The Three Parts of a Grape Berry

We started harvest about ten days ago so I wanted to talk about grapes today. Wine grapes have three parts: the skins, the pulp, and the seeds. The seeds have been bred out of table grapes, one example being Thompson seedless grapes.

Let’s start from the inside with the seeds. Seeds are not very tasty since they have very high amounts of tannins and do little when it comes to winemaking. If you have ever bought a bag of concord grapes and then bit down on the seeds you know how bitter the seeds can be. That being said, the last thing a winemaker wants to do is crush the seeds when the juice is pressed otherwise this bitterness will find its way into the juice. Grapes can have anywhere from one seed per berry up to four seeds per berry.

The most important part of the grape for white wine is the pulp. This contains the sugar, acids (both tartaric and malic), aromatics, and a small amount of potassium. A white wine gets all of its acid and flavor profile from the juice that is extracted from the pulp.   

The last and most important part of the berry for a red wine is the skins. The skins contain all the color (called anthocyanins) in a red berry and thus need to be left in contact with the juice for the wine to have a red color. If the grapes are pressed shortly after they are crushed then the wine will be similar to a white wine or be rose in color. This part of the grape also contains the less bitter tannins that a winemaker wants in a red wine; it helps to give the final product a better mouthfeel.

-Brian Tomasello 4th Generation Outer Coastal Plain Winemaker Tomasello Winery
Image Credit: http://dcwineweek.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/DCWW-Blog_extra61.jpg

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Wine of the Week: Petit Verdot

2013 Palmaris OCP Petit Verdot (Pronounced pe-TEE ver-DOE)

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Petit Verdot was originally a Bordeaux grape from the southwest area of France. It is a less common grape in its homeland since it ripens very late in the season, additionally it buds very early. Both of these things make growing Petit Verdot a challenge as frost in the spring or fall and cold weather throughout the summer may produce a limited crop or an under ripened crop. In a good year when the grapes fully ripen, Petit Verdot has a very dark purple hue.

Petit Verdot is often not used as a varietal wine, rather it usually is used for blending to round out Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. This year we wanted to highlight our Petit Verdot and produced the 2013 Palmaris (Latin for “prize worthy”) Petit Verdot. 2013 was a wonderful growing season here in the Outer Coastal Plain. We had dry and warm conditions though the end of the harvest which allowed for a full mature crop. Once picked the grapes were allowed to macerate and ferment for two weeks before it was blended together and stored away for 28 months in a mix of French Nevers Oak and American Oak. The blend is 79% Petit Verdot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 9% Cabernet Franc.

Our Petit Verdot is a wonderful full bodied red wine with hints of cherry, warm hearty oak, along with many other secondary and tertiary aromas. It is best to open the wine and let it breath before you drink this wine. This allows the wine to open up and aromas to reach a fuller flavor potential. This is best done by decanting the wine. That being said, stop in at any of our tasting rooms and try some of the 2013 OCP Palmaris Petit Verdot. We are excited about the results.

I hope you enjoy this first of many wine blogs. I am going to try and discuss a few wines a month and teach some basic wine terminology/ wine processing.

-Brian Tomasello 4th Generation Outer Coastal Plain Winemaker Tomasello Winery

24 Wines 24 Days Holiday Sale!

The holiday season is upon us! How many of you have seen the wine advent calendars? How many of you like to buy wine as holiday gifts? Who here uses the holiday season as an excuse to fill up their wine collection? We here at Tomasello Winery want to help you with our 24 Wines 24 Days Holiday Sale! The 24 Wines 24 Days Holiday Sale is 24 wines that we are putting on sale during the month of December. We picked our favorites (some of our favorites) and ordered them in a way so you can best enjoy them all December long. The sale will be broken into 4, 6 day intervals each featuring 6 wines. Ok we know that sounds complicated so we will break it down in an easy to understand way…

December 1-6 the following wines will be on sale:

 

IMG_3224Dry Riesling

Spiced Apple

Chambourcin

Sangiovese

Cherry Wine

Sparkling Blueberry

 

December 7-12 the following wines will be on sale:

Palmaris ChardonnayIMG_3225

Ranier White

Syrah

Raspberry Moscato

Cherry Moscato

Blueberry Moscato

 

December 13-18 the following wines will be on sale:

IMG_3226Painting Chardonnay

Palmaris CabSauv Reserve

Blackberry Wine

Ranier Rose

Mulled Spiced Wine

2014 Vintage Port

 

December 19-24 the following wines will be on sale:

Winter Chill WhiteIMG_3227

Ice Wine

Pinot Grigio

Palmaris Pinot Noir

Ranier Red

Blaufrankisch

 

Simple, right? You can use the sale to try all 24 wines or wait until your favorites are on sale and stock up. The 24 Wines 24 Days Holiday Sale provides a perfect opportunity to try some wines you may have never had before. It’s also a great way to get some great wines for holiday dinners. We just want to help you get in the holiday spirit and start a new tradition. Make sure to like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter and Instagram so you don’t miss any sales!

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