End of the Year 2019
This will be the last Carl’s Corner for this year, and I would like to reflect on the topics covered during 2019. In January, a post on Port Style Wines highlighted the various types of Port wines and the newly released 4.0 Cellars Portejas, This delicious wine was produced from Black Spanish grapes grown in the show vineyard in front of the tasting room, coupled with Ruby Cabernet wine from Brennan Vineyards. The second post in January covered the use and impact of Oak Barrels & Oak Alternatives on the wines that we enjoy. The Texas Hill Country Wineries Annual Symposium and Trade Show was held in January at Horseshoe Bay Resort near Marble Falls. What a fun event filled with friends, fun, learning, and, of course, good Texas wine.
There were three posts in February. The first was an introduction of the wines offered in the 4.0 Cellars Wine Club Release. A detailed description and discussion of Vine Pruning highlighted the efforts to prepare the 4.0 Cellars Black Spanish vines for the beginning of the season. A Mourvedre Update closed out the February Carl’s Corner offerings by focusing on this important red grape variety that has become a key contributor to the wines of Texas. The state-wide Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA) meeting and trade show was held in San Marcos in late February during which an extensive educational program was presented. There was, of course, lots of connecting and visiting with friends and colleagues in the Texas Wine Industry, as well as sharing delicious Texas wines.
The first topic in March covered Frost Protection for Texas Grapes, a serious issue for grape growers that face uncertain spring weather which often brings freezing temperatures that can damage tender young buds, growth, and fruit. At the end of March, a post introduced the wines offered in the 4.0 Cellars Wine Club April Release.
A Pink Wine Update came first in April. There are several methods for producing pink wines, including rosé and blush versions. These are popular wines here in Texas as spring and summer temperatures begin to soar. The next Carl’s Corner edition was also about winemaking. Aging on the Lees described the methodology of allowing fermented wine, especially white wines, to remain for some period in contact with the dead yeast cells (lees) to provide an extra measure of richness and a broader flavor profile.
A post on the meaning of term Reserve on the Wine Label was introduced in early May. Since the term Reserve has no legal definition for almost all wines produced in the U.S., customers can be confused, and even mis-directed when Reserve is included on a label. The goal of this post was to clarify the various reasons why Reserve might be used to describe a particular wine. The last Carl’s Corner in May introduced the wines offered in the 4.0 Cellars June Wine Club Release.
Alicante Bouschet-A Really Red Grape was the lead post in June. Alicante Bouschet is a sturdy hybrid grape with truly dark red juice that can be used to several advantages by winemakers. Most red grapes, like Merlot, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Sauvignon, have essentially colorless juice that must remain in contact with grape skins to extract the red coloration expected in these wines. Alicante Bouschet can be used to produce very dark red wines with much less skin contact time, and can help to darken other wines that do not achieve significant natural coloration. A recap of Summer in the Vineyard highlighted the many tasks required to manage a vineyard and bring the fruit to ripeness for wine production at the end of the season.
Two technical topics were addressed in July, Wine Yeast Selection Criteria and Dirt Can Make Wine Better. Wine yeasts can and do impact the aroma and flavor of wines, and are thus key tools for a winemaker. The Dirt story was actually about a specialized clay material, bentonite, that is very often used to clarify and stabilize wines. The final post in July was an update on the Black Spanish grape variety planted in the small 4.0 Cellars vineyard and used to produce a Portejas wine.
The 4.0 Cellars Grape Harvest 2019 was addressed in August, detailing the efforts required to harvest Black Spanish grapes from the show vineyard and transport them to Brennan Vineyards in Comanche. The second post introduced the wines included in the 4.0 Cellars September Wine Club Release.
It was fun to write about What to do with Leftover Wine in September. A lot of my wine loving friends immediately ask, “What is leftover wine,” but it can be a problem and there are methods to deal with it. The very positive impact of White Rhone Grapes in Texas was discussed as most of these varieties are growing well and producing a wide range of top-notch wines here in the Lone Star state.
The only post in October was a Montepulciano Update that focused on the strong showing this Italian grape seems to be having here in Texas.
The first post in November introduced the wines in the 4.0 Cellars November Wine Club Release. This was followed by a discussion of Holiday Wines & the Thanksgiving Feast. It was a privilege to highlight many of the wines available at 4.0 Cellars that would delightfully grace the holiday table.
In December a post on Wine Labels – What They Do or Don’t Tell You, made an attempt to help consumers better understand what gets put onto a wine label, and whether it has a useful meaning, or not. And, that brings us to this final post of 2019 that recaps the Carl’s Corner topics addressed this year.
This has been a good year for Carl’s Corner. It was fun to write the stories and share information with all of you. Thanks for the many kind words of appreciation and support you offered in 2019. Make sure to share good wines with family and friends as you enjoy a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!