I partially fermented Sangiovese raisins, added grapes neutral spirits, herbs froM my garden (sage, thyme, marjoram, parsley, lemon verbena, rosemary, and mint), bark, roots, dried orange peels, and caramelized simple syrup. It was aged for a year in cask outside the winery between the sink and sorting table before bottling. guessing. 30% alc.
I drink it neat ( one or two oz ) after dinner as a digestive. I also love it as the bitter component to a Perfect Manhattan. 1 part sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica is really good), 1 part dry vermouth ( I like Dolin), two parts bourbon ( although I’ve been making rye Manhattans and I like them better), a dash of Margerum Amaro, and a twist of lemon zest. This can be served up or on the rocks.
Twelve cases produced.
Use a magnifying glass to look at the front image on the label. It is very cool.
Amaro (meaning “bitter” in Italian, plural Amari) is a variety of Italian herballiqueur, commonly drunk as an after-dinner digestif. It is usually bitter and sweet, sometimes syrupy, usually with an alcohol content between 16% and 35%. Amari are typically produced by macerating herbs, roots, flowers, bark, and/or citrus peels in alcohol, either neutral spirits or wine, mixing the filtrate with sugar syrup, and allowing the mixture to age in casks or in bottle.
Dozens of varieties are commercially produced, the most commonly available of which are Averna, Ramazzotti, Lucano, and Montenegro. Commercially produced Amari may contain “natural flavourings” and caramel coloring. A typical Amaro is flavoured with several (sometimes several dozen) herbs and roots. Some producers list the ingredients in some detail on the bottle label. Amari are typically flavored with some of the following: gentian, angelica, and cinchona(China), as well as lemon balm (melissa), Lemon verbena (cedrina), juniper,anise, fennel, zedoary, ginger, mint, thyme, sage, bay laurel, citrus peels,licorice, cinnamon, menthol, cardamom, saffron, rue (ruta), wormwood(assenzio), elder (sambuco), and centaurea minor.
Many commercial bottlers trace their recipe or production to the 19th century. Recipes often originated in monasteries or pharmacies.
Amari are typically drunk neat, with a citrus wedge, on ice, or with tonic water.
Amaro should not be confused with amaretto, another Italian liqueur that is sweet and flavored with almonds or the pits of drupe fruits such as apricots, nor with amarone, a rich Italian dry red wine from Valpolicella.
Similar liqueurs have traditionally been produced throughout Europe, with local variations, notably in Germany, where they are called Kräuter Likör, as well as Hungary, Netherlands, France, etc. The term Amaro is typically only applied to such liqueurs which are produced in Italy.
Announcing the release of the 2007 vintage Barrack wines.
Two exciting new releases;
BARRACK Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – Ten~Goal & BARRACK Estate Merlot – Brand.
2007 BARRACK BRAND
HAPPY CANYON VINEYARD
HAPPY CANYON of SANTA BARBARA
250 six packs produced
The 2007 vintage was extraordinary in everyway. It was one of the coolest growing seasons in the areas history. A rainless, cold winter resulted in a late bud break which led to lower yields. The ripening of fruit was slow and steady which allowed us to pick at the peak in terms of flavor. Every pick was just about perfect – desired brix, perfect pH, and stunning flavors. The BRAND blend is mostly Merlot with dash of Cabernet Franc and a pinch of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot vines are from two clones planted side by side at the very top of a high plateau which offers 360 degree views of the neighboring vineyards below. The 2007 is a dark and concentrated merlot that was aged for two years in Taransaud French oak barrels and for a year in bottle before release. It is a classic. The wine has a very fine nose with hints of blackberry, plum, oak wood, mocha, vanilla and currants. On the palate it is very diverse from front to back with intense fruit, hints of espresso, herbs, and tobacco. The wine caresses the mouth. The Merlot is blended with just enough stern Cabernet Sauvignon and spicy Cabernet Franc to make a wine that will improve in the short term but will be at it best in 7 to 10 years.
2007 BARRACK TEN~GOAL
HAPPY CANYON VINEYARD
HAPPY CANYON of SANTA BARBARA
350 six packs produced
TEN~GOAL is a blend of head trained steep hillside Block 8 Cabernet Sauvignon, selected barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon, blened with Merlot and with a bit of Cabernet Franc. The aromatics of dark chocolate, violets, pencil lead, black bing cherries and hints of earth and toasted oak which gives a full-bodied, dense, and layered wine, with a sweet fruit. This wine is very deep, very dark and has that rare blue/black fruit quality that you only see in the greatest of vintages. There is a thin veneer of oak just under the surface. On the palate this has a swinging, tightly-wound core of very serious and structural tannin, though the tannins are ripe and smooth. There is dramatic intensity here, with hints of mocha and liquorice. Quite profound. The sum is greater than the parts with the Cabernet Sauvignon bringing the strength and backbone, the Merlot the lush sweet middle palate, and the Cabernet Franc adding the spice and verve. The Cabernet Sauvignon Block 8 (which makes up the majority of this wine) is a truly special vineyard; head trained vines planted to the steep hillside south-west facing slop. No tractor works here as the terrain has been untouched by machine. The vineyard is cared for organically and the vines are maintained by the top vineyard management team in the area Coastal Vineyard Care.
The 2007 BARRACK Ten~Goal is a blockbuster and it should age a minimum of 5 years and it will last for two decades although you will never regret opening a bottle. It is called TEN~GOAL as a polo player’s skills are expressed in goals and range from minus two to ten, with ten being the best. There are only five ten-goal players in United States. BARRACK TEN~GOAL is the best wine from the estate.
1. What was the growing season like?
Cool – not spike except for the spring frost. No rain, very cold nights – the temperature diurnals were the crazier than usual.
Was it overall cool, warm, mild, dry, wet?
Very mild, dry, with fog every morning.
Was there anything remarkable about spring set, summer weather? Rains, frost, storms?
Just the frost and the coolest summer ever.
2. What were harvest conditions like?
It was one of the coolest summers on record. After a severe April frost (for early ripening varietals) there were no significant weather issues besides a spot of rain. The days have been benign with slow ripening yielding fruit which has ripened late, with low sugars and higher acidity. For the Bordeaux varietals it will be more like Bordeaux with potential alcohols in the 12.5 to 13 percent range.
Was it early or late, rushed or well-paced?
We were not rushed – its been the smoothest harvest I’ve ever done. Very slow and even ripening so.. no drama, no panic, no hurry.
Did the grapes hang as long as you’d like?
Yes – the hang time were about a month longer than usual
3. Were yields up, down, average or otherwise significant?
For most wineries the yields were down. Margerum Wine Company and Happy Canyon Vineyards were exceptions – apart from Pinot Gris were produced as much or more than the last couple of years – we did not have frost issues.
Were there any varieties that stand out?
The tiny berry size, the long hang time and the intensity of the fruit is leading me to believe it could be an outstanding vintage. The Sauvignon Blanc this year is off the charts good. Nothing under ripe and nothing overripe. Stunning intensity and rich mouth feel already at this young stage.
The Syrahs are dark and black. During the Syrah fermentation the winery smelled liked bittersweet chocolate. We’ve just started harvesting the Bordeaux varietal reds today. Still – nice ripe fruit with low sugar and good acidity.
4. Any early assessment about the character of the wines?
Lean, age worthy. Concentrated, powerful, structured, and varietal characteristics very clear due to no overripe fruit.
Will they be concentrated, exhibit any particular flavors or structure?
Any varietals that stick out?
5. How would you compare the harvest to 2010 or other recent years?
Very similar to 2007 were the grapes were the stars and the winemakers just needed to guide them through the process with little intervention. Great balance.
I spent the morning tasting with Fanny (notes below) at her tiny winery loctaed in the center of Beaune. She is an exceptional person – working alone in this small space. She is older (wiser) – it is nice to see her contiue to grow and refine the wines. They are better – more typical of their appelation. Still natural but cleaner, more defined. Still wines for true Burgundy lovers who understand and defend this light, precise, elegant style. The big news is that Fanny is pregnant – expecting her first child in October – thereby breaking the official rule… no babies during harvest. With the exceptionally warm weather so far in 2011 harvest might well be over before the baby arrives. She is all of 26 – she continues to make truly wonderful wines.
2010 Aligote (from barrel) – very lean, tart but expressive
2010 Bourgogne Blanc (from barrel) – Nice, low alcohol. Mouth filling.
2010 Meursault “Sous la Velle” (from barrel) – Sweet and very rich
2010 Meursault “Charms” (from barrel) – young hints of lime, butter and chalk soil. Tight and VERY GOOD.
2010 Sauvigny les Beaune Blanc (from 500 liter new barrel) – showing alot of wood
2010 Pommard (from barrel) – light, very gassy at this point. Nice tannins and structure. Leesy. GOOD.
2010 Beaune 1er Cru, Chouacheux (from barrel) – a little reduced at this point. Nice old world aromas, complete wine and lean at this point. This should develop into a beauty VERY GOOD
2010 Beaune 1er Cru Les Ceaux (from one of two barrels) – GOOD
2010 Bourgogne Rouge – one month in bottle. Taste way above a Bourgoge Rouge. Rich full with some beautiful oak intergration. Made in a new large stand up wood barrel that is beautiful! See the photo.
2008 Beaune 1er Cru Vignes Franches – EXCELLENT. Rich and reductive – opened up in the glass perfumed and full of exotic fruits and earth
2009 Volnay – VERY GOOD. More like a Beaune – softer and delicate. Perfumed and sweet core fruit.
2009 Beaune 1er Cru Les Ceaux – Elegant and softer than the rest – long finish. VERY GOOD
Cultivate LA last night. My picks:
Bottega Louie – yummy
Chateau Montelena Winery – I love Riesling
The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills – sheep!
Heirloom Catering – use them
Margerum Wine Company – that’s me
Michael’s – class act
Moraga Vineyards – thanks for letting me borrow your pull.
VeeV Açai Spirit – I had two
Wally’s Wine and Spirits – the top wine shop in LA
Waterloo & City – the best
Weaver’s Coffee – sensational stuff. Two shots got me home.
I’m seeing lightning in the Southern sky