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Category Archives: Educate

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.

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Categories: Educate, Engage, Recent Postings, Uncategorized
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Given the cool season, this year could turn out to be the best or worst of times. I am betting on the best.  Given the micro climates that make up the Napa Valley, the out come will depend on vineyard location & what Mother Nature hands us over the next weeks.

Right now, the Clark-Claudon Vineyards look better than ever.   The cooler temps are allowing the fuit to mature gradually.  Each day they are a little closer to perfection.  Also, due to location, we were 10 degrees cooler than many other sites during the 2 day heat spike.  And lastly, our retro-fited trellis system accomplished what we had hoped in providing perfect “sun hats.” 

I am absolutely betting on an exceptional vintage!… Read more

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This is one crazy season.  The wet winter was great; we needed the water.  The cool spring and late bud break was not worth worry.   Even the very moderate weather in June and July still left time for things to warm up.  But now, almost half way into August , it isn’t heating up nor are the vines catching up.  In fact, in most areas verasion is barely beginning or not yet happening at all.

Verasion is the transition from berry growth to ripening. when the fruit begins to turn from green to red for red varieties  or golden for white varieties.  Typically harvest begins 60 to 65 days following verasion.  At Clark-Claudon Vineyards we have begun this process which means our harvest will begin in mid October; 30 days later than usual.  Since  we historically have 3 weeks from the beginning of harvest to the end that means we could finish just in time for Halloween.  Vineyards in even cooler areas might be harvesting right up to Thanksgiving!

There are rumors that this cool system is leaving.  I hope that means a warming trend without any rain in sight!… Read more

Categories: Educate, Recent Postings

Financial troubles have motivated some wine distributors, retailers and individuals to sell their wine inventory at extremely discounted prices.  Consequently, there are some very sweet deals out there.  This is good for wine lovers now, but it can cripple small artisan winemakers and have a negative impact on what will be available in the long term. 

 We appreciate all of our customers who have continued to support us and other artisan producers.  Together we are sustaining the art, the passion and the soul found in great wine.… Read more

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Prompted by the film Bottle Shock, there is a lot of talk these days about the famous Paris tasting in 1976.  It was then that everyone realized that Napa Valley could compete on a wine world stage.  In 1998 a similar tasting was repeated in San Francisco with some new additions, including the 1995 Clark-Claudon Cabernet. 

The tasting was organized by Gordon Getty in conjunction with the Headlands Foundation Wine Auction.  A stellar panel of wine gurus blind tasted 42 wines including each French First Growth & every California Cult Cabernet.  In addition, a number of up and coming wineries were included. 

We were pleased just to be invited to participate.  That pleasure turned to pure thrill when we heard that our 1995 Estate Cabernet took a very strong first place.  Again, a Napa Cabernet won the tasting, but not just any Napa Cab, it was ours! 

If that tasting was repeated again today I wonder what the outcome would be.  As Eric Asimov deftly discussed on August 19th; New York Times, The Pour, “The prevailing style of Napa Cabernet today emphasizes power, weight and extravagance.” A very different animal from the wines that won in ’76 or our 1995 … Read more

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