MRW Blog - News and Views from the Winery


Bud Break in the Vineyards  

Spring has finally arrived! The sun is shining, the grass is growing and the grape vines are waking up. Bud break has begun.

The  actual grape starts its annual growth cycle in the spring with bud break. Tiny buds on the vine start to swell and eventually shoots begin to grow from the buds. Buds are the small part of the vine that rest between the vine's stem and the petiole (leaf stem). Inside the buds contain usually three primordial shoots.

The energy to facilitate this growth comes from reserves of carbohydrate stored in roots and wood of the vine from the last growth cycle. Eventually the shoots sprout tiny leaves that can begin the process of photosynthesis , producing the energy to accelerate growth. In warm climates, after about 4 weeks the growth of the shoots starts to rapidly accelerate with the shoots growing in length and can grow as much as 1 inch per day. Hoping for nice moderate temperatures now so that the delicate young shoots can grow into healthy vines.

The next phase for the grapes will be the flowering phase. I will take pictures of this beautiful phase of the grapes progress and post them up when that occurs. 

Come out to the Martin Ranch Winery on the 3rd weekend of the Month, when the Winery is open to the public and wine club members. We always look forward to seeing you!


Bottle Shock

When wines at the Martin Ranch Winery get bottled, those bottles must go through a mandatory "rest" period to recover from "Bottle Shock." And just what the heck is Bottle Shock?

“Bottle Shock” is a reaction that occurs in wine immediately after corking, resulting from oxygen being absorbed during the bottling process. This small amount of oxygen introduced during this process will not usually oxidize or ruin your wine, but rather in the long run it helps during the maturation process.

Bottle Shock is characterized by muted or disjointed fruit flavors in the wine. The wine may have a flat flavor and aroma, and may sometimes be accompanied by an off-putting odor. Bottle Shock can also be caused if sulfur dioxide is added during the bottling process, also affecting the flavors and odor of the wine.

Bottle Shock is a temporary condition and your wine will need time to get over the shock of being transferred. The wine must rest and recover, working inside the bottle to reach a new equilibrium.

There are no solid rules for how long the wine should rest in order for the Bottle Shock to dissipate. Some sources say a few days of rest will cure Bottle Shock. Others state that Bottle Shock dissipates within a few weeks.

The amount of time required for the wine to rest will vary depending upon the variety of grape, vinting process, wine style, cellar conditions, size of bottle, etc. While many variables affect the equilibrium process, usually after 8-12 weeks, the Bottle Shock will subside.

As always, our team working in the barrel room, keeps a tight watch over all of the wines, from barrel to bottle, to ensure that when the wine is released, it is optimum for your drinking pleasure. 

Come out to the Martin Ranch Winery on the 3rd weekend of the Month, when the Winery is open to the public and wine club members. We always look forward to seeing you!


Pairing Wine & Chocolate

Creamy milk chocolate, delicate white chocolate, deep dark bittersweet chocolate; such wonderful gifts of delectable tasting pleasures. For hundreds of years, both chocolate and wine have been associated with romance, a sense of well-being, sensory pleasures and a sign of cultural enhancement.

What wines would be sets suited to the varieties of chocolates? One of my favorites is a hearty Syrah with raspberry chocolate soufflé--and now I am yearning for such a delicious wine/chocolate pairing!

Let's talk about what wines would go well with your favorite chocolates.

White Chocolate is a very mellow and buttery confection and goes best with a wine that will not overpower the delicate flavors of the white chocolate. Muscat, light Sherries and Champagne are lovely pairings for white chocolate. The beauty of an orange muscat is that the wine will will pick up any fruit tones and the creaminess of the white chocolate pair beautifully.

Milk chocolate--creamy, subtle and melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Perhaps the perfect pairing with this wine is a Pinot Noir. The strawberry overtones of Pinot Noir meld wonderfully with a milk chocolate mousse or a chocolate accented cheesecake. In addition, try a light-bodied Merlot to pair with a milk chocolate mousse. If you are serving a milk chocolate dessert for the afternoon, try a dry style Riesling.

If you are finishing off a lovely and perhaps rich dinner party, try a simple bar of milk chocolate, cut into small pieces and serve with a Ruby Port-a perfect accent to this lovely type of chocolate.

And moving on to dark and bittersweet chocolates - a robust dark red wine is needed to balance out the alkaloids and hardly flavors found in rich cacao products. Pair a Cabernet Sauvignon with a bittersweet flour less chocolate cake with a light raspberry jam filling - this is pure heaven!

Cabernets go best with dark chocolate that is above the 60% mark. If your dark chocolates are 55% and lower, a Zinfandel or Merlot would be the perfect pairing so as not to overpower either of the flavors and sensory sensations. If you are serving a dark chocolate truffle for dessert, try a dry Tawny or Vintage Port.

Chocolate and wine are two of life's finest pleasures and finding pairings that balance and compliment the flavors and complexities of these culinary delights, make for a left-enhancing experience!

My recommendations for pairing would be a Martin Ranch Therese Vineyards Estate Cabernet, a J.D. Hurley Merlot, J.D. Hurley Riesling. For champagne our favorite Veuve Clicquot and for Ports we suggest an aged Portugal Port.

Enjoy the finer things in life! Wine and chocolate - a match made in heaven.

Come out to the Martin Ranch Winery on the 3rd weekend of the Month, when the Winery is open to the public and wine club members. We always look forward to seeing you!