2014 Bordeaux Blend at Tin Lizzie Wineworks

We filled the press with the must.

Our enthusiasm over making our first qvevri wine in the United States obscures the other wines that we are making with this years fruit. For the third time we are making wine at Tin Lizzie Wineworks in Clarksville, Maryland. We bottled the 2012 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in August. Our barrel was gassed and waited for us to fill it after 20 months of use. This year we decided to go with a blend of Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, Merlot 20% and Petite Verdot 5%.

Unfortunately the grapes arrived from Stagecoach Vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley while we were in Catalonia wine regions of Spain. The Tin Lizzie staff destemmed the grapes and started with the fermentation. I wanted to us D80 yeast since it is commonly used for all three grape varieties in our blend. Because of a broken bladder in the press, our wine was not pressed while we were still in Spain. We had an opportunity to press the wine on Saturday after a two-week fermentation.

The best wine after the fermentation stage may be predictive of a vintage year.

We used stainless steel buckets to transfer the must from the fermentation bin to the press. While we were pressing, I tasted the free run wine. I was totally surprised. This was the best of the wines made at this point in the process. It was totally better than 2009s and 2012 after the fermentation. It could be bottled now and many people would like it. However, from the press the wine was racked into our barrel where it will age until August 2016. The Napa Valley harvest is producing some very flavorful grapes this year. The berries are smaller than previous years and more concentrated with flavors. When you decide to make wine, you have to make decisions prior to the harvest. The 2014 harvest may end up being one of the all-time greats in Napa Valley.

Our wine is in barrel; we’ll rack it off the gross lees in a day or so and then give it time to age. My brother commented that the winemakers in Napa that he visited last week want to use new French oak for each harvest. I am looking forward to our wine aging in a two-year-old Taransaud French oak barrel. The barrel has plenty of life and I am looking forward to a wine with less of an oak influence.


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