December ’10 Winemaker Notes

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Dear Frogtown Citizen:

Most importantly all of us at Frogtown wish you a very enjoyable Christmas and a most healthy, productive, and happy New Year! 

Vineyard Update 

We have enjoyed some real cold days, with temperatures in the lower teens early in the morning heading into winter of 2011.  As long as we do not experience single digit temperatures over an extended close period of time, the cold helps with killing unwanted insects and fungus “over-wintering” in the vineyard.  I have also experienced more fruitful buds following cold winters. 

I think the winter views of the vineyard are wonderful.  Without the leaves and fruit, winter offers the views of the symmetry of the vineyard and the rows and rows of posts and trellises otherwise hidden by the leaves during the growing season. 

Winery Update

Wow, we have had a very productive post-harvest period of wine making.  I have mentioned too many of our Citizens it is our desire to produce relatively small bottlings of very intensely hand crafted wines primarily intended for our Citizens.  When you review the list of wines we have made during this post-harvest period to date you will notice a number of Frogtown wines never made or only limitedly made in the past.  Frogtown is well on its way to delivering a most rewarding wine club experience with these especially hand crafted wines. 

In addition to the East Coast West Coast First Compulsion and the 2008 Frogtown Sangiovese delivered with the Shipment we have bottled the 2008 Norton. 

For those of you who have tasted the 2008 Norton in barrel and have inquired about Norton wines at Frogtown this past year, I said I thought the 2008 AND 2009 vintages of Norton were going to be worthy successors to the California Gold Medal Winning 2006 Frogtown Norton.  There is no doubt 2008 and 2009 vintages of Frogtown Norton will please our discriminating customers. 

For the first time ever, in 2008 I did not de-classify any Norton barrels from a vintage. This fact, coupled with the large 2008 Norton harvest has resulted in 500 cases of 2008 Norton.  This is almost three times the previous largest bottling of Norton at Frogtown.  I am very excited about this Norton vintage.  Added to the classic supple layers of fruit present in Frogtown Norton, the 2008 vintage has the highest levels of tannin ever in a Frogtown Norton.  I blended some 2008 Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon into this Norton. 

As you will discover when you drink the 2008 Sangiovese; and as you experienced with our first 2008 vintage wine, the inaugural vintage of Audacity, 2008 is a GREAT vintage.  

The 2008 Norton will be “released” to our Citizens in the February 2011 wine shipment.

As of this date, our post-harvest wine making activities, have resulted in the  following additional Frogtown wines to be bottled over the next few months:

            2009 Frogtown Vineaux Blanc
            2009 Frogtown Inclination
            2009 Frogtown Sauvignon Blanc
            2009 Frogtown Marsanne
            2009 Frogtown Roussanne
            2009 Frogtown Barrel Fermented Chardonnay
            2008 Frogtown MRV
            2008 Touché
            2008 Bravado
            Shotgun, Second Reload
            Frogtown Disclosure Chardonnay
            Frogtown Disclosure Malbec

OK, what is this new wine label “Disclosure”?  I have decided to only bottle Convergence as a West Coast East Coast wine andCompulsion as an East Coast West Coast wine and to offer these wines as a distributed wine by Empire Distributing to restaurants and package stores. 

I have been really excited with the blending of Frogtown wine with California wine and registered with the Federal Trademark office the “Disclosure” label. 

Our son Michael continued his wonderful label designs by putting a frog under a microscope as the image which will appear on Disclosure labeled wines.   Most significantly Disclosure wines will disclose to our customers that we have in fact used fruit or wine grown outside of the state of Georgia in making these wines.  All Disclosure wines will be sold under an “American” appellation label and NOT A GEORGIA LABEL.

Frogtown Bravado is an additional “Super Tuscan” wine (Audacity was our first Super Tuscan) containing Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat.  We are making Bravado specifically for the distribution segment of our business.  It will be very value priced at $19.99 per bottle.

GET TO KNOW FROGTOWN

Printed immediately below is a “concise” description which we have displayed in our tasting room.  I want to specificallyshare this description with our Citizens, as there was much thought on my part in putting together this two-page description of what we do at Frogtown.

GET TO KNOW FROGTOWN

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, equal distance between Dahlonega and Cleveland, Georgia, Frogtown vineyards and winery encompass 44 acres of planted vines at elevations from 1675 feet to 1825 feet above sea level. The contours of Frogtown’s hill side vineyards represent some of the steepest slopes of all viticultural areas in the eastern part of the United States.  Along with our hilly terrain, Frogtown’s sandy clay loam soil, trellis design, and directional aspect of vine rows, create a most unique viticultural environment for our wine growing activities.

On Frogtown’s 44 acres of vineyards 25 different wine grape varieties are planted.  The red varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Tannat, Touriga Nacional, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Nebbiolo, Chambourcin, and Norton, and the white varieties Chardonnay, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Seyval, Petit Manseng, Vidal, Muscat, and Picpoul are grown at the Dahlonega vineyards.  At Frogtown’s Helen Vineyards established in 2010, the Italian white wine grapes Vernaccia and Greco di Tufo and the Italian red wine grape Teroldego are being cultivated.

In total there are 23,000 grape vines in Frogtown’s North Georgia vineyards capable of producing up to 180 tons of premium wine grapes each year.  This tonnage equates to over ten thousand cases of Estate Grown wine per year! 

Frogtown winery is a unique underground state-of-the-art horizontal gravity flow facility on three different elevation levels. 

Frogtown tasting room at the winery is open year-round providing tastings daily from 11:30am to 5:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Tastings commence at 11:30AM on Friday and Saturday and end at 6:00pm.  On Sundays, tastings start at 12:30pm and end at 5:30pm.  Frogtown also provides a “Panini Bar” on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Frogtown hosts wine dinners and Sunday brunches throughout the year.  Please check the Frogtown web site (www.frogtownwine.com, for dates and menus).   In addition to the tasting room at the winery, tastings and wine sales will be available at Frogtown’s Helen Georgia Tasting and Wine Sales Facility, opening in late 2010 or early 2011.  Scheduled to be open in 2011, Frogtown is establishing a tasting room in South Georgia, one mile North of Interstate 75, Exit 29, on 50 acres of land running over 3,000 feet contiguous and along the northerly lanes of I-75 that are clearly visible from I-75.

Frogtown’s hospitality and winemaking facility, using old-world hand crafted mortise and tenon timber frame joinery, overlooks a three acre lake.  This facility is a perfect venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, and corporate events.

There are numerous wine offerings from Frogtown.  With the sole exception of dessert wines under the Frogtown label, all Frogtown labeled wines are made under the strict “French Rules” and are completely dry wines. By adopting the French rules in winemaking, Frogtown does not add back ANY sugar to its wines. Unlike France, in the United States it is not illegal to add sugar to “dry” wines.  Many California wineries add small amounts of sugar (one or two grams per liter) to make their wines more supple, easier to drink.  This small amount of sugar is below the threshold for most people to perceive sweetness in wine. While this practice adds smooth textures to the wine, it also makes wine less food friendly; as even one gram of sugar per liter coats each molecule of wine with a thin sugar veneer.

Because it is not illegal in the United States to add sugar, Frogtown also produces a second label, Thirteenth Colony, under which “off-dry” wines are offered and a sweet wine label, Talking Rock.  Under the wine label Southern Charm, Frogtown will be producing “premium” Muscadine wines to be featured at the South Georgia Tasting Room, along with all of the other wines produced by Frogtown.

Frogtown is committed to grow and produce wines which compete with other premium and ultra premium wines grown and produced anywhere in the world. We do not just say we make competitive premium wines.  We prove this characterization of our wines by submitting Frogtown labeled wines to the rigours of competing against the best wines produced anywhere in the world, at the most prestigious and challenging competitions in the United States.  We have been fortunate in receiving medals from California competitions during the last five years that we believe make Frogtown, if not the most, certainly one of the most awarded Eastern Wineries in California competitions for dry white and red wines.

Most significantly, Frogtown is dedicated to truth-in-labeling of all wines.  All Frogtown wines labeled under a Georgia Appellation Label by Frogtown MEANS 100% Georgia fruit. Presently, not only is all wine labeled under the Frogtown, Thirteenth Colony, and Talking Rock labels 100% Georgia, such wines are made from estate vineyards established by Frogtown.  We have been awarded almost 90% of all medals awarded to Georgia wineries in California competitions.

The federal govenment and the State of Georgia allow the blending of up to an astounding 25% of non-domicilliary wine (i.e. California wine or grapes) into Georgia labeled wine without disclosing such fact on the label of the wine bottle. Many East Coast wineries, including wineries in Georgia, systematically blend California wine, juice, or concentrate into their state labeled wines without disclosing such fact on the label of such wine.  Such practice pays absolutely no attention to the ethical issues such winemaking practices create. 

The Federal Government by allowing this winemaking practice simply encourages, in our opinion, fradulent and deceptive labeling practices thoughout the East Coast.

Frogtown, in an effort to educate the wine consuming public, has created wines labeled under a label designation of either an East Coast West Coast Wine, a West Coast East Coast Wine, or Disclosure.  Such wines are made from grapes grown at Frogtown and in California.  Frogtown places such wine in an AMERICAN appellation label, not a Georgia appellation label. The first of such wines, Convergence, won a major GOLD medal.  Frogtown has proven proper ethical labeling can be accomplished so the wine tasting public is aware of what is in the wine such persons purchase.

In the 2008 Wine Report Publication, Frogtown was listed as the 6th most up and coming winery outside of the States of California, Washington, and Oregon. 

For those Citizens who are receiving all red wines or white and red wines, the following inaugural release of our East Coast West Coast red wine is included in your shipment:

FIRST COMPULSION – This is the East Coast West Coast answer to the West Coast East Coast Convergence. Compulsion is made from 50% Frogtown 2008 Merlot, 10% Frogtown 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 40% 2008 Russian River Petit Verdot. 

This is a big wine, but not as big a wine as the First Convergence, which is much more like a California wine (as it should be with 67% California Cabernet and Malbec).  Our Frogtown Merlot and Cabernet very much “dominate” this wine, delivering an elegant deep and full-bodied red wine to be enjoyed with bold meat dishes.  Wine club members enjoy a 20% discount from Retail Price of $27.99.

While enjoyable now, this wine will develop in the bottle over the next two years. 

For those Citizens who are receiving all red wines, the following two additional red wines are included in your shipment: 

2008 FROGTOWN SANGIOVESE – As I have said in the past, 2008 was another year of superior Sangiovese.  This “Brunello Clone” Sangiovese is, in my opinion the best Sangiovese made to date by Frogtown.  I do want to mention, however, we are making a Kritzer Family Reserve Sangiovese from our 2009 vintage Sangiovese.  This should take nothing away from this wonderful Sangiovese which is more full-bodied and flavorful than our past Sangiovese labeled wines.

Wine club members enjoy a 20% discount from Retail Price of $18.99.  We have not increased the price of our Sangiovese varietal labeled wine since its release with the 2001 vintage.

2006 FROGTOWN TANNAT– this wine is hitting on “all cylinders.”  A  lovely, deep, powerful Tannat wine.   Enjoy with hearty meat dishes. 

Wine club members enjoy a 20% discount from Retail Price of $29.99.

For those Citizens who are receiving red and white wines, in addition to the First Compulsion and 2006 Tannat, we are including in this shipment the following:

2008 FROGTOWN SAUVIGNON BLANC – Resembling a classic Sancerre wine from France, our Sauvignon Blanc is most satisfying to me as the Sauvignon Blanc grape is one of my favorite white wine grapes.

Wine club members enjoy a 20% discount from Retail Price of $18.99.

For those Citizens who are receiving all white wines, in addition to the 2008 Frogtown Sauvignon Blanc described immediately above, we are including in this shipment the following two wines:

2008 FROGTOWN VIOGNIER– I think I should be honest and say that Viognier, next to Sauvignon Blanc is my favorite white wine grape.  I take much pride and careful attention to the special wine making protocols Frogtown has developed in making Viognier in stainless steel and oak barrels.  When made in stainless steel, shortly after fermentation is complete, we barrel down this steel Viognier to receive the benefit of 8 to 10 months of oak aging.

Wine club members enjoy a 20% discount from Retail Price of $24.99.

2008 FROGTOWN MRV – I have been pleased with the reception this wine has received in the tasting room and in distribution.  This is truly a unique wine, as only a few wineries have access to all three of the Rhone Valley whites (Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier).  A  full-bodied white wine which can be paired with acidic foods from salads and pasta to lemon seafood dishes.

Wine club members enjoy a 20% discount from Retail Price of $21.99.

Best to all,

Craig


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