The dog days.
As I sit here on the dock, smoking the last of a Hemingway and watching a big moon rise up over the western shore of Lake Tahoe, I am acutely aware of the art of being present. It is an art form that I’ve practiced with each bottle, tune, and conversation shared under the sun at the chateau with many of you this summer. I mean, let’s be honest...delicious food, summer concert series, bare feet, and blankets on the lawn are what summer is all about here at Whetstone!
And nobody is better at setting a beautiful table and filling its seats with the best of company than Michelle. When she first came up with the idea of Fried Chicken Fridays, we all agreed it was brilliant, but I don’t think any of us realized what a hit it would be! These monthly gatherings in addition to our summer concerts and Harvest Kick-Off party have provided such a wonderful sense of community with our local supporters, industry friends, and neighbors alike. Thank you to all who attended any number of our summer fiestas, enjoyed a classic tasting under the oak tree, or gave Ace a belly rub – your continued support and friendship mean so much to us!
Are coming to an end...
As much as we hate to think about summer coming to an end, the cooler weather really only shifts the parties fireside and brings my focus squarely to harvest. My daily visits to the vineyard offer me even more practice in being present as I leave my phone in the truck, grab a swig of coffee, take a deep, lung-filling breath of crisp, early morning air, and commune with the vines. So far, 2016 has provided a very warm spring and solid set, followed by a hot June and warm July. It's looking to be another semi-early harvest with below average yields, which should bode well for concentration of fruit with bright, natural acidity. Lots to look forward to!
H E R E & N O W .
we're excited to announce the release of these new wines...
Stainless steel fermented, 100% French oak-aged in 20% new oak barrels. Bottled unfined, unfiltered. Ruby in color. Complex nose of dark cherry, blackberry pie, orange peel, and pekoe tea. Background notes of rose petal and Asian spice. Bold flavors of Bing cherry, dark cherry with hints of sassafras tea. Secondary flavors of pekoe tea and plum with supple tannins and long, bright finish.
SIDE NOTE: While the 2015 "Jon Boat" Pinot Noir is currently raring to go, it will certainly reward those of you who have the patience to put away a case or so for the future.
Aged for 28 months in neutral French oak barrels, sur lees. Dark purple in color. Large nose full of dark red cherry and cassis, bacon fat, and red meats with hints of what the French describe as "animale." Secondary aromas of hi-tone blueberry and wafts of garrigue. Velvety mouthful of red plum with lots of rugged cassis, Asian spice, and white pepper. Finishes long with plum, red meats, ripe tannins and a hint of Swisher Sweet.
SIDE NOTE: Of the 2013 Phoenix Ranch Syrah, I may have received the compliment of a lifetime from a dear friend and wine enthusiast..."Cornas." **see footnote below
Stainless steel fermented. Aged for 16 months sur lees in 35 % new French oak barrels. Bottled unfined, unfiltered. Darker shade of ruby in color. Big nose of candied red fruits, watermelon Blowpop, bay leaf, and hints of rose petal. Ripe, big flavors of pomegranate, red cherry pie with lots of tea and rose hips. Silky, long finish of hints of plum and tobacco.
SIDE NOTE: Located in Annapolis, this vineyard sits high on a knoll where you can see the Pacific on a clear day. At the far northern reach of the Sonoma Coast, it's a warm spot in a cool climate and allows me to express yet another facet of this huge AVA.
While they're showing beautifully now, these wines will be sure to blow your mind in years to come. So don't forget to practice a little patience (in addition to presence) today and always.
Here's to practice.
Here's to presence.
Here's to you.
- Jamey Whetstone
**"Cornas" is a Northern Rhone town where, for me, the greatest Syrah on the planet is grown. My heroes run back to Aguste Clapp, Noel Verset, and - over the past 16 years - Thierry Allemand. The place wreaks of the exotic animale, white pepper, cassis, and violet that I crave on a many blustery, Christopher Robbins days of fall. Cassoulet is my dish of choice with all things Cornas.
D R U M R O L L P L E A S E . . .
This Pinot sure isPLEASANT! Aged 16 months in 35% new French oak barrels, sur lees. Cherry red in color. High toned floral notes of citrus tea, rose petal, cola & Bing cherry. Secondary notes of vanilla, sassafras tea, & mint. Silky, rich flavors of Bing cherry pie, tea, soy & baker’s chocolate. Finishes long and velvety with fine tannins & hints of tea & spice.
Barrel fermented in neutral French oak and aged for 16 months sur lees. Golden yellow in color. Big, ripe floral nose of Meyer lemon, kiwi, jasmine, pine & apricot. Background notes of bees wax, licorice, & liquid minerals. Mouthful of apricot, Meyer lemon & key lime give way to a long, lingering finish.
Aged for 16 months in 35% new French oak barrels, sur lees. Cherry red in color. Floral notes of sassafras, rose & Rooibos tea with hints of Asian spice. Secondary notes of orange peel, forest floor & tobacco. Bright flavors of red plum, ripe cranberry & orange pekoe tea. Finishes long & refined with notes of bing cherry, tobacco & baker’s chocolate.
In the midst of what seems to be an Indian summer, we hope you’re embracing the warmth of the sunshine alongside the stunning colors of fall as we transition into the holiday season. With leaves and acorns covering the grounds here at the Chateau, Michelle and I are feeling so very thankful to have gotten to know many of you through stories shared over wine in the tasting salon. The perks of having such a beautiful and relaxing space to host new and old friends alike have left us humbled and grateful these past two years. Not that hosting tastings roadside from the back of my ’94 Chevy pickup didn’t have its charm, but the Chateau has provided us with the space to build community as we’ve always envisioned.
This year in particular has given us fresh perspective on the importance of our daily involvement with all of you. If you crack that bottle of Whetstone with family and friends while telling the story of having met one of us, then we nailed it; because our community has joined yours as you sip and celebrate.
There are only so many ways we can show you how much we truly care about your support! So as we set another log on the fire, Michelle and I are raising a glass to you and your family this holiday season!
Cheers and many thanks for your continued support!
-Jamey and Michelle Whetstone