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Corley Family Napa Valley

Chris Corley
 
July 29, 2010 | Chris Corley

Nuts & Bolts & T & A

Posted By : Chris Corley

Every season as we prepare for harvest, we go through a lot of routine maintenance. It's one of the least romantic aspects of winegrowing, but perhaps one of the most critical aspects with the biggest benefit at harvest. For all the excitement of the harvest season, and the culinary pleasure and enological thrill derived at countless dinner tables from ours and others wines - it's amazing how dependent we winegrowers can be on relatively inexpensive thermostats, solenoid valves, little nuts and bolts and other seemingly insignificant items. A faulty thermostat in the middle of the night during the peak of fermentation could result in big fermentation problems. A loose nut could result in gondola of fruit being dropped from a forklift.


Larry, Curly and Moe

This year, in addition to the routine maintenance, we have gone through and insulated all of our outdoor tanks. I couldn't bear any longer to have Larry, Curly and Moe greet me every morning in their previous state of undress. it was time for them to put something on. This has been on my mind for a long time, we just have a long list so got to it this year.
 
Insulation is obviously very effective. No news there. Our empty tanks used to sit in the sun at 25 degrees above ambient temperature. Now those same empty tanks sit at ambient temperature. As a result of the insulation, we've opened up approximately 70,000 gallons of outdoor summer tank storage that was not previously an option. We'll use less electricity and our glycol cooling system will decrease in hours of operation.
 

North Tank Pad
 
Last year, we were able to observe some concrete tanks in use that were at our facility. I had anticipated that these tanks would be very well insulated due tot he thickness of the concrete. I was surprised at how easilt they lost their natural heat during fermentation, and how much energy we needed to put into heating them. The resulting wine was great anyway, but the tanks performed mechanically differently than I had expected. I'm interested to see them in action again this coming vintage to learn more about them.


Concrete Tanks


I'm pretty excited about the insulation and think it looks pretty cool too. I'm kind of thinking of wrapping everything at the winery in this silver bubble wrap. Kind of like the artist Christo who does the wrapping installations of major architecture. Maybe. Maybe not. Probably we'll just enjoy our warm tanks in the winter and the cool ones in the summer, and enjoy Christo's art from afar.

Time Posted: Jul 29, 2010 at 2:35 PM
Chris Corley
 
July 16, 2010 | Chris Corley

Pairing Wines

Posted By : Chris Corley

There are lots of ways to pair wines. Most wine drinkers are familiar with matching up wines with different foods. Matching up a rich Cabernet Sauvignon with juicy grilled ribeye, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc with some Thai food, or even enjoying a glass of sparkling wine with a morning brunch are all pleasures for the palate and the soul. Over the last few years, there have been magazines that have promoted the idea of pairing wine with music and websites that pair wine with art. On the surface, these may seem like gimmicky ideas, but I say ‘Why not?’. Food, music, art, conversation all appeal to our senses and if a bottle of wine enhances that experience, then its a good match in my book.

We enjoyed the fireworks show on Shelter Island, NY over the 4th of July holiday with family and friends. We laid out blankets on the beach and got all the kids organized with snacks and drinks. We opened up a bottle of 2000 CORLEY RESERVE Cabernet Sauvignon to pair with the opening fireworks. The wine started off slowly, but after it opened up a bit in the glass it exploded with bright aromas and flavors. The tannins were smooth and dusty and there was a hint of gunpowder on the finish. The wine was a nice complementary match with the show. We also had a bottle of 1999 MONTICELLO Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon as we dug our toes into the warm night sand for the big finale. This wine is tasting fantastic right now, after 10 years in the bottle, probably the best its ever been. From head to sandy toe, the wine was warm and rich, smooth in texture, exciting in flavor and had a great finish to go with the fireworks finale.

I ordered a glass of Long Island wine every chance I got and was pleased with the quality of the white wines in the region. There were some very nice renditions of Chardonnays, Viogniers, and Sauvignon Blancs. Given the humid heat and the propensity for summer rain, I can imagine that growing winegrapes could be a little challenging in that area, but I enjoyed most every wine I tried. Over the course of the week, we enjoyed New England clam chowders at every opportunity. One of our restaurant favorites was at Claudio’s in Greenport. On our last day, we were treated to a homemade chowder with herbs from the house garden and freshly dug clams. This chowder eclipsed all that came before it, and it was doubly enjoyable because we knew that the clams had just been dug up by our friends. We pulled out a bottle of 2005 CORLEY RESERVE Chardonnay, and it was a perfect fit. Rich, lush textures with a streak of acidity and long creamy finish. Man, I could live on that wine and chowder.

Throughout the week we enjoyed fresh caught crabs with various wines, which was a real treat for my wife, Julianna. Julianna grew up in southern Maryland and spreading fresh caught crabs out on a newspaper covered table for an afternoon of crab-cracking, cold drinks and conversation is one of her great life pleasures. I thought she was going to shed a tear when our daughter Ruby showed great interest in learning how to crack the crabs!

Of all the wine pairings we shared over the course of our trip to New York, I think the most important, meaningful and lasting were the wines we had while spending time with our family and friends there. We owe a special thanks to Joy and ‘Uncle Oredine’, Gil, Kerry, Fisher, Miles and ‘Uncle Matt’ and everyone else we were fortunate enough to spend time with back on Shelter Island and in NYC. We’ll raise a glass to all of you tonight. Another great wine pairing with all of you in our thoughts.

- See more at: http://www.corleyfamilynapavalley.com/blog/category/about-us/page/2/#sthash.lu6BYaFD.dpuf

Time Posted: Jul 16, 2010 at 9:32 PM
Chris Corley
 
July 5, 2010 | Chris Corley

A Brooklyn Garden

Posted By : Chris Corley

This week we're out in New York visiting family and friends. We've had a great few days in Brooklyn and and are now out at Shelter Island for the next week or so. Shelter Island is out on the North Fork of Long Island and this is New York wine Country so we're looking forward to enjoying some of the local wines. It's going to be hot and we're looking forward to cooling off with some of the roses and whites.

BROOKLYN GARDEN

Julianna's sister Joy and her husband Noureddine have been wonderful hosts. The food they have prepared has been fantastic, and we've had a lot of fun matching up our homemade wines with their homemade food. They have a great urban garden in their backyard, and the tomatos and herbs that have come out of there are tasting great. It was my first salad with a Brooklyn accent (terroir)! There's something kind of like a sixth sense, beyond umami, when your'e eating and drinking homegrown fare. Something soulful that you can't even taste but you can feel. The vegetables that they have grown in the middle of Brooklyn are as flavorful and juicy as I've had from California. Really nice.

JACKSON KEEPING AN EYE ON THINGS

We shipped a bunch of wine out ahead of time. I'm sure we put more thought into what wines we wanted to have on the trip as we did what clothes to pack. That's just the way we roll. Half the stash was wines that we made, and the other half were friend's wines that we like. I always enjoy drinking our wines away from the winery. In some ways, I put less thought into the wine, and take more pleasure from it when I'm out of the office so to speak.

JULIANNA AND RUBY WATERING THE TOMATOS

Julianna's been pushing for some raised veggie beds at the vineyard and after visiting the urban garden in Brooklyn and some of the farmstands in Long Island, I'm motivated to to help get those beds started at the vineyard. We've planted a small amount of hops last year and are ready to grow some fruit trees and veggies next year.

Time Posted: Jul 5, 2010 at 6:19 AM

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