April 14, 2009
Notes on the New Release Schedule from Steve Pride
For the past fifteen years we have wanted to give our wines a few more months of bottle age before releasing them to you. Our Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Reserve wines have historically been released with only a month of time in the bottle. So this year, we plan to use the slow economy to your advantage by delaying by a few months most of our offerings. This helps you in two ways: (1) you will now always receive wines that have recovered from the effects of bottling and that can be enjoyed immediately if you like your wines very young, and (2) because with every passing month the economy is getting better, you will be offered the wine with a chance that either your finances or your uncertainty about the economy will be on surer ground. Before presenting the new release schedule, let me first share a few words about the effect that bottling has on the wine.
Just before wine is bottled, it gets a small dose of sulfur dioxide (measured in parts per million) to protect it during its enhanced exposure to all sorts of surfaces (hoses, tubes, glass, etc.) and to benefit the long-term aging of the wine. During bottling, there is also very little oxygen present because the bottles are filled with nitrogen prior to the wine going in (you may not have realized that the small gap between the wine and the cork in the bottle is initially filled with nitrogen). The effect is that the sulfur reacts very slowly due to this small amount of oxygen and it can take up to several months for a wine to return to normal after bottling. During this period, the wines tend to be shut down with less bouquet and a lack of fruit concentration compared to what they had just before bottling. This is what is commonly referred to as “bottle shock”. It is not a great time to drink them.
So we have decided to eliminate your exposure to bottle shock with the following revised schedule for when our twelve wines are offered (the date corresponds to the day that the email offer is first sent out):
1. Spring Offering, April 28, 2009: 2008 Viognier and 2007 Syrah (two months after bottling; these two wines, and our Sangiovese, are the quickest to recover).
2. Summer Offering, August 4, 2009: 2007 Merlot and 2007 Cabernet Franc (four months after bottling).
3. Fall Offering, November 3, 2009: 2008 Chardonnay and 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (four months after bottling).
4. Vintner Select Offering, January 12, 2010: 2008 Vintner Select Chardonnay, 2007 Vintner Select Merlot, and 2007 Vintner Select Cabernet Sauvignon (six months after bottling).
5. Reserve Offering, March 16, 2010: 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Reserve Claret (six months after bottling) and 2008 Sangiovese (three months after bottling).
We plan to follow this yearly schedule into the indefinite future. It was chosen based on what is best for the wine and, therefore, for your wine enjoyment. We would be interested to know if there is a consensus opinion against certain of the release dates, however. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your opinion.
With my best wishes and my sincerest thanks for your continued interest in Pride Mountain Vineyards,