RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cole in '09! Last Second Push

Okay everyone! It's down to this evening for voting! Please go check out all the videos of the other great candidates, and then choose mine. Don't forget to check out the Murphy-Goode Winery website to learn all a MG, winemaker David Ready, Jr., their great wine list, and some great games like Liar's Dice!

Good luck to all the other contestants!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bringing the Wine Home, or Out Out Damn Spot!

Over at Andy's Goode Life Blog, Andy has challenged Murphy-Goode Campaigners and other assorted wine enthusiasts to talk more about wine by answering one of three questions.

1. When I drink red wine, I often get the dreaded “red wine teeth,” which is an embarrassing condition to have at a party when I intend on talking, smiling, or otherwise showing my newly wine-stained chompers. And is there any way to reduce this affliction without hampering my enjoyment of reds?

2. What are your tips to avoid “palate fatigue” when tasting so many wines in a session?

3. Why smell the cork?

Being the overachiever I am, I will now answer all 3 questions (pretty easy answers for all of them to tell you the truth.)

1. First of all, it's not an affliction, it's a badge of honor, as if to say, "I have wine and you don't!" However, I do empathize with your predicament. There are multiple solutions, most of which are simple:
A) Chew a Campden Tablet. A little known fact is that red wine stains are simple to remove if you have enough sulfite. Chewing a sulfite tablet which is strong enough to sterilize 5 gallons of homemade wine is sure to keep those pearlies even pearlier. One drawback is that this is probably hazardous to your health.
B) Make sure everyone around has had more to drink than you. Unfortunately for this one, it relies on what other people do.
C)Dim the lights. This way, no one can see your teeth well anyway. This is the recommended method.

2. Vodka

3. Because you're interested in what the bark of a cork tree smells like. There's no wine-related reason though.

I hope my answers have helped everyone learn something about how to enjoy wine today!


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Cole in '09!

Hi everyone! I am now officially running a campaign for the Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent. Please vote for me!

COLE in '09!!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Pumpkin Wine is Still Rockin'!

My wife, Kat, and I have been doing a great job of eating at home lately, and we've been doing a really good job of being creative while saving some dough on the food. Kat's creativity has been outstanding! One dinner we had this week was a Mojo Pork Loin. For a side, we were just going to have some saffron rice, as well as some sauteed veggies, including yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, and zucchini. Well, Kat had the great idea to pour the cooked rice into the sauteed veggies, thereby creating a kind of veggie paella. It was delicious! We had this two nights in a row!

As this was a cuban-hybrid-fusion type dinner, I started thinking that in the Caribbean, gourds, especially pumpkins are used in lots of dishes. Therefore, what could be better to go with this dish than Pumpkin Wine?

Boy, was that a good choice! The wine is still going strong - nice crisp refreshing wine. There is a good noticble pumpkin flavor. The spices (ginger and cinnamon) have mellowed extremely and are very faint. Good round mouthfeel (for a white fruit wine), excellent clarity, perfect acid for spice filled dishes.

This is still by far the best wine I have made! And I need to check my inventory, but I think I still have quite a bit left!

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hello Again!

They say winemaking is all about patience and time. Well, sometimes it’s tough to decide how long is long enough. You can see from my post below that Cabernet Franc was the next wine up. Well, I picked 100 pounds of grapes from Medley Meadow Vineyards in King, NC, on October 2nd 2006. I bottled the wine in November of 2008! And I tasted a bottle in May of 2009. So far, two and a half years for this one!

How was it? I think it needs more time! The initial pour had a SHARP bite to it, so it needed to breathe for a while. The appearance was actually beautiful – deep dark ruby and garnet, clear as can be! The nose had notes of anise, mint, black licorice and tobacco. Once it breathed (for a very long time!) I tasted again, and it was a very herbaceous, vegetal wine. Mint, green peppers, pine, vanilla, tobacco, earth, and leather – with just the slightest hint of young cherries. It was still a little hot too, strange because the ABV should be around 11.8%.

Honestly, I went to winepress, and got some advice from Twitter folks about what to do with this. At this moment, I would not serve this. Two options continuously came up as I asked around about this:

1) Let it continue to age for another 6 months or longer, then taste again. Consensus seemed to indicate it would only improve.
2) Make a Merlot and/or Cab Sauv and blend. Cab Franc is a grape that is most often used in blending with these softer, more fruit forward wines.

Cab Franc is known for its herbaceous, vegetal, green taste. The ones I tasted before I made it had some of that, but still had quite a bit of fruit. But now that I think back on it, I’m not sure how many of those were 100% Cab Franc.

Regardless, my choice for now is to wait a while longer, let it age a few more months, and try again. Hopefully, it will have mellowed a good bit. At that point, maybe I’ll have something to blend it with if necessary.

Fruit was picked on October 2, 2006, at Medley Meadows Vineyards in King, NC (owners are Randy and Vivian Fulk.)
The numbers for the fruit once I got it back to Charlotte: 21.5 Brix, 3.55 pH, and .47 TA (so I had to add a bit of Tartaric acid.)
Grapes were destemmed by hand, and crushed by very thoroughly washed feet! I may have left too many stems in, which would add to the vegetal taste. Pitched yeast on 10/3, pressed a week later. I used medium toast American Oak cubes, adding and replacing them at rackings. I racked just a few times throughout the process. I never fined or filtered. It aged for the last year in bulk in a basement with constant 65 degree temps.

Special note:

I think my ’06 Blackberry may be done already. It oxidized a bit in bulk, so it has a brownish hue to the color. It still has a strong blackberry flavor, though, so it might last a while longer. Now that I think about it, even though this one was made in a red wine style, it may be a good idea to chill it first…

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