We have been talking about doing a series of articles about wine yeasts for a month or more, and have announced that we are finally getting started on that project. This NewsBlog is not it! This is simply a brief piece that we hope will titillate you, peak your interest, and make you want to read articles as they are uploaded – hopefully.
Yeasts use sugar to make alcohol. That’s the long and short of it, and if you are not interested at all in how that works, you do not have any reason to log on to De Angelis Wines, and read each yeast related article. Although it took only six words above to sum up what yeasts do, i.e. convert sugars to alcohol, the story is far more complicated than that. What we want to do is to develop a series of articles that assist the reader – a wine lover we hope – understand that converting grape juice into wine through the marvel of fermentation is not only complicated, but really an amazing process. The challenge for us is to develop these articles in a manner that does not require a biology, chemistry, or other scientific degree. We are not trying to duplicate work taught at some colleges throughout the world in oenology and viticulture courses. We are trying to provide information – colored by our opinions in some cases - whereby you – as a wine drinker – can say hmm, I really get it.
Neither you nor we will know if we succeeded until the articles are posted. We are starting to write them now, so please stay tuned!
Good day all!
We have had great feedback on the article we have posted in the last few months. We are very appreciative of all comments including those who find some of the articles a bit too technical. We try very hard to be clear, and not talk down to people who are not wine scientists. Yet we do need to be specific and to cite relevant technical data at times. We will try harder to be clear, and to offer solid examples that may make a topic easier to understand and enjoy.
If any article is not clear, please pen a brief note to us, and we will either add to that article if the concern is a general one, or write to you individually. Our goal as we write articles and post them is two fold – inform our audience, and educate a bit. Why do we do this?
We really enjoy teaching, and sharing knowledge. Frankly we also need to sell wine to stay in business. Our hope is that some in the audience will see that we are more than simply wine makers and sales people. We actually believe that by adding value to the De Angelis Wines web site, some may move us up on the list of wineries from which they might purchase a few bottles of great wine. Our belief is that when it comes time to buy wine, some will say “Hey that De Angelis Wines site has always provided good information and solid feedback – let’s try their wine.” Hopefully that is not just a pipe dream whereby we waste not only our time but yours too. Time will tell!
Remember – Send us a note if clarification of an article is needed, or if there is a wine area of interest that we can address that will be enjoyable for yo to read.
Harvest 2012 — OVER!
We survived another harvest, and did so in smashing fashion I might add. We acquired one small new client, and that filled the winery. We turned down about 4 new clients for lack of space, and felt bad about it, as they were nice people. There was just no more room or tank space. We did have an easier time this year with the new crush pad, and our new 16 hectoliter pneumatic bladder wine press. Boy, that was money well spent, as that press earned the purchase price this year alone. Varieties made this harvest were Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Ruby Cabernet, Petite Verdot, and Souzao. All have been initially racked off the gross lees, barreled, racked again in December, and re-barreled. In the process of the second racking, we added malolactic bacteria and nutrients to all red wines, thus allowing that process to continue while all of the staff – as well as the winemakers – take long earned vacations during the holidays and rest for the month of January.
Once back, we will plan how to handle next harvest. Questions to be answered include: how many clients can we handle, how many tons of fruit can we process, how much bulk wine can be made, how many tons of estate fruit will be produced, and how will it be sold and distributed among purchasers, what new equipment do we need, and how, exactly will we pay for it? None of these are issues necessarily as complicated as discussions of the Theory or Relativity, but in our universe they are as, or much more, important!
On top of all of this we need to determine how much wine De Angelis Wines will make in 2013. This year – 2012 we made Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir that will be our 2012 production. Interestingly, we made the Pinot Noir for another client, but it turned out so well that we will probably add some of that production to our 2012 lineup. The Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon will become a yet un-named Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc blend.
That’s it for now!
Added Locations — Good News:
De Angelis Wines is now licensed to sell and ship wine to Illinois. We have also added Washington D.C. and Alaska! There may not be too many folks who know about us in these areas, but that will change soon! If you live in any of these locations, drop us a line. You do not have to purchase wine to get a response. We always answer our mail. Always!
Our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Stayed in Purgatory…
Sauvignon Blanc is a wine loved by some, disliked by others, and a mystery to many. We make it because we really enjoy drinking it. While that is not a way to become rich was winemakers, it is a way to have fun. When we received an email extolling this wine, we were really surprised. That email came from a client for whom we made this same wine for in 2010. Actually we made one batch of about 225 cases. His share was 75 cases. The name of his winery operation is Cerro Prietro, and is also located in Paso Robles, CA.
“Our Sauvignon Blanc stayed in purgatory, only to reawaken 20 months after fermentation. Initially, it had massive apple bouquet, with citrus (not grapefruit like when it was in tank), and then 2 weeks later (one week ago), I asked a lady drinking our Sauv Blanc what she tasted.
“Pear” was the answer, “with some apricot at the finish”. Right! So I had a sip ,and son-of-a-gun, it now has a hint of apple, citrus in background, lovely pear, with subtle apricot finish”. This is the one very best Sauvignon Blancs I have ever tasted. Absolutely spectacular! We can’t wait to crack a bottle next week to see what other flavors are going to appear. It is already ridiculously flavorful, so if we stop here I am thrilled. Still, it seems to have a mind to continue to get better, which truly seems impossible. I’ll keep you posted.”
De Angelis Wines 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was made using techniques we had not used before for the most part. The fermentation was accomplished anaerobically at 60 degrees F. When the wine was stirred for 5-6 weeks on the lees, and that was done anaerobically. The first time the wine felt air on it was when it was filtered. Throughout this process, oxidation was kept at bay by the judicial use of glutathione and sulfur dioxide.
A few days later this comment arrived:
“Wow, Jerry, I hope you got the same. This is the one very best Sauvignon Blancs I have ever tasted. Absolutely spectacular. I can’t wait to crack a bottle next week to see what other flavors are going to appear. It is already ridiculously flavorful, so if we stop here I am thrilled. Still, it seems to have a mind to continue to get better, which truly seems impossible. I’ll keep you posted.”
These comments are not the only comments we have received for this wine. A Cellar Tracker visitor rated this wine as a 93 point wine, and accompanied that with the comment:
“…Tuesday, March 13, 2012 – Home Run. Love this SB. Too many California SBs are either tropical bombs or try to be NZ. This one absolutely nails the varietal while also highlighting the terroir of the central coast. Winemaker does an outstanding job of balancing fruit from two parts of the region. This baby isn’t just skin deep and the complexity is absolutely amazing for an SB. Awesome bouquet of flowers with an outstanding balance of just enough acid. Have to stay this SB is on the precipice of launching into orbit once others get a taste and start buying at an unreal pace. Just happy to have found and enjoyed this one before it becomes unattainable. Buy as much as you can. Can’t say enough good things. No-brainer.”
It’s great when the winemakers do not have to “sell” the wines to those who enjoy this varietal. These folks have done a much better job describing this wine that we have.
Back East – Connecticut
We returned a few days ago from a trip to CT to see our 97.5 year Mom, and our brothers. We also needed to take a much needed rest for a while. The trip was great, Mom is still moving, laughing, and eating as much dessert as she can!
Whenever we go back east, we are pleasantly surprised a the ever growing number of wine shops and wine tasting establishments that have opened recently, and are doing fairly well. This is especially important given the economic issues in the country, and especially in CT.
One of the best is a tasting establishment in Guilford, CT named Ballou. Not only is is a very nice place with both indoor and outdoor seating, but it boasts an excellent wine list – about 150 different wines from a variety of states and countries. California wines were initially not stocked very much as the owner was intent upon featuring “local” wines of the area. He still does that, but now California wines represent a significant part of the offering menu. Ballou is so successful after 3 years that a second Ballou is opening a few miles down the road in Branford, CT.
The staff is friendly, and once they found out that we were winemakers, they asked a number of technical wine related questions, that we were, fortunately, able to answer – correctly I might add!
You – the reader of this brief note may wonder why we have taken up space on this De Angelis Wines web site to discuss this. Fair question. It was only three or so years ago that the wines available in Southern CT were few, and frankly not very good. Beer and hard liquor were more the norm. That seems to not be the case now, and that’s a good thing —especially for we who make and enjoy wine!
Will we ever sell wine in CT? Not until the confiscatory CT taxes and licensing fees are reduced to a point where a small boutique winery like ours can afford them.
De Angelis Wines on Wine Spies – May 5th – Cinco de Mayo!
Many of you have asked us where can you purchase our wines. Unfortunately not anywhere except California – most of the time.
We are working with a group called Wine Spies who sell a single wine for 24 hours. They are able to ship the wines to any of the states that have reciprocal wine sales agreements with California. They have chosen our 2009 Viognier as their feature wine. Since it is only one wine at a time, the red wine lovers on this list have been left out, but hopefully only for now.
The sale begins at midnight Pacific time on May 5th, 2012, and ends at 11:59 PM on that same day. The Wine Spies web site is http://thewinespies.com/.
Wine Spies does a good job finding unusual wines, and offers them at great prices. Since we are not able to sell nationally, hooking up with them for this wine is a great opportunity for De Angelis Wines to become more well known.
Take a look at the site, especially if you enjoy a really fine white wine. This is a one time sale, and to honor our commitments to Wine Spies, we are allowing them to offer this wine to you for a very reasonable price. this is especially the case as this Viognier is highly rated. Should you purchase our wine through Wine Spies, Wine Spies will take care of the sale and delivery to you.
NOTE:: Post sale info — We sold 7.5 cases of our 2009 Viognier in a single 24 hour period! Great support from around the country.
Jerry & Marsha
De Angelis Wines Featured on Just One Wine
Here is the article just as it appears on Just One Wine (http://justonewine.com/) For those who visit our site regularly, much of this information can be found on the “About Us ” page. If you have seen it before, please excuse the redundancy.
Q: What’s a De Angelis?
A: Wine made by Jerry and Marsha De Angelis.
Q: What’s their story?
A: Jerry and Marsha De Angelis began their adventure in winemaking in 1999. They planted a small vineyard in Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia Bianca on the Central Coast of California. Shortly after they planted, a neighbor planted a 30 acre vineyard, mostly in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah.
Q: Are they grape growers or winemakers?
A: Both. Growing grapes led to wanting to learn more about the art and science of winemaking. The De Angelis asked to work, gratis, at a nearby winery. Jerry and Marsha did that for two seasons, and made their own wines as well. The wines kept improving, and they kept learning. In 2004, Jerry and Marsha were asked to become the winemakers for their vineyard neighbor, and agreed to do so. This kept them busy as they made 4,200 cases of wine that year. In 2006 the De Angelis were asked to help design a new winery, a custom processing facility where wines would be made for a number of people as well for as for themselves. They accepted. During that year they not only made wines for others, but established De Angelis Wines.
Q: How much wine does De Angelis make?
A: Under their own label, not much. The total production of De Angelis in vintage 2006 was 355 cases. Total production in 2007 was 535 cases. Production increased in 2009 to 735 cases
Q: What can you tell us about this 2007 Pinot Noir?
A: Half from a warmer climate vineyard in northern San Luis Obispo County, and half from a cooler climate vineyard to the south. This wine is a 14.35% alcohol, fruit forward wine, and offers a hint of oak, and a bit of spice. Fruit flavor such as cherries, and blackberries coupled to a great mouthfeel, and very soft tannins make this an easy to drink Pinot Noir. It stands up to flavorful foods like veal, lamb, quail, and other fowl dishes. Almost any poultry, pork or veal dish, made with or without potatoes, and/or mushroom are great pairing partners for this wine.
Q: And what makes this JUST ONE WINE?
A: First, it’s really tasty. Second, it’s a great value for San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir. Third, Jerry and Marsha De Angelis are charming and convivial, and regular visitors to Algeria Wine and Ware in San Luis Obispo.
Note from De Angelis Wines: We especially like the “Charming and convivial” part above!
Reality Rears Its Ugly Head…
When we launched this web site we lowered all our prices in celebration of the event. Our thinking was clouded by the excitement we felt that the new site was ready for prime time. We wistfully expected that many would be as excited as we were that we offered good content, great wines and prices that are seldom lower for wines that are handcrafted in small – actually in some cases – tiny lots. Boy — Were we Wrong!
As it turns out, folks who know wine asked us why our prices were so low. Wines that low, areoften taken as plonk that needs to be cleared out of inventory, and done so as cheaply and rapidly as possible. Why not return the prices to what they were on the “old” site, adjust them for inflation, and let visitors decide whether or not these prices are indicative of the wine quality. Additionally, we were warned against setting prices lower than the average selling price in Wine Shops, and other stores, where De Angelis Wines are sold. That made our heads snap up, and down, as we saw the logic and reality of that. So we have changed the prices to reflect the quality of what we offer, and now feel that the prices on this site are fair and reasonable to all, especially given the wines. To be sure we were not delusional, we checked on other web sites offering wines of the same quality. The current pricing you see on this site are at the middle average of offerings on comparable wine web sites. That seems like a good place to be, and we intend to stay there.
Will we still have sales? Of course. Hell, the Ritz Carlton Hotels, and Mercedes have sales, so we will remain in good company. Actually now that I think of it, the March Madness Sale will be ongoing through March 31, 2012, only now the 15% discount is a discount on higher priced wines. Everything ends eventually!
Next Year has Begun…Already
For most people, next year begins on January 1st. Not so when one is a winemaker and/or a grape grower. For us, the year began on March 7th 2012, the day we noticed buds break in the vineyard. Beautiful baby leaves and buds like those seen at the right, bring a wonderful feeling of renewal to those of us who maintain vineyards – large or small.
We end up walking through the vineyard pointing to plants, and acting like this is the first time we have seen this. Well it is the first time – this year! Actually it has been 12 years, but the miracle of these grape plants sprouting new, beautiful buds and leaves each year never ceases to amaze us, and make us even more convinced that there is a much higher power getting this to happen – it’s too perfect to be done by us. We are simply assisting in the operation.
After the first couple of days, we stop marveling and remember that this is the time when all pruning should either be done, or at least far, far along. But for a few rows and some Sauvignon Blanc vines on the terraces that come to bud break a few weeks later in the season, our vineyard was about 80% pruned, I am typing this NewsBlog note rather than pruning today, because Spring rains have begun, and walking in the vineyard is not a good thing right now. Once it dries out a bit, we will finally get the job done. Grape plants are coddled weeds that need sun and rain. Not much stops their growth each year. Thank God for that!
March Madness Sale!
Yep! It’s that time of year again. Basketball fanatics will be glued to the TV watching either college or professional basketball. College basketball, Spring, and March Madness go together – as they should. While we have no solid research to back up this claim, we believe that professional basketball takes a back seat to College ball at this time. Why not treat yourselves to a case of De Angelis Wines, and get a heck of a deal to boot. You can mix and match any four bottles of our wines, and SAVE fifteen percent (15%) off the combined bottle & shipping prices displayed on the site. At the risk of sounding too much like an announcer at a game: “That’s a slam dunk”!
In order to make this work for everyone, we need you, and a few of your friends, to order at least a case of wine that adds up to $216. Choose four bottles of three different wines and order a case of wine.
BTW, this is our first sale since we launched the De Angelis Wines web site. See you at the Games,
A 550 person tasting event…
De Angelis Wines were served at a Symposium in Newport Beach, CA sponsored by highly regarded Hillsdale College on the 12th and 13th of February. When approached to donate wine, we were a bit hesitant. Why? Providing wines for this many people represents a lot of wine, and the group drinking it were quite sophisticated wine lovers. Secondly, the wines would be served to 250 folks at at the President’s Club Reception as well as an additional 300 people at the Plenary Session dinner. Third, we would be there, and should any problems arise, we would need to deal with them personally. Pretty high end events for our nano-winery! We thought about it, agreed, and then shipped the wines to the hotel where the event was to take place: five cases of 2009 Viognier and seven cases of 2007 Pinot Noir.
Frankly we were amazed at the response, and breathed a sigh of relief when the wines were served. Everyone who saw our name tags made it a point to tell us that the wines were some of the best that they had been served in a long time. Some asked where they could purchase the wines, and others wanted to know why we ran out of wine. They wanted more! The answers to these questions were easy: To purchase wine, visit this web site, and order the wines. We ran out of wine because we sent what the hotel planners thought was going to be enough for 250-300 people at two events. That would have been perfect, but during the Symposium the hotel planners added a third event where our wines were served. Gratifying, but not the thing to do without letting us know first.
After the Symposium, I received a note via the Contact Us page on this site from the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the College. The note: “Jerry . . . A quick note to thank you for providing your wonderful Pinot for the Hillsdale event on Tuesday evening. I was very impressed. Best, Bill. “ It’s so easy to make winemakers happy!
Is this the Romantic Part…Yet?
Why are we asking this now? Probably because we have started racking about 130 barrels of wine, and it is not fun .Twelve years ago – when we first decided that making wine – we figured that this would be a great, new career. After all, we were educated, trained as teachers and scientists – Chemistry – and had nowhere to go but up. Couple that to having lived in the Napa Valley for ten years, and seeing how easy it was to make wine, and get rich & famous. How could we not succeed? Robert Mondavi and Francis Ford Coppola lived in Napa, and did it. They were famous, and for good measure Italian. Twelve years later, we now know that the only thing we had in common with either of them, or dozens of other incredible winemakers in Napa, was that some of them were the Italian, but that was about it!
Nevertheless when we moved to the Central Coast of California, we saw winemaking as a great opportunity. Becoming winemakers had to be fun, romantic and profitable: Great reasons to become involved. We decided that we could learn to make good wine, then great wine, and then folks would be begging us to make more, and sell it to them, no matter how much it cost. We lived in an area that was young and vibrant in the wine making world There were opportunities for apprenticeships, small wineries that welcomed free labor, and a great university in town that had an oenology program. So we did what many folks do when they want to learn. We developed a small home winery, worked for free at a commercial winery, helped tend a neighbor’s vineyard, and basically learned the trade. We were making wine, and wine that seemed as good as much of the stuff that was around us. What we did not know, and never seemed to notice during the first few years was how much work it was, and how tired we were some nights. More than once we turned to each other and asked “Whose idea was this anyway?” We joked about that for years, and still today ask once in a while.
As we developed our talent, and became known to a small circle of colleagues, we made wine for ourselves, then for others. After about 3 years we could say that we were somewhat successful, but still had not answered the question: Is this the Romantic Part? That part is important for all who love wine regardless of whether they make it, drink it or both. We will get to that in the next NewsBlog, but right now I am too tired to write that part.
The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium
Just returned from the Symposium, which was attended by about 12,400 people from around the world, all related in some way to the wine industry. (I kept thinking if we could just sell a couple of bottles of wine to each person there, we could pay for the wine, and this website!) That said the meeting was great. We were on site to explore equipment for a new winery that we have been asked to help establish, and for which we will also be the winemakers. The variety of equipment, targeting both small and large wineries, laboratories, farmers, and wine enthusiasts was awesome – apparently the largest display in the Western hemisphere. Four of us walked about 10 miles in two days exploring, then re-exploring the equipment that would be needed for the new 5000 case winery. We accumulated at least 100-150 pages of equipment specifications, and pricing data that we now have to digest, preparatory to making recommendations to the family building the winery near Paso Robles California. De Angelis Wines has made wines for this group for a couple of years now, and we are quite proud to have been asked to take this on while still operating our nano-winery.
Our major interests were two fold: The first interest was crush pad equipment. This included de-stemmers, sorters, presses and tanks. We were especially impressed by the variety of de-stemmers on the market, as well as the creative sorting strategies available (One pictured above at right) . Of importance in this exploration was a consideration of available power, as well as power consumption and safety. Secondly, we concentrated on sanitation equipment, i.e. power barrel washers, instant hot water, steam generators, ozone generators, tank cleaning apparatus, etc.
Throughout we mentally envisaged our budget, and could not help but wonder how close we could, or would, come to our original cost estimates. That will be known only after we receive a number of proposals from the vendors, and after we have had an opportunity to digest them, and make reasonable counter offers. One thing we especially had our eye on each day was the press shown on the left. Very nice, and probably the price of a mid size SUV!
January 28, 2012
The De Angelis Wines site is being launched on January 8, 2012. It has been a long time coming, and we have worked hard to make the site interesting to wine and food lovers, as well as to those interested in the art and science of wine making. We are proud to be a small winery, dedicated to producing small lots of very fine wine. That same attention to detail that goes into making a few hundred cases of each of our wines has been applied to this site. Please feel free to contact us should there be any errors, omissions or confusion due to our postings. We will correct any errors immediately. We cannot do this alone. Our community is a large one, and we hope to keep growing, but not too much! For this initial period, we will sell wine and ship wine exclusively in California to folks who live in California!. We have had inquiries about our wines from states other than California, and would like to be able to ship to any state in the Union. We cannot do that at this time. We do not have enough wine!
January 6, 2012
Why are we already talking about changing, and just what is changing? Actually, It may be easier to tell you what is not changing. We shall continue to make hand crafted, small lots of wine. We shall take time for that process to occur, and we shall continue to allow our wines to age both in barrel, and in bottle before we release them – just as we always have done. The varieties we make will remain basically the same with a few new blends being introduced from time to time. We shall continue our quest for great fruit, and process it into fine wine.
We are changing the look and feel of our labels, our marketing materials, and our approach to presenting De Angelis Wines. As anyone who has seen our wines in restaurants and in wine shops knows, we have maintained a classical approach – relative to artwork and message – for the past 6 years. Changes began to be considered when we were told that our wines are very good, win in blind tastings, and are very reasonably priced especially considering their quality and scarcity. Huh? We were also told that our current labels, and marketing materials do not do justice to what is in the bottle. That floored us at first, but being willing to look at oneself critically is important. The more we looked, the more we began to understand that we really did need to update our look and feel. It was time for a change!
Developing this website is the first step. Becoming involved with a very talented label designer is the second. If you are reading this, the web site is finished and active. Once we settle on new labels and a new feel, we will make certain changes to the site so that a consistency is resident in all our marketing materials.
We are also often asked to add more information to the back label. We are going to do that, and that will be part of the coming changes. We are working on all of that now, and hope to have everything completed by Spring of 2012. We will be offering previews here, and will solicit input from other wine makers and our Fans. Stay tuned — It’s going to be fun!
December 31, 2011