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Vinnez – April 2013

Vinnez – April 2013

2011 Vintage Almost Here

The 2011 vintage is in the U.S. and on its way to the warehouse for distribution in early June. I tasted the 2011 this past January while visiting Mendoza for the blending of my 2012 wines. The wines are very complex with deep flavors and a strong finish. They reflect an excellent growing season and the gradual maturing of the vines. If you enjoyed my 2010 wines then you will enjoy even more the 2011 vintage.

2011 wine label

We are working to expand distribution of my wine in restaurants and wine shops here in Boston. Currently Lucca Back Bay, a fine dining location with excellent food and service near the Prudential Center is the first restaurant to stock my wine for diners. A few weeks ago I was privileged to pour my wine for a couple who ordered it and spend some time chatting up wine with them. Now, that was a lot of fun!!

If you are interested in ordering some of the 2012 vintage, go to my online eshop. As soon as the wine arrives I will ship it out to you (weather permitting). If you have any comments on the 2010 vintage, please send them along.

Cheers!

Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Chaiken Vineyards

info@chaikenvineyards.com
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Featured Photo Courtesy of  Don Guerwitz Photography – Akha Woman. Kengtung, Mynamar (Burma)

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Report from the Field – Malbec

Below is a recent report from the field sent by my friends at Vines of Mendoza. The report explains some of the processes followed in making my Malbec wine.

This season we have seen unusual climatic conditions. We have had more rainy and cloudy days and colder temperatures compared to previous years. Due to these conditions we have observed that the Malbec vines have easily obtained a desirable sugar concentration and ripeness, but have had a slightly slower ripeness of the polyphenols (tannins) and the berries are a bit larger due to the water content that results in less concentration.

Santiago Achaval and Pablo Martorell

Still, Pablo Martorell (winemaker, right in photo) is pleased with the quality of the grapes and believes we will have a very good year for Malbec. We expect wines with a better natural acidity. There is an incredible amount of heterogeneity across the vineyards this year, so we are working each Malbec tank differently in the winery depending on style and range desired.

On Tuesday, April 23 we hand-picked your Malbec grapes to make your Malbec in 15 kg bins, and after brought them to the winery for cluster and berry sorting. We then de-stemmed and placed the berries in a stainless-steel tank. We are currently performing a cold maceration in tank at 10 C | 50 F which will last between two to seven days. We are expecting to have many shorter cold maceration periods for the Malbec this year. The purpose of the cold soak is to increase the extraction of primary aromas and color. Bleeding – extraction of juice – will be done at about 10% of the total volume.

Aromas of Plums and Cherries

The color of the must is dark purple and your Malbec is already displaying nice aromas of plums and cherries. After the cold maceration is complete we will raise the temperature in the tank to 28 – 30 C | 80 – 86 F, which are slightly higher temperatures this year to make sure we don’t have any green aromas. We will inoculate with selected yeasts to start the fermentation. During this time the sugar from the grapes is converted to alcohol. Throughout the alcoholic fermentation process the wine cap is closely managed by doing punch downs / pump overs in your tank up to six times per day.

Ferementing wine being pumped over

Managing the wine cap (skin and seeds forming a cap in the tank) helps us obtain the best varietal expression. Because of the characteristics of the Malbec this year, we will perform most punch downs / pump overs at the beginning of the fermentation, and reduce the intensity of this activity by the end of the fermentation.

 

As soon as the alcoholic fermentation is complete and the wine is dry (without sugar), a short post-fermentative maceration will be carried out before the wine is pressed. By leaving the skins in contact with the wine we can obtain a better color stability and tannin structure as well as improve the concentration of the wine. This maceration will last only two – three days to prevent the extraction of green tannins.

After these three processes are complete we will press the wine using a small hydraulic press, enabling a gentle extraction of skin and seeds and put the wine into oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation will happen in the barrel, lasting from 20 to 40 days. During the barrel aging process, we will perform monthly tastings to assure the wine is evolving well and we will perform batonage – stirring of the lees inside the barrel – to obtain a better mouthfeel and body. This is a year that the barrel work will be essential to obtain a better mid-palate and boldness in the wine.

Source: Vines of Mendoza

Harvest 2010 – Stories from Mendoza

March 20, 2010 Vineyard No Comments
Harvest 2010 – Stories from Mendoza

As I sit in the domestic airport in Buenos Aires I am filled with anticipation to see the ripe grapes on the vines travel from the field to the fermentation tanks. Delayed over three hours due to LAN Argentina – a very common occurrence here – I’ll arrive a mere 35 hours hours after I left Boston. But enough of the whining. It is harvest time and I’ll be posting stories and pictures from the vineyard and celebratory parties with my friends arriving from the U.S. and U.K.

Below is a short video of pictures taken by Vines of Mendoza CEO Michael Evans. It is grea to see the winery built, christened, and then in operation for the first time. Congratulations Michael, Pablo, and Santiago!!

Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Chaiken Vineyards

Harvest 2010 at Chaiken Vineyards from Barry Chaiken on Vimeo.

Harvest Anticipated on March 22nd

February 27, 2010 Vineyard No Comments
Harvest Anticipated on March 22nd

Harvest began last week for the white wine grapes in surrounding vineyards. Evaluation of Brix levels and anticipated weather patterns predict that harvest of the red wine grapes should start on or about March 22nd, just in time for me to be down in Mendoza.

The accompaning picture of the grape vines show their healthy state. According to Michale Evans, CEO and Chief Photography Officer at the Vines of Mendoza, the vineayrds are looking grand and anticipation is high for a quality harvest.

 

 

Harvest is just 4 weeks away....

Harvest is just 4 weeks away....

Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Chaiken Vineyards

Pan-Mass Challenge 2009

August 3, 2009 Vineyard No Comments
Pan-Mass Challenge 2009

I just completed my 2 day Pan-Mass Challenge, a 193 mile ride that raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Jimmy Fund) here in Boston. It is the single largest athletic fund-raising event in the world, raising more than $250 million dollars over the past 30 years. Below is my letter to my friends and colleagues. Please consider supporting me in this effort to eliminate cancer at www.pmc.chaiken.com (UPDATE: Link to PMC Photos 2009.)

Dear Friends,

Carol’s gone. Just like Eddie, she could not beat the disease away. She was courageous until the end. She spent her last days in her home in Texas with many of her close friends visiting the weeks before she died. Everyone had a chance to say goodbye.

It’s been 25 years since my dad succumbed to cancer. He was brave too, never showing fear. A year after his death, in 1985, I rode my first PMC. The August 1-2 PMC is my 25th ride and one I am looking forward to as much as any of them. The PMC is my opportunity to engage in the fight against cancer while honoring my dad. I sure wish he was here to watch.

Over these years, I rode for friends, colleagues, and people I did not know. I hoped to offer them hope and comfort through my connection to the wonderful PMC family. Perhaps the knowledge that over 6,000 riders and volunteers really cared provided them with a bit of help as they went through one more day fighting cancer. This fight will forever be personal. It has touched my family too hard to ever be forgotten.

Thank you for being part of my PMC family and supporting me now and in years past. Without you, this ride is just 193 miles long. With you, it is a crusade, that we are winning, against a disease that hurts too many of us. Please consider boldly investing in the miracles that are unfolding today. Every single dollar (100%) of your PMC donation fights cancer. We raised more than $35,000,000 last year. I think we can do better. Times may be tough for us, but times are tougher for those who are fighting cancer. I need you, and those looking for hope need you.

See you on the road.

Barry Chaiken
Proprietor

March Visit to Valle de Uco

July 29, 2009 Vineyard No Comments
March Visit to Valle de Uco

This past March I got to visit my vineyard in Argentina and what a change in just one year. The vines, which a year ago were sticks in the ground with a few leaves, were now 1 meter high plants, some with grapes hanging from them. Usually young plants take 3 years to produce fruit, but I was lucky to have my plants produce fruit during the second year. Although yield was extremely low, this is a good sign that the vines are thriving in the vineyard.

Chaiken Vineyards and its several neighbors decided at the last minute to harvest our fruit as a local winery was very interested in purchasing our premium grapes. This generated enough money to pay for the grape picking. We then kept back enough grapes for us to produce a few cases for ourselves. I expect my 5 cases of wine late in 2010. 

Reports from the vineyard indicate that all is going as planned. The first planting had a success rate of over 92%. Replanting of vines that did not take root brought the vineyard vine success rate to over 99%, an exellent numebr for a new vineyard. Very encouraging.

During my visit I used my pocket still camera to video a walk through the vineyard. Just click on the image below to see video.

Cheers.

Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Chaiken Vineyards

Generaciones 2007 Expected in September

July 28, 2009 Vineyard No Comments
Generaciones 2007 Expected in September

The Chaiken Vineyards 2007 Generaciones is expected to arrive on the East coast by the end of September. The wine was produced as part of a wine demonstration project started in 2007 at our vineyard. It gave us an opprotunity to create, package, and deliver wine in anticipation of our first vintage in 2010.

Although the wine was not produced from grapes grown at Chaiken Vineyards, it is an expression of our goal for our premium reserva wine, Gneraciones. I personally blended the wine to produce a high quality, long-lasting wine that marries well with food while being approachable on its own.

The wine is made from 50% malbec grapes (Valle de Uco, 1060 M), 23% merlot (Valle de Uco, 1170 M), 15% petit verdot (Lujan de Cuyo, 1050 M), and 12% cabernet sauvignon (Valle de Uco, 1170 M).  Maceration was for 28 days at 28°C. The wine was in barrel for 14 months with 50% new French oak and 50% first use oak.

Production is 300 bottles.

Harvest Visit 2010

July 28, 2009 Vineyard No Comments
Harvest Visit 2010

After extended discussions with vineyard and travel experts here in Mendoza, the Harvest 2010 visit to Chaiken Vineyards in Mendoza is set for the two weeks, March 20 through April 4, 2010. These dates increase the probabalility of visitors seeing the actual harvest in the vineyard, while offering you an opprotunity to meet with the Chaiken Vineyards staff and consultants.

Please register to be part of wine club.

The two week period is set to allow you the greatest flexibility for your visit.  We’ve already begun discussions with a concierge company who can help you arrange wine tours, cooking classes, rafting, fly fishing, rock climbing, asado, hiking, tango lessons, and of course great lunches and dinners. Over the next few months we’ll put together more details and share them with you. You can then contact the concierage company who can organize your visit.

If there are specific questions you have, please send them to us. We can advise you on the best way to get to Mendoza as well as other parts of Argentina you might want to visit (e.g., Patagonia).

We can also suggest accomodation options ranging from the Hotel Villaggio ( a boutique hotel where we stay) to the 5-star Mendoza Park Hyatt.

We are very much looking forward to sharing this adventure with you all.

We Have Labels!

July 28, 2009 Vineyard No Comments
We Have Labels!

The Chaiken Vineyards label design is complete!! My great friends at J Sherman Studio LLC and the Vines of Mendoza helped produce a final design that I am quite happy with.

The design incorporates a colorful icon depicting the Andes and the many poplar tress theat grace the Valle de Uco. The colors used in the icon will indicate the grape varietal used to make the wine in each bottle. In addition, the grape varietal name will appear aside the vinage year.

OF the 5 acres planted, 2 are malbec,  and 1 acre each of cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and cabernet franc. My reserva wine, Generaciones, will be blended from these varietals to produce a food friendly wine expressive of the terroir of Chaiken Vineyards