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Accuvin Wine Analysis for the Home Cellar

Date: Sun, Dec 28, 2008 Wine Tasting

I recently ordered some Accuvin test strips to play with. These little strips test wine for pH, sugar, acidity, lactic acid, malic acid, and free SO2. They don’t display an exact number, but a "color" that is matched to a range of measurements. I tested some against wines from our production and they were reliably accurate. They’re designed for the home winemaking market, but I also recommend the pH, residual sugar, and acidity test kits to serious wine aficionados.

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The Economy and Sound Decisions

Date: Fri, Dec 26, 2008 Wine Tasting

Our business model is designed to absorb economic shock. When income falls, luxuries like expensive wine are one of the first casualties. This causes a chain reaction—it hits retailers first, so they tighten their belts and buy less from distributors, who in turn buy less from wineries. Retailers and distributors focus on budget-conscious selections, and drop some brands altogether. Brand positioning takes a lot of time and effort, so at this point it’s too late for wineries who positioned themselves as expensive collectibles to drastically revise their pricing and presentation. In times like these, retailers remain loyal to those wines that are affordable, delicious, and reasonably priced. We’re pleased to report that our retail distribution is still strong and that we released the 2007 Cujo Zinfandel ($19) three months early in order to meet demand!

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A Letter to Santa

Date: Wed, Dec 24, 2008 Wine Tasting

I grew up on a Christmas tree farm, and my dad was born on Christmas Day, so Christmas has always had an extra-special place in my heart. This week as I was going through some boxes of photos to make a family scrapbook for my son, I came across a letter I wrote to Santa when I was a long time ago.

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Tyler Florence's "Classic Clam Chowder"

Date: Tue, Dec 23, 2008 Wine Tasting

With rain in the forecast, and Dan gone to Santa Cruz for a few days, I decided to build a roaring fire and make a big pot of heary clam chowder. I used FoodTV chef Tyler Florence's Classic Clam Chowder recipe but with a few adds of my own.

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Customer Comments and Reviews

Date: Wed, Dec 17, 2008 Wine Tasting

I'd like to share some recent comments from our fans and customers. Thank you so much! From Rich Lappo in San Diego: "Just wanted to pass along some props. We had our monthly foodie cook-fest Saturday night. One of the guests this time was a chef-friend that originally trained and worked New Orleans, so he obviously knows his stuff! Among other things, I brought a bottle of the 2005 Tre Noce. There were several "heavyweight" wines during the evening including a 1999 Brunello di Montalcino, 2000 Chateauneuf du Pape, and a 2000 Barolo. Our chef friend proclaimed the Tre Noce his wine of the night and praised it effusively. It WAS really good! Great combination of black raspberry and pepper with a nice but not overpowering heft to it." From John Moon in Honolulu: "Just thought I would tell you that last nite my friend Harry opened a 2003 Dover Hansen's Vineyard cab and it was just fabulous! Still wonderfully earthy and spicy with a beautiful smoky finish...thank you!"

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Tom Hill, aka Zorro of Zin, Joins the Pepper Rebellion

Date: Mon, Dec 15, 2008 Wine Tasting

Tom Hill, known for his stream-of-consciousness tasting notes, is the newest member of the Pepper Rebellion, the secret society of pepper partisans who celebrate and defend pepper and spice in zinfandel. Tom, a self-confessed wine geek, is a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in Nevada, doing numerical neutron transport and large scale code development. Tom has been tasting wines seriously since 1971, and has been an early and outspoken proponent of Paso Robles wineries. Other serious passions include competitive sport fencing (foil and epee), biking, cooking. basketball, skiing, backpacking, and mountain climbing. Tom has a grand vision in life of becoming Superman, but has settled for now to just be Clark Kent, a mild-mannered computer jock at LANL!

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CQ2: What does it mean to 'filter' or 'fine' a wine?

Date: Sat, Dec 13, 2008 Wine Tasting

Why Filter? Filtration makes a wine brighter and clearer by removing excess sediment and haze. Some wineries may decide not to filter their wines because they feel that the unfiltered wines taste better and have superior mouthfeel. There is no single correct answer; winemakers decide for themselves what is right for their product. Some of our red wines are filtered; some are not. Our wine labels and our website wine profiles indicate when a wine is unfiltered and unfined.

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