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Category Archives: Educate

To pick or not to pick, that is the question.  Who decides and how do they do it?  At CC it is a detailed, group decision combining art and science.  First there is the general visiual.  Is verasion, or the coloring of the fruit, finished.  Are the leaves in the fruiting zone, where the clusters hang, beginning to turn yellow.  What direction are the upper leaves directed?  Has plant growth stopped? Then the evaluation becomes more specific.  Are the berries firm, but not hard, are the seeds dark brown and nutty does the juice give off a bit of color?  The data below is the next info considered.

These readings, plus quite a few more, are taken once a week as harvest gets close and every other day as it gets closer.  Yet, the final decision after all the science is done, comes down to the art of taste.  Not a single grape will be picked until the flavors are just right.

QUESTIONS?

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2012 Harvest Data
11-Sep-12
Date Veriatal Vineyard Berry Weight Berry Diameter % Brown Seeds Brix pH TA
11-Sep CF-BLK 3 CCV 1.11 11.691 10 19.7 3.5 5.5
11-Sep PV BLK 2 CCV 1.16 12.326 25 23.9 3.4

Categories: 2012 Cabernet Vintage, Educate, Harvest 2012, Recent Postings
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In preparation for our new Bordeaux blend; Eternity, we decided to chip bud one acre of Cabernet over to Petit Verdot and one acre to Cab Franc. The Petit Verdot is in full production. We budded the Cab Franc this last spring. A typical vineyard planting requires 5 years before the vineyard is in full production. Chip budding gives us an incredible jump on that number.   

The “budders” are true artisans.  First they cut the vine from the trunk leaving about 2 feet of trunk in the ground.  Then a ”chip” is taken from a vine of the desired variety.  The “chip” is the size of the tip of your thumb nail.   Next a tiny wedge is cut into the remaining trunk and the chip is fit in.  Then the trunk with its new chip is wrapped at the budded juncture in a white plastic tape.  From there a whole new vine will grow using the established root system of the previous vine.  It is truely amazing!

Our newly chip budded Cabernet Franc is reaching for the sky.  We will have a bit of fruit this year which will be dropped.  If Mother Nature is kind, by 2012 we expect … Read more

Categories: Educate, Engage, Recent Postings
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This recipe by Chef Stephen Barber; Fish Story, Lark Creek Group in Napa, defies the general belief that only white wine or light reds should be paired with fish.  In fact, Chef Barber created this recipe specifically to pair with our Estate Cabernet.  I expected him to come up with a meat dish, but not only does this work, it is spectacular! 

I have summarized the recipe below.  The detailed recipe can be found in, Decanting Napa Valley; the Cookbook.

Clark-Claudon Cabernet
Grilled Crispy Skin Wild Salmon with Creamed Corn, Baby Bok Choy & Beurre Rouge Sauce

Ingredients:                                          Beurre Rouge:
Salmon fillets; wild, skin on                1/2 C Clark-Claudon Estate Cab
4 heads baby bok choy                       1/4 C minced Shallots
4 ears sweet corn                                1/2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 C cream                                         8T unsalted butter
lemon
olive oil                                                 Garnish:
salt & pepper                                        Pea shoots on top, with a squeeze of lemon & drizzle of olive oil

To Make Beurre Rouge:
Bring wine, shallots, & vinegar to boil
Reduce heat & simmer until liquid is reduced to 2 T
Add 8 T of butter; one at a time wisking continually until thick.
Season with salt & butter.  Hold in warm kitchen spot… Read more

Categories: Educate, Experience, Recent Postings
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 Next week we will offer three new ways for you to enjoy Clark-Claudon.    I can’t wait to share the news with you.  For now, I am watching  a continuous down pour outside my window. 

I have been asked, What does this do to the vineyard?  We were below the needed rain level about a month ago.  Now, we are well over.  The rain has been battering us for days.  The soil is completely saturated and the reservoirs are spilling. 

This can be a set up for terrace slippage and major erosion.  In addition, with bud break coming, heavy rain can knock off the tender buds. Plus, muddy vineyards and tractors do not get along very well.  Consequently, the cultivation that is usually happening at this time is at a standstill.

Thankfully, the erosion control system at our vineyard is serving it well.  To date, we have not lost any terraces and the cover crop & drainage system are preserving the top soil.  We are all hoping the rain will stop by next week.  If it does, all will be well.  As I have said before, growing grapes and making wine is not for the faint of heart!… Read more

Categories: Educate, Engage, Recent Postings, Uncategorized
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The 2011 Season has begun...

I love the smell in the winery right now; baby wine all fruity and lively as it goes to barrel.  I pull out the bung allowing all the wonderful aromas to leap out and then I stick in the “thief” to steal a taste.   Following the wines evolution is such a tough job, but someone has to do it!

In the vinyard, the air is crisp and moist.  The fog swirls around me.  The vines are bare and stark with short canes sticking out at strange uniform angles.

These vines do not have some kind of blight, rather they have been pre-pruned.  All the leaves now gone; the wild canes, once controlled by trellis wires, have been cut to about 2 ft.  This early “haircut” supports the health of the vine while  preparing it for the focused decisions made during the final pruning…The 2011 season has begun.… Read more

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Photos by Briana Marie Photography