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The Grapevine » 2010 » June

Archive for June, 2010

Ventura Wine Industry Mentioned in Wine Spectator

Vineyard Pictures 2010

Our Winemaker Joe Hurliman, looking at prospective new vineyards in Napa for Herzog fruit.

3rd Annual Ventura County Wine Trail Celebration

Winemaker Joe Hurliman pouring Pink by W at the recent Ventura County Wine Trail Celebration.

Baron Herzog Chardonnay – the perfect wine for summer!

Conversations in the Cellar: Small-Lot Winemaking Elevated at Herzog Wine Cellars

With the last two consecutive years boasting limited Single Vineyard releases, including a Cabernet Sauvignon from the renowned To Kalon Vineyard in Napa, Herzog Wine Cellars continues to take small-lot winemaking extremely seriously. Though perhaps a slightly overused term, ‘small-lot winemaking’ can mean different things to different winemakers. In a facility that is well-equipped to produce quite large quantities of wine, winemaker Joe Hurliman has also found a way to create a very focused, very high-end, small production output of wines. “The most exciting aspect to me is really allowing the wine to evolve freely – to let the wine ‘speak’ and shape the process,” says Hurliman. “It’s really a conversation to me, between myself and the grapes.” And the wines are speaking indeed – the 2006 To Kalon Cabernet Sauvignon was dubbed ‘the first cult kosher Cabernet’ by the Wine Spectator, and the recently released Clone No. Six Cabernet from Chalk Hill received 93 points from prominent Israeli wine critic, Daniel Rogov.

The Single Vineyard collection is inspired by Herzog’s ongoing commitment to sourcing and prospecting new vineyards, and to exploring the intricacies of terroir. The land, the climate, the techniques – all of these aspects are closely examined through the lens of small-lot winemaking. This vineyard-centric winemaking is also a chance for Hurliman and Herzog to really connect with their customers. “Our goal is to create the finest wines, while providing our customers a better understanding of the winemaking process and what it means to us.”

Some of these recent releases include:

2007 Herzog Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Haystack Peak Vineyards, Atlas Peak (320 cases produced, $125)

For this project, Hurliman moved far abo ve the Napa Valley floor to work with mountain grapes grown in a small vineyard near the top of Atlas Peak. Haystack Peak Vineyards was planted in the early 1990’s and is owned by Marlene Cerchi and her husband, UC Davis professor Art Havenner, both of whom work the land with their own hands. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from this special site currently go into the wines of renowned Napa winemaker Robert Foley (who makes Pride, Hourglass, Switchback Ridge and his own eponymous wines). Clearly, the site

offers significant terroir.

2007 Herzog Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon, Clone No. Six, Chalk Hill (188 cases produced, $140)

Virtually all wine grape types have multiple variations that produce characteristics differing from the original. Certain clones may produce distinctly different wine aromas and flavors, and the best wines from a particular variety often come from smaller-berried clones. Our Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon, Chalk Hill, Clone Six is one such example, showcasing extremely small berries, loose clusters, and highly concentrated flavors. It also has an amazing history that dates back over a century. Considered to be a winemaker’s dream, Clone Six is the pinnacle of the varietal, showcasing superior traits and highly concentrated flavors. Our Clone Six Cabernet boasts bold blackberry flavors, backed by subtle anise and herbaceous notes. Aged in two different types of brand new French oak, warm vanilla and sugar cookie nuances balance the bold structure and add a long, lush finish. The full-bodied structure of this wine will allow for cellaring for 10-15 yrs.

The ‘art of the vineyard’ continues with two lots of Cabernet Sauvignon currently in the cellar – one from Sonoma County and one from Oaknoll in Napa. These will be released within the next year.

Words from the Winemaker

I’ve been very pleased with the other four barrel coopers Herzog Wine Cellars uses for aging and flavor potential…these four went through similar small scale trials over the last twelve years of my winemaking here…then slowly increased after I was satisfied…some other barrels did not meet my stylistic approach to restrained ‘elegant’ blends.

I also couldn’t resist ordering 8 barrels from Leroi for chardonnay trial…you could say for most winemakers its like being in a candy store!

Baron Herzog Chardonnay – A Best Value

Anthony Dias Blue, of The Tasting Panel magazine, recently gave our Baron Herzog Chardonnay a ‘Best Buy’ status. About the Chardonnay, Blue said “smooth and nicely balanced, clean and juicy with good length and some depth.” It’ perfect for summer!

Anthony Dias Blue’s “Blue Reviews” are one of the most popular features of THE TASTING PANEL’s print edition. Here are some extra reviews of Andy’s favorite wines tasted over the past few months. Mid-priced or wallet-friendly, each of these selections deserves its “Best Buy” rating because of its outstanding value-to-price ratio.

Words from the Winemaker

Blending trial today at 9 am – 11 different samples. Good thing I finished my coffee early enough before I start tasting wine – very important!

Words from the Winemaker

As a Winemaker, I wear many hats on a daily basis. Lately, I have added yet one more, with a foray into the world of social media. Within the boundaries of 140 characters, I have kept our loyal followers up-to-date on Twitter with all the happenings on the winemaking side of things at Herzog. I will continue to “tweet” as well as contribute slightly lengthier postings on here, The Grapevine, about what I am doing. As harvest is just around the corner, there will be lots to talk about! I hope you will follow along, and please feel free to post comments and/or questions as well.

An Award Winning Year

Most wineries know that the wines they produce are good, maybe even great. But it’s always nice to have the ‘experts’ agree with you. We send our wines out to wine critics and wine competitions in the hopes of receiving ratings and awards. These ratings are often a great help to the consumer, guiding them in their buying choices. After all, the wine selection these days can be overwhelming! We’d now like to take this opportunity to brag a little, as we look back at the past year and all the awards that have been given to Herzog wines!

Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

92 points – Wine Enthusiast

Herzog Special Reserve Syrah, Edna Valley

Gold Medal – San Diego International Wine Competition

Gold Medal – Beverage Testing Institute

Silver Medal – Los Angeles International Wine Competition

Silver Medal – Pacific Rim International Wine Competition

Silver Medal – Riverside International Wine Competition

Herzog Special Reserve Pinot Noir, Edna Valley

89 points – Wine Enthusiast

Gold Medal – Beverage Testing Institute

Herzog Special Reserve Zinfandel, Lodi

Silver Medal – San Diego International Wine Competition

Herzog Special Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River

Silver Medal – New World International Wine Competition

Herzog Special Reserve Late Harvest Chenin Blanc, Clarksburg

Gold Medal & Best of Class – California State Fair Wine Competition

Gold Medal – San Diego International Wine Competition

Herzog Special Reserv Read more

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