A great review (on a GREAT blog), by Nelson Tucker, "The Wine Guy"
2010 Harmony ³ (Napa Valley)
An intriguing version of Napa Valley's answer to this Bordeaux blend. Right off the bat I was pleased with the dark purple color, floral and spice aromas, and rich, spicy, ripe dark cherry and berry flavors that followed.
This wine is expected to age nicely over the next ten to fifteen years. These grapes were picked at the right time to produce a well structured wine. It is a beautiful wine for sipping or with prime rib or rich and spicy pasta.
It's partner wine was one of the Top 100 Cabs of the Napa Valley. Once again, Vic Bourassa has hit a home run!
Winery price: $59.00
Click image to read Nelson Tucker's Blog. "The Wine Guy"
As an artisan winemaker in Napa Valley, I am able to customize our fermentation plans to be creative in a desire to make wines of pure elegance. This year, a growing number of vintners are fermenting in wine barrels, both those barrels used only one time as well as brand new oak. By removing the heads and standing the barrels upright, we can basically complete a cold soak, primary fermentation and extended maceration all in the same oak vessel.
Wood fermentation is experiencing a renaissance in modern winemaking. Barrels have often been used in for white wine fermentation, especially for oak influenced wines such as Chardonnay, to achieve more integration and complexity earlier in the life of the wine. However, they have recently become more popular for red wine fermentation.
The advantages of barrel fermentation include earlier tannin polymerization and earlier integration of tannin, which leads to a smoother mouthfeel on the finished wine. The characters imparted on the wine from oak barrel fermentation are different than if the oak where only present during the aging process. Because yeast can metabolize or transform certain characters present in the oak, the wine will finish with less of the vanillin character that new French oak can impart in the wine.
There are increased costs of managing a wine number of small fermenting lots: costs associated with removing and replacing the barrel heads as well as the labor costs with punch downs, cold soaking and extended fermentation in these small lots, but the labor of love and the finished product is worth the investment.
This is one way to “Celebrate Life”
Mother Nature has been extremely kind to Napa Valley this year - yields and up, quality is up and we can't wait to taste the fruits of our labor once the grapes are picked and in the cellar.
With harvest every year comes the traditional harvest party - once again celebrating the end of another growing year and the beginning of the winemaking process. We are hosting our annual Harvest Party the weekend of October 19th and 20th - this year, we have a special VIP experience in store for a lucky few on Friday, so be sure to check it out! Come out to the vineyard and pick some grapes, bring them into the cellar and then help destem and crush them, thereby beginning the process to excellent winemaking. We will reward your efforts with lunch and wine in the Tasting Room - it will be a great day! Limited to 12 people.
On Saturday, October 20th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm will be our big celebration - music, wine and food for all as we raise our glasses to another crush completed!
Tickets for both events are available on our website at www.bourassavineyards.com, so hurry and get yours today! We can't wait to CELEBRATE LIFE with you!
Harvest is in full swing here in Napa Valley - many of the white wine grapes are coming in as well a few varietals of red grapes. At Bourassa Vineyards, we will be getting Zinfandel in first around October 1, followed by Syrah and Merlot mid-October and ending harvest with our Cabernet Sauvignon about October 20th.
The next few month will be hectic as we are bottling the 2011 Zinfandel, the 2010 Harmony3 and the 2011 Chardonnay from Rutherford on September 27th. All the grapes coming in will be open bin fermented after cold soaking with dry ice for 1 week, then hand punched down for approximately 2 weeks. Extended maceration will last for 2 weeks before gently pressing and settling in tanks for 4 weeks before putting it in barrels. A special yeast is selected for each wine varietal - a lot of research goes into each selection, with experimentation, winemaker consultations and lab input. And what happens in the next few months is just the beginning of the two year journey to producing fine wine. We are ready to get started on this new vintage!
Since Vic created his own unique pizza oven from a barrel, he has been experimenting with building the proper fire, perfecting the dough recipe and finding the perfect toppings (not a bad way to spend time!). Pizza experts agree that the two basic things that will make your pizza a success are the pizza dough and pizza sauce and Vic has seemed to master both!
Traditionally in the Mediterranean, flour dough was baked on a large hot stone in the fireplace, creating a crisp, thin flatbread that was part of a staple diet. The cooking conveyances evolved and wood-fired ovens replaced the hot stones - the result was the same thin, light crust but with a bit of wood charring, giving it a lovely smoky flavor. In keeping with this long tradition, Vic has created a “Bourizza” dough recipe that is full proof for both a regular oven and a woodfire oven. Check out his “secret” recipe, try it and let us know what you think!
The other most important ingredient in pizza is the sauce - originally, the flatbread was loaded with local fresh ingredients: fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella make up the traditional “Margarita” pizza. But these days we also like to enjoy a little sauce on the crisp crust, so Vic has created a wonderful Fire Roasted Tomato Pizza Sauce that can be used with any toppings - you are only limited by your imagination!
Pairing your pizza
The final step of the pizza-making process is choosing the toppings - in the winter, choose meats and hearty vegetables and pair it with a lovely Cabernet or Syrah. In warmer weather, the traditional Margarita Pizza is always a favorite and will go with almost any wine - Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah or even a lovely Chardonnay. Mix and match, taste and enjoy - it is all about “Celebrating Life!”
With the onset of veraison in much of the Napa Valley, I have written a basic primer on grape growth in the vineyard:
1) Grape growth in the early spring is started with BUD BREAK, this is defined as the first growth of green shoots at the growing position on the Cordon that was pruned in late winter. The Cordon is the stem that parallels the ground about 3 feet up.
2) The next month all the shoots or CANES have grown 3 to 4 feet up, then BLOOM will occur, this is when the flower is formed that later becomes a cluster of grapes. There is a 3 day window when we do not want heavy frost, rain or nasty wind, because any one of these three weather occurrences can damage the fruit set and make a mess of the future grape growing process.
3) After fruit is stable on the lower vine the cells in the embryo (each small green grape) begin to split and duplicate themselves resulting in a small growing stage, this lasts for 4 to 5 weeks.
4) Once the cells have finished duplicating the cell then gets fed from the vine and each one becomes larger and thus the grape gains in acid and carbohydrates, this can take 4 to 6 weeks. So the grape now gets even larger, this is when it is important to pull leaves off the vine near the grape cluster and near the cordon to allow sunlight to warm the grapes.
5) We now see the grapes begin to change color from green to light burgundy, this is called VERAISON and is the beginning of sugar forming in the grapes, derived from the remaining grape leaves and stems as well as the cordon. As sugar increases in the grape over the next 4 to 6 weeks the acid level decreases. Ripeness occurs when the winemaker determines the grapes are sweet enough and the pH level is perfect for making great wine.
Beginning in July, we will be featuring barrel samples of Zinfandel and Syrah in the Tasting Room as a prelude to a new blend we are working on in the winery. Zinfandel, by nature, can be a powerful, spicy varietal that lends itself to single bottling (and we will be doing that as well - back by popular demand!) - add Syrah and the enhanced flavors of both varietals, including black fruit, violets, chocolate and spice become a wonderful taste sensation.
We encourage you to visit the Tasting Room this July and August and experience the blending for yourself - we have two great events to spotlight these wines - our Chili Cook-off in July and our Barrel to Bottle event in August. Come and mix and match your own blend - like more Zin in your glass? Add more Zin! Come and experiment - it is the best way to Celebrate Life!
The staff had an amazing experience yesterday at the Tasting Room - Laurel Pine of Mirepoix came by and did a pairing session of her foie gras with Bourassa wines. Bourassa wines will be featured with the foie gras at a private event tonight - one of the last "hurrahs" for foie gras in California. As of July 1st, foie gras can no longer be produced or sold in California. French for "fat liver", foie gras is made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened.
Julie (owner of Cooking with Julie), Vic and Laurel
The tradition of foie gras has been traced back to ancient Greece - some say they birds at that time were fattened naturally but we will never really know how it all began. All we know is that the end product is amazing - we had several different dishes that we were pairing with the wines and our choices were amazing. Our Chardonnay was a natural choice for the salt-cured, lavender foie gras on crostini and the Syrah sang with the brioche sandwich of foie gras mousse, seared foie gras, duck bacon, spicy tomato jam and mache (picture below). As far as a culinary experience, we will all remember it as one of the best we have ever had!
Every year the Napa Valley Vintners put on an amazing event - Auction Napa Valley. This event generates needed funds for healthcare nonprofits in Napa County and we wholeheartedly support them every year!
We have donated an online auction lot that anyone can bid on (no need to travel to Napa Valley this weekend!). Our lot includes a case of Library wines, tours of the winery, lunch with Vic and a VIP barrel blending for 6 people. We will also be tasting some of Vic's favorite older vintages!
We hope you support this great cause - to place a bid, please visit: www.auctionnapavalley.org
Tasting wine is an art form - aromas, color and taste all play a factor in the enjoyment of wine. Vic Bourassa is a great proponent of using all the senses to evaluate and enjoy the wine he productes - and he educates his visitors every time he has a tasting. Check out the video link below:
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