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When The Hours Turn to Smoke

Organolepticians Number 75 (November 25, 2007)

 

 

ONCE AGAIN WE’RE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE EDMUNDS ST. JOHN’S
          16th Annual Post-Harvest, Pre-Holiday Fete du Vin Extravaganza
                           Edmunds St. John,  with Eno and Harrington
                Saturday December 1st and Sunday December 2nd, 2007  12-5pm

                         805 Camelia St., Berkeley between 5th and 6th Sts.

                                                RSVP:  (510) 981-1510

  As always lots of tasty things to eat, and many good wines to taste.  Get an early start on         Holiday shopping, renew old acquaintances, make new friends.  And we’ll be donating a   portion of our proceeds to the Berkeley Public Education Foundation.
                                                     Don’t Miss It!!!


WHEN THE HOURS TURN TO SMOKE
OCTOBER 31, 2007

There’s wild geese flyin’ South, in a line,
And new wine in every cask… 
(After The Summer,Steve Edmunds, copyright Jan. 2001)

Old red leaf, last of your clan;
Dance! Dance, as long as you can!
(Origin uncertain; Cornelia’s brother sang this to us when we visited him in Massachusetts, just days ago)

Here we are, in the deep Fall, once more.  It’s the one season here in the Bay Area that really moves me each year.  The ruins of Summer.  My tomato vines, bent and withered at the end, and still laden with fruit, blood-red, hanging on for the last few warm days before what we urgently hope is to be a rainy season. 

There was the opportunity, after the harvest, to make a quick sojourn East to see the Autumnal riot of colors in the hardwood forests of New England, and we gladly jumped at the chance to just be swept along by the brilliance of it.  We took a number of long walks amidst the splendor, letting it wash over us, and carry us away from the daily pilings-on of stress and vexation that come with 21st-century “civilization.” I had the chance to spend a day driving on slow, local roads, across New Hampshire and Vermont, and down into the Berkshires in Massachusetts, on a perfect sunny October Friday, and I’ll remember it, always, as one of my best days ever.

What an odd year. For a harvest that got off to such a flying start as this one did, one I thought might be over by mid-September, things slowed down in such dramatic fashion once September actually arrived, that my labors extended into mid-October, after all, and I was thankful that my last batch of fruit, Syrah from Fenaughty Vineyard, fermented dry in time to press it on the 17th. That gave me a day to nail everything down before the trip to New England. Now all that’s left to pick are the tomatoes of November.

The quality of fruit I had to work with this year was, by and large, very good.  I think the Syrah from Wylie Vineyard was the best I’ve seen in its ten vintages.  (From the same property, the new owner of which is named Rome, we also picked small amounts of two grapes I’d never worked with before, though I’d  lusted after them for some time: Vermentino, and Grenache Blanc.  First grapes seemed awfully nice, and I think we made another good call to persuade Ron Mansfield and Mme. Rome to plant them there. We picked both varieties the same day, and pressed and fermented them together, in a lovely blend we expect to bottle early next year. Just a little something to keep everybody guessing.)

A new planting of Gamay we established in granite-based soil yielded its first grapes in ’07, also.  The finest wines from the best sites in Beaujolais all grow on granite; it seems to contribute to a greater degree of structure, depth, and elegance than the other parts of that area, and I’m anxious to see what the results are in the Sierra foothills. Thus far, the wine seems quite promising.

And, of course, the Gamay and Pinot Gris from Witters seem really first-rate again.

I turned 60 in August this year, and I’ve got a feeling it’s going to take some getting used to.  We had a heck of a party to mark the occasion, though, and I’m gretful as I can be to have so many wonderful friends, and such a great family. (And that includes so many of you who were unable to be there)  That means more to me than anything else. We hope to see you at the get-together December 1st and 2nd.

Steve and Cornelia

 

 


Join the organolepticians!

organoleptic
(ôr'ge nl ep'tik, ôr gan'l ep'-), adj. 1. perceived by a sense organ. 2. capable of detecting a sensory stimulus. [1850-55; < F organoleptique = organo- ORGANO + -leptique < Gk leptikós disposed to accept (lept(ós), v. adj. of lambánein to take + -ikos -IC)]

--Random House Webster's
College Dictionary

The Edmunds St. John Dictionary of Etymological Arcana defines organoleptics broadly and simply as tasting events. To stay in the know, you should subscribe to the organolepticians, our online newsletter of announcements, thoughts, vintage tasting notes, whatever strikes us. To join, just send an email to organolepticians-request@EdmundsStJohn.com with only the word subscribe in the body of the message.

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