Notes from Iridesse Wines

The Buzz from Patrick & Genevieve

Archive for August, 2007

A Good Friend Passes

Posted by Genevieve Rodgers-Llerena on August 29, 2007

FeliceIt is with great sadness that I sit down to write today. In reality, I’ve been putting it off for a few weeks. I was kinda hopin’ that someone would do it for me…which is hard when your company is composed of exactly 2 people. So it falls to me to share the bad news: Felice has passed away. There, I’ve said it. It’s ok to tear-up, I am.

For those of you who did not know her, Felice was our Black Lab – well actually a Labrador/Weimaraner mix (3/4 Lab – 1/4 Weimer to be exact). She was an exceptional dog with a great disposition, a love of balls, sticks (really anything that could be thrown by a human), a great swimmer (as long as the water was not clean), and a cookie fiend.

I got Felice when I first moved to Healdsburg in 1997 and was living on my parents property that would become Chateau Felice Winery. I like to think that the the winery was named for her, but it was, in fact, coincidental. Even after she and I moved to town she came with me to work every day. If you’ve ever been to Chateau Felice you’ve probably met Felice; she came to most of the events. The Harvest was Felice’s favorite time of year. She waited anxiously for the grapes to come in so she could eat the berries that fell on the ground, then sleep the rest of the day away in a sugar-induced coma. After an afternoon dip in a smelly, algae filled lake, her day would be complete.

Felice lost her battle to cancer on August 9th. Last December, she had surgery to remove a tumor that was interfering with her digestion, basically not allowing her to eat. The surgery went well. We hoped the worse was over. Maybe she would be cancer free. Maybe she would live for many more years. But, it was not to be. Last month she got dramatically worse and we knew the tumor was back. It was a tearful and difficult goodbye.

We’re still getting used to her not being here. It’s odd to come home and not have a happy dog waiting for me. Or to get in the car and not have to open the hatch for her to jump in. Our 4 year-old keeps trying to buy her cookies at our local coffee spot. (The Flying Goat makes their own dog cookies.) And I have to remind her that Felice has died. It sorta freaks out the person behind the counter. Patrick is plotting the next dog, Malia wants a rabbit. But, I think it’s going to be a little while. For now I think we’ll just remember her fondly.

A special thank you to the folks at Winery Dogs for giving us the photos from their book of our use. You can find Felice on pages 29 & 29 in Winery Dogs of Sonoma.

Posted in From the Heart | 4 Comments »

Not a Fading Rose!

Posted by oenophilus on August 21, 2007

(Pronounce it roh-ZAY as I can’t figure out how to make an accent mark!)

Summer weather feels like it will be here for another couple of months here in Healdsburg. Nonetheless, here we are mid-August and while grapes are coming in, kids are off to school. Most importantly, our 4 1/2 year-old daughter, Malia started Kindergarten this week. Eeeek! Oy the drama! Not hers…Ours! I know I’ll get over the separation anxiety and enjoy the pride soon enough. What a great excuse to drink some more of the 2003 Iridesse Zinfandel Rose!

Why 2003??? Isn’t that too old for a fresh, young rose? This isn’t just some summertime, bubblegum wine cooler. As with many Iridesse wines, we used extended aging to allow the wine to develop and come into a new, multi-faceted flavor profile…Iridescence. Yes, this is cool, crisp and refreshing. But don’t even think about dismissing this wine as “just a rose”.

There are different ways to make what people categorically call Rose. Some take their grapes,crush and press them and make a white or pale pink wine, adding back a grape juice concentrate to give color and sweetness. Others will blend finished white wines and finished red wines to make a blend whose color is light. We have chosen to use a classic technique that the French call Saignee, where the crushed fruit macerated for a while before some juice is bled off to darken the red wine. That which is drawn off has the depth of color and compexity of flavor that we find most desirable.

The Iridesse 2003 Zinfandel Rose was gently pressed from naturally high-acid fruit, grown on a steep hillside on the edge of the Russian River Valley. After a longer than usual cold soak to extract more color and structure from the dark purple-black skins, the drawn-off juice fermented with a specially selected yeast from Champagne that allowed us to control is with very cold temperatures. The wine then settled in tank for over a year before being bottled and cellared for another three years!

While it is a fantastic aperitif, the recently released Iridesse 2003 Zinfandel Rose is a knockout with any number of food pairings. Try it with seared tuna, any pasta Arrabiatta, a salad tossed with vinaigrette, even some BBQ ribs. It’s fantastic with my Hawai’ian Ahi Poki! Check out the recipes section for my world-famous recipe. Is anyone else lucky enough to have a Big Green Egg? What’s that? You don’t know about the Big Green Egg? Oh don’t worry. You’ll regularly hear me waxing poetically about the virtues of the MOST amazing grill/oven/smoker that changed my life. Well, my outdoor cooking life, anyway. But, more of that later…

Posted in Our Wines, Rose | 4 Comments »