December ’14 WINEMAKER NOTES
Dear Frogtown Citizen:
What is happening in Georgia?
The vineyard. Cydney’s Grandmother, Lee, always said it is “good to complain because you never know who might be listening.” In my Notes of September 8, 2014, I stated: “as I write these Notes, we have had 7 days of rain. It is easy to be depressed, but that gets us nowhere. The vineyard is virtually without disease. We plan on holding all of our grapes until each variety achieves the degree of ripeness we require.” These words could (well, yeah, should) be interpreted as complaining. Complaining, notwithstanding Grandma Lee’s imprimatur, is not one of my personality traits. These words are about the most complaining, as you will hear (read) from me. Apparently it was sufficient. Mother Nature was lessening. On September 9, 2014, the rains virtually ceased. We have had excellent weather up to the last day we harvested grapes. Thank you Grandma Lee!
As our Citizens who attended Harvest Day with Craig witnessed, the vineyard was in excellent condition. Again a testimony (no pun intended) to our vineyard associates and the intensive spray protocols I instituted in 2013 and continued during the growing season of 2014. I have taken the approach that whatever it takes and at whatever cost we are going to maintain the vineyard in the best growing condition possible. Only grapes that have been relatively disease free during the beginning (bud break); middle (verasion) and end of the growing season can take advantage of a harvest under good weather conditions; achieving the flavor intensity and chemistry we want and expect from our vineyard. No way are we going to be guilty of “if only we did this or that our results would have been better.” We do our best farming each and every day in the vineyard. I have an aversion to excuses even more than complaining! To complete this thought, my favorite quote of all time is from Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try.”
The Library storage facility and Citizen’s tasting room and private dinning area are finally under construction and standing tall at the southerly end of the back deck. Because of all the rain we received in the spring, we delayed the erection of this timber frame extension until the completion of Harvest. With all of the “things” Frogtown has going on currently, the estimated time for opening this addition will be in the summer of 2015. Additional information about this expansion to our Event Facility and Winery will be forthcoming prior to opening this area to you, our Citizens.
Drink Tannat, it is good for your health.
From time to time, I find it interesting to search the Internet on subjects of wine and the grape varieties grown at Frogtown. Recently, it has been reported Uruguayan and Italian researchers in Montevideo, Uruguay (Tannat is the national grape of Uruguay) have sequenced the genome of the Tannat grape. Uruguayan chemistry professor Francisco Curau and Italian scientist Massimo Delledonne intensely studied juice extracted from Tannat grapes. These researchers found that wines made from the Tannat gapes, thanks partly to its many seeds, produce the largest concentration of tannins — an anti-oxidant that combats the ageing of cells. Says Prof. Carrau: “A wine made with Tannat has twice the tannins of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir (so much for movie Sideways).
This research has confirmed what has been believed for years that Tannat grapes produce the most healthy of red vinifera (the European wine grape genre) wines due to the wines high level of procyanidins, which are good for reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol and encouraging healthy blood clotting.
Now, a little nomenclature and chemistry in connection with the composition of red wine grapes and red wine making is necessary. Just a little.
Procyanidins are members of the condensed tannin class of flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant pigments found in virtually all plants, and are responsible for many of the plant colors of yellow, orange, and red. Most flavonoids function in the human body as antioxidants. In this capacity, they help neutralize overly reactive oxygen-containing molecules and prevent these overly reactive molecules from damaging parts of human cells. Your mother was correct, eat your vegetables!
Procyanidins depolymerize (meaning the more complex molecular structure of procyanidins are broken down) during the wine making process as a result of the oxidative conditions (exposure to air) prevalent in red wine fermentation to produce, among other things, cyanidin. From Wilkipedia:
“Cyanidin, is a natural organic compound. It has a characteristic reddish-purple color. The highest concentrations of cyanidin are found in the seeds and skin of a given fruit. Cyanidin, like other anthocyanidins, has putative antioxidant and radical-scavenging effects, which may protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. One theory is that dietary intake of cyanidins may inhibit development of obesity and diabetes as well as provide anti-inflammatory effects.”
[In the discussion of scientific studies you come across the word putative frequently. This word can be defined as commonly accepted or supposed. I have always thought that the use of this word in the context of a results oriented statement is the way scientists qualify (hedge) the cause or effect of the result mentioned].
Putting the foregoing into a simple statement: Red wine is good for your health and Tannat wines exhibit better health containing properties than other red wines.
So Frogtown’s business is wine, produced from grapes grown by Frogtown, which contain tannin (procyanidin), which is a class of flavonoids, which, when exposed to the oxidative protocols used by Frogtown in red wine fermentation, produce cyanidin, which like other anthocyanidins have a positive affect on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Like I said, Frogtown is in the health care business!
What is happening in California?
Cydney and I spent the Thanksgiving Holiday in Paso Robles. The Adelaida vineyard is progressing nicely. Our vineyard manager is doing a good job. In the spring of 2015 the final 8,000 vines will be planted. This time last year I was wondering should I plant in 2014 or wait until 2015. Paso Robles had only a little more than an inch of rain during the entire 2013 calendar year. It was dry, real dry in the Adelaida region of Paso Robles. The decision to plant 40,000 vines in 2014 was a good decision, as the well at our Alelaida property (which was established in the earl 1950’s) produced more than adequate amounts of water for the newly established grape vines.
I am very pleased with the quality of the fruit we harvested this year, especially the Cabernet Sauvignon harvested by our Citizens. 2014 will be an excellent vintage for Frogtown. With the bottling of our 2011 red wines and the relatively small amount of red wines for the very small harvest of 2012, Frogtown’s Citizen have two excellent vintages in 2013 and 2014 aging in its cellar
Bottling the 2011 and 2012 Vintage Wines.
The blending and bottling of Frogtown 2011 and 2012 vintage red wines commenced at the conclusion of Harvest 2014 and shall continue though the month of March, 2015. Frogtown 2011 red wines have spent 33 to 37 months in oak. This is a longer aging protocol than usual. The extra time in oak has resulted in the best oak integration I have experienced in Frogtown red wines. The 2011 reds are big, complex, but have that velvet smooth mouthfeel we all expect and love about Frogtown red wine. The 2012 vintage was painfully small. Most of the red wines in this vintage are being used in the production of Compulsion, the East Coast West Coast Wine and Convergence, the West Coast East Coast Wine. Our Citizens receiving three bottles of red wine in this shipment will enjoy receiving First Compulsion. The small amount of First Compulsion remaining will be classified as a library wine
New Wines are being produced.
For the first time in a while I have made some new wines. For starters we have made a nouveau red wine in the style of a Beaujolais Nouveau. Since we do not grow the Gamay grape that is the principal, if not the sole, grape used in France for a Beaujolais Nouveau wine, I blended a number of grape varieties together to get the fruity fresh wine style result expected in a nouveau wine. Unlike all other Frogtown red wines, I did fine and will filter this wine at the time of bottling. We did not put our nouveau wine through malolactic fermentation, so filtering the wine is appropriate. Using our trademark “Vineaux”, we are calling this wine Vineaux Nouveau. Neat! The TTB, the federal Administrative Agency regulating the wine industry, has given Frogtown label approval, so we should have this wine available in early 2015 for your enjoyment. Very different, very interesting, and a lot of fun is the way I think about our 2014 Vineaux Nouveau!
A red wine blend of Touriga Nacional and Merlot made with the view to blending the percentage of these grapes as equal as possible has appealed to me for some time. Cydney and I have chosen 404 as the name of this blend. One of our favorite beers is made in Paso Robles and called 805 (the Area Code for Paso). Using 404, one of the major Area Codes for metropolitan Atlanta, is another way to say to the world (well, at least those living in or around Georgia and other States) that we are proud of making world-class wines entirely from Georgia grapes. Additionally, we intend the 404 name of this wine to emphasize the importance of drinking wine locally grown and made!
Frogtown has also received label approval from the TTB to label a new rosé wine. We are calling this wine White Rosé. I have blended Frogtown 2014 Vintage white wine into our traditional rosé base for 2014 from which 2014 Vineaux Rosé is to be made to arrive at this second 100% dry rosé. We are also seeking federal trademark protection for the trademark “White Rosé.” As the name of this wine suggests, this is a very pale rosé wine. Many of you know that Cydney and I drink a lot of Frogtown Vineaux Rosé and rosé wine produced by others, usually French. This new rosé will also be available early in 2015.
Since, I am committed to the Disclosure label I have bottled a white wine blend using California Chardonnay and Frogtown Vidal. This wine is similar to Frogtown Inclination but without using Frogtown Viognier as a blending partner. We are calling this wine Merger, which is just what happens in a Disclosure wine, merging wine made from east coast grown grapes with wine made from west coast grown grapes. This wine will be appropriately labeled as an American Wine.
The last new wine is named Penchant. The word penchant can be described as liking, fondness, preference, taste, relish, partiality, soft spot, love, passion, desire, fancy, whim, weakness, inclination, bent, bias, proclivity, predilection, predisposition. As such, just a perfect name for a Frogtown red wine!
While comprising the blends for 2011 Bravado and Audacity, I composed a blend using only Merlot and Sangiovese and liked the blend a lot. Since Bravado is primarily a Sangiovese and Tannat blend and Audacity is primarily a Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon blend, what do you do with a blend that is primarily Merlot and Sangiovese? You bottle the wine under a new label. You will enjoy Penchant, our third Super Tuscan wine. It is most interesting tasting the 2011 Bravado, the 2011 Audacity, and the 2011 Penchant at the same time. Our Citizens will find the aroma and taste of these three Frogtown Super Tuscans so incredibly different!
Wines Included in this Shipment.
2010 Frogtown Intensity – after the initial release of this wine, we have aged this wine for a year. I think the 2010 Intensity has developed into a wine that is just what its name implies. This is our Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot Bordeaux blend. This wine is a wonderful complement to our Propaganda Bordeaux blend of primarily Merlot. Deep dark fruit, silky mouthfeel, well-rounded lush tannins and great oak integration with vanilla, chocolate nuances.
2009 Frogtown Audacity – this is a much more concentrated and intense wine than the 2008 Frogtown Audacity, but with a less fruity presentation. A red Super Tuscan that is more to the style of red wine that I find compelling. These Notes mention our third Super Tuscan wine, the 2011 Penchant above. Not the worst of “things,” to be known for wonderful Super Tuscans that start with very varietal correct Sangiovese grown at Frogtown.
Frogtown First Compulsion – I withheld a sufficient amount of this wine for sale with the intent to send a good portion of the withheld wine to our Citizens receiving three red wines. Enjoy this very, very, very complex beautiful wine. With the making of the 2012 Compulsion and 2012 Convergence, I felt now was the appropriate time to send the extended cellared First Compulsion. When we made our initial East Coast West Coast and West Coast East Coast wines, the TTB would not allow, for some reason, the use of a vintage date for an otherwise vintage American labeled wine. That rule has changes so our two ultra premium wines incorporating Frogtown grown grapes with California grown grapes are now vintage dated.
2010 Frogtown Disclosure Merlot – Wonderful Merlot flavors in this 85% Frogtown-grown Merlot blended with 15% Dry Creek-grown Merlot. This wine is an elegant, yet complex, combination of some bright cherry flavors and the customary darker red fruit flavors of a Frogtown grown wine. This wine was bottled over a year ago, so just pop the cork (real premium cork – the only way to bottle a premium wine) and enjoy!!!
2011 Frogtown MRV – Frogtown’s Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier blend is at its most expressive development in this 2011 blend. An intense white wine without any citrus flavors; try this wine with pork, chicken or some other normally red wine blending meat prepared on the lighter side.
2011 Frogtown Reserve Chardonnay – the last time Frogtown bottled a 100% Estate Grown Chardonnay. This is about to change with the coming of the 2015 vintage. This wine is a 100% French oak made and aged wine. You will not experience an over-oaked wine, rather a very complex wine with Chardonnay flavors wrapped in oaky toasty background.
2012 Petit Manseng – an 89-point winner at the 2014 Critics Challenge International in San Diego, California. So glad I planted Petit Manseng. It is the fruitiest dry wine made at Frogtown, but very complex and big on the palate.
Citizens receiving three bottles of red wines will receive a bottle of Frogtown First Compulsion ($33.99), a bottle of 2009 Frogtown Disclosure Merlot ($31.99), and a bottle of 2010 Frogtown Intensity ($37.99). Initially, we intended to send a bottle of the 2009 Frogtown Audacity, but as we began fulfilling this shipment, we discovered that we were a few bottles short of the 2009 Frogtown Audacity and decided it would be better to send to our three red wine Citizens the 2010 Disclosure Merlot. Citizens receiving these red wines enjoy a discount of 20% to reduce the Citizen cost of these wines to $83.17 before sales tax. The addition of sales tax results in a cost for pick-up of $ 88.99 and the addition of $12.00 shipping results in a cost for these wines shipped of $100.99.
Citizens receiving two bottles of Red wine and one bottle of White wine are receiving a bottle of 2009 Frogtown Audacity ($31.99), a bottle of 2010 Frogtown Intensity ($37.99), and a bottle of 2011 Frogtown MRV ($20.99) Citizens receiving these red and white wines enjoy a discount of 20% to reduce the Citizen cost of these wines to $72.55 before sales tax. The addition of sales tax results in a cost for pick-up of $78.70 and the addition of $12.00 shipping results in a cost for these wines shipped of $90.70.
Citizens receiving three bottles of white wines are receiving a bottle of the Frogtown 2011 MRV ($20.99), a bottle of the 2011 Frogtown Reserve Chardonnay ($27.99), and a bottle of the 2012 Frogtown Petit Manseng ($27.99) Citizens receiving these three white wines shall enjoy will a discount of 20% to reduce the Citizen cost of these wines to $61.57 before sales tax. The addition of sales tax results in a cost for pick-up of $65.88 and the addition of $12.00 shipping results in a cost of these wines shipped of $77.88.
Cydney and I wish each and every one of our Citizens a healthy and enjoyable Holiday Season, merry Christmas, and all the best in the coming new year.