Stories from the winemaker, new recipes, happenings around the winery, and more.
The very best bottling runs are very boring bottling runs, and that is NOT what we got last week!! We had two days to bottle 4000 cases of wine of 11 different individual packages. A monumental task no doubt, but normally no problem with our great Cellarmaster Steve preparing the wines and veteran mobile bottling pro Harry running the truck. All was well and good until 778 cases in, ZAP! down goes the vacuum pump (the machine pulls a vacuum in the neck of the bottle before inserting the cork – how cool is that?). No vacuum pump, no bottling….. but with no way to reschedule, the team jumped into action. Trips to Tracy, Stockton and Fairplay followed…..some poor guy in a machine shop in Stockton stayed up ALL NIGHT to rewind the motor and by 8:30 the next morning we were back on track.
It has always amazed me just how complicated filling, corking, labeling, and foiling a bottle of wine can be. That’s why we LOVE working with Harry – with his years of experience he is never flustered and always gets the job done. When I asked him last week how many bottles of wine he had run through his truck over the years, he casually answered “A little over a billion I figure”…….Billion….with a B…..WOW!!
The world of food and wine is a fascinating place to spend your life. It runs such an incredible spectrum…from the utterly necessary to the unquestionably indulgent. We participated in an event last week that brought both ends of that spectrum together in an incredible way. We were the featured winery at a fundraising dinner that raises money to get homeless and abused women off the street, equip them to work in the culinary industry though a 600 hour training program and then find them employment and get them back on their feet. The program is sponsored by St. John’s of Sacramento and held at Plate’s Café in South Sacramento. As is often the case in this universe, not only was it a great cause, but a REALLY good time to boot. The folks who attend these dinners are totally into food and wine, energetic, and gracious - and they even said nice things about the Andis Wines : ). If you live in the Sacramento area you might want to check it out! A lovely, lovely evening.
The 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition results are in, and we scored BIG!
This year showed a record number of 5,825 entries from over 1,500 wineries across the United States - the largest competition of American wines in the world! Needless to say we were pretty amazed with our results and couldn't wait to share.
DOUBLE GOLD - 2011 Andis Estate Zinfandel, Amador County
GOLD - 2011 Andis Primitivo, Amador County
SILVER - 2011 Andis Mourvedre, Amador County
SILVER - 2010 Andis Painted Fields red blend, Amador County
SILVER - 2012 Andis Semillon, Bill Dillian Vineyard, Amador County
By scoring Gold and above, we're eligible to pour at the pubilc tasting in San Francisco on February 15th. We hope to see you there!
Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Heard a great segment on NPR this morning about an auction that took place this week where the French Presidential Palace sold many of the most collectable and expensive wines from their wine cellar to raise money to buy more affordable and early drinking wines. Love it!! While the mere mention of some of the great names that went on the auction block this week will make any wine lover weak in the knees, it is great to see wine being treated (even in an old world country like France) less and less as a trophy and status symbol and more like the daily respite and pleasure it is. I can also imagine this great news for likely hundreds of winemakers throughout the country making highly delicious, desirable, and affordable wine who did not happen to get classified 150 years ago. God forbid we drink from cellars other than those deemed worthy in the mid 1800s……..Just another little sign of the further democratization of fermented grape juice!!
We had a wonderful couple come into the tasting room this weekend. Both of them relatively new to the appreciation and consumption of fine wine, they had previously been in the winery and absolutely fell in love with the 2010 Andis Grenache. A few nights later while enjoying the bottle they brought home with them, they were bothered to discover a bit of dark grainy sediment in the last glass of the evening. Wondering what had gone wrong they diligently trekked back to the winery the following weekend (a tough assignment indeed) to see what was amiss with the wine. I was very happy to be there to chat with them as we have found that sediment is one of the most misunderstood aspects to wine consumption. So I told them the truth – “sediment happens”. Here is the best explanation of bottle sediment I have run across:
The tiny crystals you find in your wine glass, and sometimes first in the wine bottle … are not only the least likely to taste bad, but are treated by some as a sign of a better wine. If you find crystal sediment in your wine glass, there's no reason to worry or fret.
The crystal sediment you might find is called tartrate and forms from naturally occurring tartaric acid in grapes. Not all fruit has tartaric acid and its presence in grapes is what allows us to make better wines from grapes than we can from any other fruit. Because tartaric acid doesn't remain dissolved in alcohol as easily as it does in grape juice, it binds to potassium after fermentation and forms potassium acid tartrates — the crystalline solids creating the sediment in your wine glass. Because red wines have probably been less exposed to cold temperatures than white wines, they are more likely to form tartrate crystals.
In theory all wines should probably form tartrate sediment, but modern wine production has introduced cold stabilization and fine filtration which remove most to all tartrates. More expensive wines that have been created according to more traditional methods, thus eschewing cold stabilization and filtration, are more likely to produce tartrate sediment. People who prefer the traditional methods of wine production, which includes a lot of wine drinkers in France and Italy, will treat the presence of tartrate sediment as a sign of quality.
The tartrate sediment in your wine glass or bottle won't hurt you if you consume it and it isn't going to ruin the flavor of your wine, so you don't need to worry about separating the crystals from your wine before serving and drinking. However, there is also no value in consuming this sediment so don't go out of your way to do so.
So not only is sediment not bad, it’s good!! Sure it's not the best to have a mouthful of tartrate crystals as the final memory of a great bottle of wine, but with some gentle decanting and a little patience, that is easily avoided. To me it's always a sign of a less manipulated, less processed wine, and in the era of mass production that is a nice thing indeed!