Yesterday was a great day, as we celebrated the start of another harvest and what looks like a killer 2013 vintage!
What do you get when you take 10 different wines, and add 1 gourmet food truck and 60 friends from around the country? You get one fun night. We welcomed our friends from Total Wine & More at the winery on Wednesday night for our annual chance to reconnect with old friends, meet new ones, and taste through Amici’s current and upcoming releases together. Famous burger purveyor Gott’s Roadside sent their mobile catering truck and we all enjoyed a wonderful evening of gourmet burgers and ahi tacos, wine (and margaritas — no man lives on wine alone!). It was the kind of beautiful, warm evening beneath the Palisades mountain range that makes everyone want to move to Calistoga and never leave. A warm thank you to Total Wine & More for making time for us during their whirlwind tour of Napa & Sonoma this week–hosting this group has become an annual highlight for Amici and an evening that we truly enjoy!
For more photos of the evening, view the photo album.
August is the perfect month for backyard parties, and a wine country-themed party is always a winner, no matter where you live. We recently threw a fantastic “wine country style barbeque” for a friend’s birthday – at a location two hours from Napa Valley. Here are a few tips for adding a touch of wine country to your party, wherever it is:
Preparing the 2012’s for a long winter’s nap
Last week Assistant Winemaker Bobby Donnell was busy getting the last of the 2012 Cabernets ready for their winter slumber as he prepares the winery for the incoming 2013 fruit. He and winery interns have been finishing up racking the wine, which is the process of removing the wine into stainless tanks, cleaning the barrels, and then replacing the wine back in the barrels so it can rest until an additional racking next winter.
As the wine ferments in the barrels, the sediment (the “lees”) settles to the bottom of the barrel and tartrates gradually build up inside the barrels (tartrates are the harmless crystalline deposits that separate from wines during fermentation and aging). During the racking process, Bobby will pump the wine into tanks and add a little sulfer dioxide to protect it. He’ll then do an initial cleaning of the barrels with water, washing out the sediment. The rinse is followed by a high pressure steam treatment. The steam nozzle seals the bung on the barrel and when the steam hits the cool air inside the barrel, the air expands rapidly. As the air cools, it creates a vacuum effect, pulling wine and tartrates from the pores on the inside of the oak barrel. The wine is then placed back in the clean barrels, and settles in for its long winter’s nap.