I'm a home cook, not a chef but a cook. Well enough that most of the time I'd rather eat in as opposed to eating out. Why? Because I know that if I start with really good stuff I'll come up with something tasty, fresh and (here's the word) healthy. My philosophy... Good Food like Good Wine comes from good ingredients.
You really cannot decribe a vineyard without commenting on the soils where the grapes grow. The Speedy Creekvineyard site is about 10 miles south of Mount Saint Helena. This peak in the Mayacmas Mountains flanks Napa, Sonoma, and Lake counties of California. Composed of uplifted 2.4-million-year-old volcanic rocks from the Clear Lake Volcanic Field, it is one of the few mountains in the San Francisco Bay Area to receive any snowfall during the winter.
The name Petit Verdot ('small green') refers to one of the main problems with the grape, that often the berries fail to develop properly without the right weather during flowering. It also refers to the late ripening which usually comes too late for the Bordeaux climate in France, but is typically not a problem in northern California. Petit Verdot also has a peculiar characteristic in that it produces more than two clusters per shoot. Some thinning may be required to control crop load.
The Zinfandel is considered America's own great indigenous grape, even though its origins lie on the Adriatic coast. Planted throughout California and the Pacific Northwest, Zinfandel is at its best in warm regions with cooler temperatures during harvest. The wines can range from off-dry Rosés, White Zinfandels, and light bistro styled wines, to big, rich powerful wines - even luscious wines for dessert bottling. The flavors range from plummy to raspberry, although deep blackberry fruit and brambly spice tones are most common.
Its claim to fame is its role as the heart of Chianti, Brunello and many Super Tuscan wines though it is gaining ground as a varietal wine around the globe. When grown in a suitable location the grape's soft tannins, succulent acidity and moderately intense cherry and herb flavors make Sangiovese very easy to drink as well as supremely versatile at the dinner table.
Every year I approach the growing season and wonder what kind of hand Mother Nature will deal me this year? After fifteen years growing grapes, I have a firm understanding of how to grow high quality grapes, but my effort requires adjustments each year due to changes in the weather, rainfall, and the timing of key viticultural practices. It reminds me of being a parent and the kinds of adjustment required to stay on top of teenagers, if you know what I mean.