Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

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ken emery
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Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#1 Post by ken emery » September 19th, 2020, 10:17 am

Just got an email from Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena saying they have choosen to stop the harvest of the red wine grapes and will produce no red wines in the 2020 vintage (the red wines are Zinfandel, Calistoga Cabernet, and the Estate Cabernet). Montelena has picked their Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay and it looks like they will be producing these wines in 2020.

A retail buyer I talked with yesterday said that from the retail side of things he thinks 2020 west coast wines will be a difficult sell with everyone thinking the wines will be filled with smoke taint.

Any other wineries out there announce they aren't producing wine?

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#2 Post by Kris Patten » September 19th, 2020, 10:34 am

Lots of wait and see in WA and ORE.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#3 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 19th, 2020, 10:37 am

Not a big name but Smith-Story said they were not going to make any 2020 wine. I know I heard another one, but it’s not coming to me now.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#4 Post by F.Daner » September 19th, 2020, 10:42 am

Lamborn and I think one other on Howell Mountain. Soliste in Sonoma. What a freakin year.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#5 Post by MICHAEL C R O M W E L L » September 19th, 2020, 11:04 am

Add Neal to the list
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#6 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 19th, 2020, 12:39 pm

F.Daner wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 10:42 am
Lamborn and I think one other on Howell Mountain. Soliste in Sonoma. What a freakin year.
Lamborn was the other one I had heard about.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#7 Post by Brian S t o t t e r » September 19th, 2020, 12:43 pm

Ketan Mody says Montecillo, Maus, Lupina, and Vare vineyards all have smoke taint.
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2020 contenders for WOTY:
2017 Goodfellow Family Cellars Durant Vineyard Chardonnay
2015 Laherte Frères Champagne Blanc des Blancs Extra Brut Les Grands Crayeres
2001 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese
2015 Josef Walter Hundsruck Spätburgunder "J"

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#8 Post by MatthewT » September 19th, 2020, 1:32 pm

Guessing answer is NO but do some winery's have insurance for this kind of thing?
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#9 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm

I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#10 Post by MatthewT » September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm

Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#11 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 1:51 pm

MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
That makes sense but I figured you still gotta pay the bills and have some cashflow? I remember one of the forums someone mentioned someone was selling their wine regardless of the taint and just ignored it. Maybe this is where we see more merchants/negociants? COVID plus the fires and smoke taint have to be making things difficult cashflow wise.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#12 Post by MatthewT » September 19th, 2020, 1:52 pm

Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:51 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
That makes sense but I figured you still gotta pay the bills and have some cashflow? I remember one of the forums someone mentioned someone was selling their wine regardless of the taint and just ignored it. Maybe this is where we see more merchants/negociants? COVID plus the fires and smoke taint have to be making things difficult cashflow wise.
Can only speak of Cameron Hughes / deNegoce and there is no way he will purchase bulk wine that has smoke taint as that would ruin *his* brand. Maybe some of the large supermarkets would?
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#13 Post by JDavisRoby » September 19th, 2020, 2:59 pm

MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:32 pm
Guessing answer is NO but do some winery's have insurance for this kind of thing?
Not sure about wineries. But, I would hope the vineyards have crop insurance that covers the winery not purchasing their fruit.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#14 Post by MatthewT » September 19th, 2020, 3:00 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 2:59 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:32 pm
Guessing answer is NO but do some winery's have insurance for this kind of thing?
Not sure about wineries. But, I would hope the vineyards have crop insurance that covers the winery not purchasing their fruit.
Yah, sorry, I meant vineyards.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#15 Post by Brian Gilp » September 19th, 2020, 3:13 pm

MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
Calluna picked one block of 2017 after the fires and they made the decision to bottle it separate and sell it for a lower price with full disclosure. I’ve got no idea if it was tested much less the results but I’ve tried it on multiple occasions and I don’t think there is any noticeable issues. My wife loves it.

I could see wineries doing something similar in 2020 but it would be case by case decision. After some of the 2008 problems, I do think that most will exercise caution but as noted cash flow is vital.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#16 Post by Brian Gilp » September 19th, 2020, 3:19 pm

JDavisRoby wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 2:59 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:32 pm
Guessing answer is NO but do some winery's have insurance for this kind of thing?
Not sure about wineries. But, I would hope the vineyards have crop insurance that covers the winery not purchasing their fruit.
In general crop insurance covers crop loss from listed natural issues. I don‘t Know how smoke is covered but assuming it is covered then the concern is how is taint determined. Assuming it’s by test then there may be problems as there have been a number of reports of wineries rejected fruit prior to any tests or holding off picks waiting for test results which were taking way to long to process. So what happens when the fruit tests good but isn’t purchased? Crop insurance won’t cover that.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#17 Post by CJ Beazley » September 19th, 2020, 3:20 pm

Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#18 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 19th, 2020, 3:30 pm

MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
See my post for EMH Vineyards on the Weather and Farming thread.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#19 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 3:41 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 3:30 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
See my post for EMH Vineyards on the Weather and Farming thread.
Do you have a link? I'd like to read it but I'm getting lost in the search for it. Sorry if it's obvious and i'm missing it.
Blips and Chitz!!!

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#20 Post by timmy roos » September 19th, 2020, 3:53 pm

Things are getting funny these day

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#21 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 19th, 2020, 4:44 pm

I just spoke with a vineyard foreman at Montelena and he confirmed that Montelena will not be producing any 2020 reds. Sobering.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#22 Post by Adam Lee » September 19th, 2020, 4:50 pm

I am not making any Clarice Wine Company Pinot Noir and half of the Beau Marchais Wines have been lost.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#23 Post by Adam Lee » September 19th, 2020, 4:58 pm

I am not making any Clarice Wine Company Pinot Noir and half of the Beau Marchais Wines have been lost.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#24 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » September 19th, 2020, 5:00 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 4:44 pm
I just spoke with a vineyard foreman at Montelena and he confirmed that Montelena will not be producing any 2020 reds. Sobering.
How are your grapes doing?
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#25 Post by Markus S » September 19th, 2020, 5:24 pm

Brian Gilp wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 3:19 pm
JDavisRoby wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 2:59 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:32 pm
Guessing answer is NO but do some winery's have insurance for this kind of thing?
Not sure about wineries. But, I would hope the vineyards have crop insurance that covers the winery not purchasing their fruit.
In general crop insurance covers crop loss from listed natural issues. ...
This is interesting. So what if a fire was not caused by "natural issues", such as arson or a person's sex-reveal goes haywire? These were man-made events and this gets into the territory of arguing with insurance companies like the old hurricane insurance: "was it rain or was it flooding" that caused the damage.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#26 Post by Merrill Lindquist » September 19th, 2020, 5:27 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 5:00 pm
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 4:44 pm
I just spoke with a vineyard foreman at Montelena and he confirmed that Montelena will not be producing any 2020 reds. Sobering.
How are your grapes doing?
I picked on the 8th and tasted from the fermenation bin the other day. Delicious. It should be dry and go to barrel next week. Then I will send a sample of the actual wine to ETS and wait probably a month to find out if my wine passes the test. If it passes, I will be advertising the lab results. If it doesn't pass, that's an expensive loss. Wine gets dumped.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#27 Post by RichardFlack » September 19th, 2020, 5:46 pm

MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
Sell off to a third party? Just thinking about loss reduction.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#28 Post by Jidhin R. » September 19th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 3:30 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
See my post for EMH Vineyards on the Weather and Farming thread.
Thanks! Lots of good information on there. Hope everything works out for you and the others. The early glass looked really nice!
Blips and Chitz!!!

Ramankutty

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#29 Post by Brian Gilp » September 19th, 2020, 6:15 pm

Markus S wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 5:24 pm
Brian Gilp wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 3:19 pm
JDavisRoby wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 2:59 pm


Not sure about wineries. But, I would hope the vineyards have crop insurance that covers the winery not purchasing their fruit.
In general crop insurance covers crop loss from listed natural issues. ...
This is interesting. So what if a fire was not caused by "natural issues", such as arson or a person's sex-reveal goes haywire? These were man-made events and this gets into the territory of arguing with insurance companies like the old hurricane insurance: "was it rain or was it flooding" that caused the damage.
I should probably be careful as to how I word things. My knowledge is secondhand and my be flawed. But I think the intent is loss due to acts of nature outside of the control of the farmer. If the source of the wildfires would be questioned to determine act of nature, I don’t know. But the question as to if the crop was actually impacted will be questioned which was my point. Just because the fruit was rejected or if delays to pick caused the issues, then crop insurance may not provide coverage.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#30 Post by ken emery » September 20th, 2020, 10:01 am

RichardFlack wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 5:46 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:34 pm
I was reading Flawless and he mentioned that there isn't any carryover effect of taint but it can or does cause smaller yields the following year so 2021 should be interesting. I'm curious if anyone will decrease price knowing their grapes have some issues or would they just sell them as normal. Maybe they'll do some reverse osmosis and try to reduce taint?
My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
Sell off to a third party? Just thinking about loss reduction.
This would assume that you could get more bulking the wine out than it cost you to pick and ferment. Not being in the wine business I'm not sure if that's a good assumption (but I could be wrong). From what I've heard/seen the bulk market sells wine at pennies on the dollar it seems.

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#31 Post by John Kight » September 22nd, 2020, 11:52 am

Given that there is a market for wines with names like "Butter" and "Sexual Chocolate", I don't understand why they can't sell this stuff off under a brand-name that capitalizes on the smokey aspect of the grapes. It could be called "Wildfire" or "Ole' Smokey," "Ash Barrel" or "Smoked Pole Red". They could age it in bourbon barrels and market it as a complex, smokey, red to go with your cigar....

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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#32 Post by larry schaffer » September 22nd, 2020, 12:54 pm

And PLEASE note that not all areas should be painted with the same picture. My heart truly goes out to all of those affected - as a long time customer of Chateau Montelena, and a friend of Adam Lee and the folks at Smith-Story and others, this news is quite sobering and depressing. I know how hard wineries work to do the best they can with their fruit - and to not have the chance to do what they do is unnerving.

All of that said, please do not paint the entire West Coast or even all of California as 'affected' by this - we have been incredibly fortunate down here in Santa Barbara County and though we didn't experience a tremendous heat spike that has caused numerous growers to not harvest parts of certain varieties, for the most part, it is been a harvest that should yield the potential for great wines.

Cheers.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#33 Post by HoosJustinG » September 22nd, 2020, 1:36 pm

MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:52 pm
Jidhin R. wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:51 pm
MatthewT wrote:
September 19th, 2020, 1:40 pm


My understanding (which is nothing) is they will not do that. It's either sell at full price or dump. Reputation is too important.
That makes sense but I figured you still gotta pay the bills and have some cashflow? I remember one of the forums someone mentioned someone was selling their wine regardless of the taint and just ignored it. Maybe this is where we see more merchants/negociants? COVID plus the fires and smoke taint have to be making things difficult cashflow wise.
Can only speak of Cameron Hughes / deNegoce and there is no way he will purchase bulk wine that has smoke taint as that would ruin *his* brand. Maybe some of the large supermarkets would?
Not if you disclose it. If he buys declassified screaming eagle and says “this is sourced from an estate with multiple 100 point scores ... they are not producing wine for the 2020 vintage because they are worried about long-term smoked taint, but the wine does not exhibit any smoke taint now and can be consumed with confidence in the short term.” He could probably easily get $50 per bottle if not more. For an NDA bottling, the only reputation hit would be from trying to hide it.
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Re: Chateau Montelena no red wine produced in 2020

#34 Post by RichardFlack » October 10th, 2020, 10:04 am

John Kight wrote:
September 22nd, 2020, 11:52 am
Given that there is a market for wines with names like "Butter" and "Sexual Chocolate", I don't understand why they can't sell this stuff off under a brand-name that capitalizes on the smokey aspect of the grapes. It could be called "Wildfire" or "Ole' Smokey," "Ash Barrel" or "Smoked Pole Red". They could age it in bourbon barrels and market it as a complex, smokey, red to go with your cigar....
Toasted Cru?

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