Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Zin has arrived!

Today we have process the first load of our Zinfandel grapes. Oh did they look juicy and smell so sweet. However many times I go down to the processing center here at the winery, its always so poetic to see the grapes and juice just pour out of the trucks into the receiving bin.

This year's crop looks smaller

Below is an excerpt from an article posted by on Thursday, August 31, 2006.

If you believe that all things balance out in nature, this year's Northern California wine harvest -- which is just getting underway -- will not come as a surprise.

Heavy rains this spring were a worry, as they put the vines behind schedule and threatened the size of the crop. But warm, dry weather ever since allowed vines to catch up.

The July heat spell was another threat, with temperatures reaching as high as 115 degrees in Lake County,

Chateau Julien has already picked some Pinot Grigio from warm pockets of southern Monterey County; Chateau Julien picked Chardonnay on Tuesday as well.

"The Chardonnay is about 30 percent down from last year," says Chateau Julien winemaker Bill Anderson. "I'm glad that it's a little bit less. You have more time to do your work in a relaxed atmosphere."

Anderson said the quality of the grapes looks good.

"The numbers look great," he says. "I have good acid. The sugars are good."

Click here to read the entire article.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

WIne Month - September 2006

The month of September is California Wine Month!! While all most of the California wineries are going to be host an event...we will be hosting events all month long. It's an exciting time and going to be a great month.

Week One: September 1st- 8th: The Wine Estate will offer a complimentary Chateau Julien glass to all tour guests. Only limited release Private Reserve wines will be poured on tour.

Week Two: September 9th – 15th: Select vintages from the Wine Estate’s library will be featured throughout the week, including vertical tastings of the winery’s flagship Private Reserve and Estate Vineyard Merlot.

Week Three: September 16th – 22nd: Various food and wine events and seminars held throughout the week.

Week Four: September 23rd – 30th: Tours of the Wine Estate will focus on the vineyard and educate tour guests on the sustainable practices of the industry.

Grapes, grapes and more grapes

Harvest started just last week but we have processed an obscene amount of grapes! Last week we started with Chardonnay. On Monday we processed Pinot Grigio. For anyone who doesn't know. Pinot Grigio grapes are actually red. Yes, they are red grapes but what happens is that when the juice settles, so does the color. The color just falls right out, leaving the white wine we see in the bottle. Some Italian wineries actually put Pinot Grigio in a green tinted bottle to give some color to the look of the wine. Very interesting. It looks like we might have a lighter load of grapes this year than we did last year, but that just means that this vintage will just shine a little more.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Harvest 2006 - Chardonnay

The 2006 Harvest season is underway! Today we are processing Chardonnay grapes from our lockwood vineyard. Here are some fun stats about where these grapes are from:

Block 601B
24.5 Brix
3.61 pH
.60 T/A

For a short video of the processing of grapes today, go to our podcast and download the latest video!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Guess who's coming for dinner?

Jackson Hole, WY - When Vice-President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynn celebrated their birthdays this month with a private wine dinner in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Chateau Julien was there. The five-course, six-wine dinner for eighteen – held in a private home and attended by close friends of the Cheneys – was conducted by wine educator and sommelier Nicole Darracq, who was given free rein to select the wines. With the whole world of wine to choose from, Darracq selected only wines from family-owned boutique California wineries, across a range of appellations. Her Central Coast pick? Chateau Julien.

“I had worked with Bill Anderson’s wines before,” Darracq says. Anderson has been Chateau Julien’s winemaker since the company’s founding. “I needed a crisp Chardonnay for the pairing, with great fruit. Monterey County Chardonnay has such great tropical fruit.” Anderson, asked to select his best wine for the Vice President, chose the 2004 Chateau Julien Monterey County Chardonnay.

The wine was paired with the evening’s salad course, a confection of apples, walnuts, bleu cheese and pink grapefruit on organic greens with citrus-infused olive oil. In her presentation, Darracq spoke briefly about Monterey County’s wine industry, the tricky chemistry of pairing wine with salads and Anderson’s multiple honors as a winemaker. “The pairing was one of the most educational of the evening,” says Darracq. “The guests were delighted to learn that you can definitely pour fine wines with a salad – which is something most people don’t expect.”

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's getting really close!!

Verasion is in full 'bloom' in our lockwood estate and about to happen on our estate Sangiovese grapes. It is really exciting to see the grapes change color. Harvest is just a few weeks away and I will be posting a video of the the harvest in the 2006 Season!! Stay tuned to our podcast for this!!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Frong page news!

On the FRONT PAGE of the Monterey Herald on Tuesday, August 8, 2006 our Winemaker and Viticuturist, Marta Kraftzeck, is seen kneeling next to one of our vines in our estate vineyard.

The article headlines, Proposed Pesticide Ban Worries Farmers, in which they talk about Château Julien:

"Some wineries, like Chateau Julien Wine Estate, never used carbofuran. Winemaker Marta Kraftzeck said the winery relied on resistant and grafted rootstock and sandy soils in its largely organically grown Carmel Valley vineyard.

"I think most people are trying to stay with the grafted rootstocks because it's sustainable agriculture," Kraftzeck said.

Their South County vineyard grapes grow on their own rootstocks, and they've never had phylloxera problems -- though she admitted it's "throwing the dice."

"Some people just think that as long as they keep their equipment on their property and they are isolated, they'll be OK," she said. "If you did get it in your vineyard, I think most everybody can afford to plant on rootstock."

Friday, August 04, 2006

White Wine Sauce and Italian Chicken over Pasta

• 4-6 chicken breasts
• 1/3 cup butter
• 2/3 cup white wine (Sauvignon Blanc works especially well due to the herbaceous character)
• 2 10 oz. or one 14 oz. can(s) cream of mushroom soup
• 4 oz. cream cheese
• 2 cloves garlic
• 2 finely chopped green onions
• 1 package of dry Italian salad dressing mix
• 16 oz. pasta - linguine works very well
• Sun-dried tomatoes
• Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in large pot and stir in package of Italian salad dressing mix. Next stir in wine, mushroom soup and cream cheese until well-blended. Continue to heat (without boiling) mixture for about 5 minutes, sauce should be creamy and all cream cheese should be melted in.

Place chicken in single layer in baking dish and pour the above mixture over. Cook for 50-55 minutes. Cook pasta about 15 minutes before chicken is done. Drain pasta and serve chicken and sauce over the linguine. Top with sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Don't forget to save some of the white wine to complement dinner!

Vineyard Update & Harvest Report 2006

Château Julien Viticulturist & Winemaker Marta Kraftzeck took an early morning trip south to the Estate Vineyard today. Following are her notes directly from the vineyard:

The 2006 growing season is moving right along. At this point, the grapes are in the beginning stages of verasion with approximately 20-30% of the grapes changing color (the final transition in the growing process). It looks like the typical first pick will be the Pinot Grigio in approximately 3 weeks. The vines recovered well from the early spring frost. A mild late spring-early summer gave the vines time to develop a nice leaf canopy to protect the clusters during the recent heat spell in California. This year we also adjusted winter pruning, enabling the canopy to develop vigorously early in the season. The overall yields look about average, with ideal cluster development throughout most of the blocks. We anticipate high quality among all of the varietals and ultimately a superb 2006 vintage.
- Marta