RATING:  “Made from 53% Tocai Friulano, 39% Ribolla Gialla and 8% Chardonnay, this is fresh and floral in tones of lemon rind, white flower and green apple. Fermented in both French oak and stainless steel, it is structured yet vibrant, gorgeously aromatic and remarkably long-lasting on the palate.”

Click here or on the links above to order!
Call 415-337-4083 or email frank@goldengatewinecellars.com for priority allocation.

Yeast; The Silent Winemaker

Yeast; The Silent Winemaker

Contributed by Dave March CWM
from wine.co.za

Imagine a midday snack, some cheeses, marmite on fresh bread toast, maybe a croissant and a glass of wine or cold beer. None would be possible without yeast.

“It’s an incredible thing”, says Elda Lerm, International Product Manager of Anchor Yeast in Cape Town. Anchor was the second in the world to produce wine yeasts and the first to create hybrid wine yeasts (more of later).

The world of wine yeasts is a complicated one, but the simple version is that yeasts have transporters in their cell walls that allow for the uptake of sugars, mainly glucose and fructose and release by-products such as CO2and ethanol. This is fermentation and a number of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast strains have proved robust enough and have become dominant in winemaking.

Saccharomyces and other yeast genera occur naturally on grapes, probably dozens of strains on the same grape, (and on every other surface nearby) and some wineries rely on this natural population to ferment their wines. The problem is that some yeasts strains might negatively affect fermentation – most notably stopping the ferment prematurely. In addition, many yeast populations contain non-Saccharomyces strains which can also change the outcome. There is little control over how these yeasts behave and little opportunity to ‘tweak’ what you get.

There are very few non-Saccharomyces commercialised strains. Anchor normally does a fermentation (rather than just isolating from the vineyard) and selects a Saccharomyces strain that is able to out compete the other strains in the natural population during fermentation.

Director of Oenology at Anchor, Dr Danie Malherbe, explains that this is not genetic engineering or anything like it, but by providing conditions which force the selected strains to adapt to changing stresses or environments you can encourage ‘adaptive evolution’ and thus create strains which offer certain capabilities.This ‘evolution’ could take years to achieve.

The new strains can be dried, (yeasts that are dried have a better shelf life than liquid forms which have less certainty of viability over time),  packaged and offered to winemakers who may be subject to difficult fermentation conditions or looking for certain characteristics in their wine.For example, take a strain which is unable to cope with higher alcohols; change its environmental pressures, this will change its metabolism which could make it cope with higher alcohol levels. This ‘evolution’ could take years to achieve.

Commercial yeasts offer a range of characteristics, the packaging for Alchemy I reads, ‘Alchemy I mainly enhances fruity and floral esters and to a lesser extent, volatile thiols (passion fruit, grapefruit, gooseberry and guava aromas) in white wines’.

Elda says the process is completely natural – after all, yeasts (and vines) have been adapting to changing environments for centuries – and that only calling a wild yeast fermentation ‘natural’ is incorrect, packaged yeasts are natural as well. She prefers the term ‘commercial yeast’ for her products.

Presently, winemakers are looking for yeasts which cope with climate change, and for lower alcohol levels, for yeasts compatible with organic and biodynamic farming and for pronounced aromatic profiles and mouthfeel. Danie is always looking for yeasts which offer something new to add to the 300-400 commercial yeasts already available, but, “they must bring something unique to the table”.

Every wine farm, every micro-climate, every varietal and every style is considered when selecting a yeast product.  Anchor does not suggest yeasts for certain grape varieties, but yeasts for certain characteristics. “You need to listen to what the winemaker wants, what they are trying to achieve”, says Danie.

Many commercial yeasts are for the most part,in fact, terroir driven (less so for hybrid yeasts) because they originate from natural yeasts drawn from berries within vineyards and climate pockets.  It might be appropriate to select a yeast which enhances the characteristics of the vineyard if seeking to retain terroir effects. Grape composition differs from vineyard to vineyard, formed by climate influences, the soil, stresses such as wind and disease and some winemakers use different yeasts for each vine block – even if they are adjacent and of the same variety.

This is terroir based on the selection of yeasts with characteristics that match, balance or enhance the winemaker’s terroir. Hybrid yeasts are yeasts that have been selectively sporulated and hybridized from either Saccharomyces cerevisiae or non-cerevisiae parent strains (eg Saccharomyces cerevisiae x Saccharomyces cariocanus) to provide a better combined sum of the parts. Says Anchor, ‘the concept behind these unique hybrids is to provide you with all the benefits and complexity of a spontaneous fermentation, without the associated risks’.

Theoretically, one can isolate strains from a winery, grow the biomass, dry the selected yeast population and return them to the winery. This might offer ‘natural’ terroir reflecting yeasts, but with greater reliability and which could be stored for future harvests.

Most commercial yeasts possess the ‘killer factor’ (really a ‘survival factor’) used to nullify any negative yeast strains(and on any killer sensitive strain in the population) occurring naturally on grapes. Some natural isolates also have this characteristic. The introduced yeasts dominate or outlast those indigenous strains.

They can also help restart a stuck fermentation, which in our hot climate is often due to a sugar imbalance. Ideally, yeast uptake glucose:fructose in a 1:1 ratio. However, when there is a glucose:fructose imbalance, usually at the end of fermentation when transport mechanisms start suffering from the high alcohol, the ratio can skew to 1:4 or more and the yeast will then have issues completing the fermentation. Commercial yeasts are more adapt to withstanding the high alcohol and thus their transporters stay active for longer.A sluggish fermentation at the beginning is more easily fixed than later in the fermentation (when you have more challenging conditions: high alcohol, low nitrogen content etc.).

Anchor doesn’t promote a yeast solely suitable for Shiraz, or for Robertson, or for cold fermentation. It is a matter of looking at all the characteristics and content of the berries and juice and matching it to the desired outcome. Some winemakers use a natural ferment for some juice and commercial strains for the rest and blend the two. “Winemakers want a wine that stands out”, says Danie.

Commercial yeasts, such as Anchor’s popular Vin 7 and Vin 13, come from natural isolation  and hybridization respectively, and are used because of the particular by-products (like aroma compounds) they provide and the stresses they can cope with. Two examples, a winemaker with too much acidity in their wine could use a yeast strain which could degrade malic acid levels, or one who is looking for lees enrichment of the wine might select a yeast strain that when autolysed may offer more polysaccharides and yeast extracts like mannoproteins to provide mouthfeel. This could magnify the effect or reduce the time spent on the lees.

Anchors offer yeasts which can ferment at lower temperatures (to preserve aromatics) less foam, more fruity flavours, and even to withhold fermentation during a cold soak (Gaïa™ can delay fermentation for weeks).  Its Alchemy range offers blends of yeasts creating a composite of influences, “why blend wines when you can blend yeasts”, says Danie.

The use of ‘natural’ fermentation is a misnomer, then, as commercial yeasts are natural, just selected for certain qualities.  Danie sums up, “Winemaking starts in the vineyard, you cannot make good wine with bad grapes, but you can have a bad wine by making the wrong choices in the winery. Just like most things in life, there needs to be a balance”.

Whether selecting yeasts for aromatic or flavour profiles rather than correcting imbalances or avoiding problems is not truly reflecting terroir, is a question for the winemaker.
 

20% OFF 3 time 95 Pointer & French Laundry’s FAVORITE Syrah! ONLY 125 CASES PRODUCED!!

“Site” is a new venture from  Jeremy Weintraub (longtime Seavey winemaker).  He sources from the best “Sites” in California.  This latest Grenache is just a good example.  The 2015 Site is sourced from the Larner Vineyard.  The Larner Vineyard would be considered a “Grand Cru” if it was located in France.

Accolades: “Top Grand Cru Vineyards in California by Wine Spectator ~ Top Five California Vineyards by Wall Street Journal ~ Top 25 Vineyards in the World by Wine & Spirits ~ California’s Best Single Vineyards by Wine Enthusiast ~ Top 5 Vineyards You Can Trust by Pinot Report ~ Ten Best Vineyards by Food & Wine, etc.”

Site 2016 Syrah “Bien Nacido”  Santa Barbara
Retail $55.00, now $49.99 / bottle
or $44.99 plus FREE SHIPPING on 12 or more!
Use code SITE during checkout

Vinous 95 Points: “The 2016 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyards brings together all the best elements of Jeremy Weintraub’s very personal style. A whole range of pungent, varietal Syrah aromatics lead into a core of inky/purplish fruit in a rich, sumptuous Syrah loaded with class and personality. Lees stirring adds texture, but there is more than enough aromatic pop to balance things out. This is another fabulous wine in Jeremy Weintraub’s range.”

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “The finest wine in the lineup is the 2016 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyards and this beauty comes from a cool, ocean-influenced site just to the east of Santa Maria. Aged 19 months in 80% new French oak, it offers a fabulous perfume of blackberries, black and white pepper, cedar, and subtle marine and iodine notes, which is a classic Bien Nacido character. Medium to full-bodied, impeccably balanced, and with a layered, multi-dimensional texture, it’s going to keep for a decade.”

Robert Parker 95 Points: ”Opaque purple-black in color, the 2016 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard is youthfully coiled and slowly gives up scents of chocolate-covered cherries, baked blackberries, olive, peppered salami, licorice, warm blackcurrants, maraschino cherries, coffee grounds and black soil. Full-bodied, rich and dense, it offers tons of ripe black and blue fruits in the mouth with chocolaty notions, plushly textured, gently chewy tannins and good freshness, finishing very long and very savory. 125 cases produced.”

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