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Winegrower's Blog

Eric Johnson, Winemaker
November 30, 2012 | Eric Johnson, Winemaker

Harvest is Finally Over

Harvest is finally over. Well almost over. Theoretically harvest is over because there are no more early mornings and long work days but the lasting effects of harvest are still present.

Looking inside a barrel with malolatic fermentation

Here at Talley we have a certain affinity with native fermentation both primary and secondary. Primary fermentation is just about wrapped up and we are now beginning secondary fermentation called malolactic fermentation. Simply put, we allow the native lactic acid bacteria to convert the malic acid in the wine to lactic acid.  I like to say that malic acid is the apple acid and lactic acid is the milk acid. Malic acid is more acidic and lactic acid is smoother and is less acidic. Because we do not inoculate, our wines, our secondary fermentations tends to take longer. We allow this to happen in the majority of our wines excluding out Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Bishops Peak Chardonnay. The majority of our Chardonnays go through a very slow secondary fermentation with most not finishing until late spring and in some years, early summer. 

Special fermentation bung allows gas to escape without letting air in.

So why are we doing this? Well first off we want the malic acid converted to lactic acid for the mouth feel. Secondly, we let malolactic fermentation happen intentionally so it doesn’t happen unintentionally in the bottle when it gets to your house. If you have ever had an “active” fermentation occur in bottle, you know it is not a fun wine to drink. Stale beer comes to mind when I think of this.

I didn’t write this to teach everyone about secondary fermentation but to explain that once the harvest is over, it’s not really over.

Brian Talley, Vintner
November 21, 2012 | Brian Talley, Vintner

I Am Thankful this Season

Thanksgiving is upon us, which is a great time to consider those things that make life so special.  These are some of the things that I am thankful for.

I’m thankful for my wonderful family, both those who are with me now as well as those who came before.  I was so lucky to work with both my grandfather and my dad and to learn many of the valuable lessons about integrity and respect that I try to practice every day. I’m blessed to be married to my wonderful wife and to have two great daughters.  Johnine and I appreciate living so close to our mothers and our extended families.

I’m thankful for the work that I do.  I’m privileged to work with a great group of people who bring passion and commitment to work every day.  I love to spend time with passionate people.  I’m  also proud to produce tangible things that people enjoy—whether it’s a special bottle of wine or the latest shipment of Talley Farms Fresh Harvest.

I’m thankful to live on the Central Coast.  Not only is this one of those special places on Earth capable of producing world class chardonnay and pinot noir, it also has beautiful weather year round and all kinds of fun stuff to do.

I hope this causes you to reflect on those things that are special in your life and that you are thankful for.

Best wishes for a joyous Thanksgiving!

November 16, 2012 |

Holidays in the Tasting Room

Talley Vineyards Tasting RoomWinter and the holidays have most definitely arrived here at Talley Vineyards. As I write this blog, the skies are grey, it has started to rain, and the vines continue to turn various shades of yellow and orange. This week, our talented staff put the finishing touches on a very festive display of holiday décor and gift items in our tasting room.  That’s right; the reindeers are out, the unseasonably skinny barrel stave “Santa” is on the wall, and the large wreaths on the door have covered me in festive glitter more than a few times. It’s a very manly look!  Yes, this is my favorite time of the year here in the tasting room – and coming soon is one of my favorite events!

On Friday, December 7th we will host our annual holiday open house here in our tasting room. From 4:30-7:00 pm, we have lots for our members and friends to do and see. To start, we will have special vendors displaying their products, including balsamic vinegars and olive oils by Robbie Robbins, art by Lorri Trogdon, recycled barrel art by Rerun Productions, and Arbonne products by our very own Marian Fiorentino. We will have great bites by our house chef Sarah Matthews and live music by local guitarist Casey McDonald. To cap it all off, what is more fun than getting a great deal on wine? Getting a great deal on wine out of a holiday stocking! Everyone that comes to our open house will receive a stocking with a surprise wine discount up to 50% off or a gift card to use on gifts and wine in our tasting room.  It really is a fun night.

I look forward to seeing you all this holiday season!

Anna Heacock, 2007-2013
November 9, 2012 | Anna Heacock, 2007-2013

Don't Take My Word For It

Thanksgiving always gets me thinking about food, and thinking about food always gets me thinking about wine.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes…pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling, there’s a lot of great choices on this annual day of total over-indulgence.  Recently the whole staff at Talley Vineyards was asked what wines they’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving dinner.  I have my own ideas, but this really got me thinking, what IS the best wine for this unique dinner? —What do the sommeliers recommend?

I met with Todd Brown, Sommelier at Lido, Dolphin Bay Resort in Shell Beach and he had a lot to say about this topic. Todd points out, “The problem is that we don’t serve Thanksgiving Day dinner in courses where we can pair each dish with a different wine.  With all the dishes and condiments on the table we pass the plate and load up on a little bit of everything all at once.”   So with that in mind, I asked him what the best solution would be- and I really liked what he had to say. 
He recommends a ½ glass of Rosemary’s Pinot Noir AND a ½ glass of Rosemary’s Chardonnay. (I’ll take a full glass of each, thank you.)

Todd explained that the Talley wines are a great choice because of their balance, particularly their higher acid, lower alcohol and mild tannins that enhance the flavors of food so well.  He says “The higher acidity in the wine lets it pair with heavier, starchier foods like potatoes and turkey with dressing.  The lower alcohol doesn’t over-exert itself and mask the flavors of the food.”  Todd explains that there’s a necessity for both wines because chardonnay and pinot noir go great with turkey.  The oaky, yet crisp elements of chardonnay are great with starches while pinot noir’s earthiness is a best bet for complementing vegetable sides like brussel sprouts and green beans as well as the fruitiness of cranberry sauce. 

So take this for what it’s worth, but most importantly don’t limit yourself. I would like to thank Todd for his insights, but mostly for his permission to open 2 bottles of Rosemary’s Vineyard wines.

Brian Talley, Vintner
November 2, 2012 | Brian Talley, Vintner

Thanksgiving is Just Around the Corner

Thanksgiving, is just around the corner.  It's my favorite holiday because I love to cook. This year I plan to brine my turkey then roast it in my wood burning oven. Every year people ask me what I drink with the meal. My favorite choice is our Estate Pinot Noir because of its balance and elegance, which I find works well with the complex flavors of the meal. The magnums we're featuring this month are perfect for extended family. I asked our crew here at Talley Vineyards what they plan to serve. Best wishes to everyone for a joyous Thanksgiving!

Nicole Bertotti-Pope, Assistant Winemaker, 2010 Rincon Pinot Noir

“Pinot Noir is a great match for turkey and all the usual side dish suspects, and what better excuse than Thanksgiving to pull out those single vineyard pinots you've been saving all year!  The 2010 Rincon Pinot Noir is tasting great right now, and has just the right balance of fruit, spice and earthiness to pair with just about everything on the table.  I think it will go perfectly with my dish of maple chipotle mashed sweet potatoes.”

David Block, Sales Manager, 2011 Bishop’s Peak Riesling

“I vote for the 2011 Bishop’s Peak Riesling. I would serve that as the cook’s prep wine to be consumed in copious amounts with light snacks such as seasoned nuts like Rosemary almonds or wasabi spiced peanuts.Drink up sailors it’s time to cook!”

Alyssa Ball, Direct Sales Manager, 2010 Oliver’s Vineyard Chardonnay

“One of my favorite fall foods is butternut squash and I always like to include it in my Thanksgiving meal.  This year I plan to roast the butternut squash and serve it with browned butter and fresh herbs.  I recommend enjoying a glass of Oliver’s Vineyard Chardonnay along with this delicious and simple side dish.”

Eric Johnson, Winemaker, 2010 Rincon Chardonnay

“At the Thanksgiving meal, my favorite food on the plate is stuffing.  I like a stuffing that uses tart green apples as a primary ingredient, because the apples add so much extra flavor.  Rincon Vineyard Chardonnay is the perfect wine to pair with apple stuffing and I plan to enjoy a glass or two for the holiday. ”

Michele Good, Director of Business Operations, 2010 Talley Vineayards Estate Chardonnay

“I’m going Estate Chard.  Love that wine and goes good with Turkey, gravy, potatoes, appetizers, and everything else I eat on T-day.”

Anna Heacock, Marketing Manager, 2005 Rosemary's Pinot Noir

“I plan on bringing a few bottles.  I’m finally going to open a 2005 Rosemary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.  While I know this wine still has many good years left, I’m not very patient and I know it’s drinking beautifully now.  I will savor this wine from appetizer to dessert- it doesn’t need a complement. Because I will want to enjoy at least a full glass (or two), I need to provide a distraction that I can feel good about.  For that, I will also bring a few Bishop’s Peak Chardonnays, absolutely delicious as an aperitif and a perfectly refreshing pairing to all the traditional Thanksgiving flavors of savory, nutty and fruity.”

Belinda Christensen, Direct Sales Assistant, assorted Talley and Bishop's Peak wines

“If you were to come to the Christensen family Thanksgiving table, you would find Prime Rib, not turkey.  And at the very crowded table, would be multiple bottles of wine including Stone Corral Pinot Noir, some Rincon Pinot Noir,  Bishop’s Peak Cabernet,  maybe some Elevation Red, a bottle of Riesling for my mother, and a bottle of Rosemary’s Chardonnay for those white wine drinkers.  Something for everyone."