Newsletter Vol. 2 No. 3

  November 2010      

2010 Crush
In 2010 we crushed 9 Tons of fruit (Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, and Sangiovese), which will likely produce 420 cases of wine. All 100% Colorado Grown. Based upon what is currently in tank we are quite excited about the potential of the 2010 vintage. The Chardonnay and Riesling are approaching the end of fermentation. The red wines are, or soon will be, done fermenting as well. When red wines ferment the skins are pushed to the surface of the tank and we 'punch down' this 'cap' several times a day. It's a physically intensive process but one of extreme importance in controlling the sensory attributes of the finished wine. With the final punch downs in sight, at long last our days are returning to normal.

Two significant challenges of growing Vinifera Grapevines in Colorado are spring frosts and winter freezes. Several extremely low temperatures in December killed many grapevines' buds, the source of the fruit. A large portion of Colorado's Grand Valley AVA was declared a USDA Disaster Area due to the significant loss of fruit. Fortunately for those growers who lost their 2010 harvest most of Colorado's grapevines are own rooted which means we are not yet forced to graft a 'Syrah' grapevine, or scion, on a more resistant rootstock (often to protect from Phylloxera). As a result the vines which come up from the ground this year are 'Syrah' and have a fully developed root system. The vines will need to be retrained to the trellis and then will be ready to forge ahead in 2011. We have been very fortunate and have some great growers with vines in good locations where grapevine buds survived the cold. Hats off to those who grow our Colorado Grapes!

We'd like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our 2010 Crush Crew. Throughout the fall harvest 123 folks showed up to help us create something special. Not only do we believe that 2010 Crush Crewhand-sorting the fruit is a necessary starting point for exquisite wines we feel extraordinarily fortunate to be able to bring together such a wonderful group of people. If the finished wine isn't enough to reassure us this is the right thing to do, the feedback from volunteers who told us they had a wonderful time, met new friends, and shared great conversations that day is. To the 2010 Crush Crew, thank you and we look forward to seeing you at our Friends & Family Party next spring.

Want to be a member of our Friends & Family club? It's easy, simply sign-up today for the Crush Crew. When you receive the invitation for a volunteer day at the winery, RSVP, spend a morning or afternoon sipping wine while sorting grapes, pressing must, or bottling wine and you're in. Folks who participate in one of these volunteer work days become members of our Friends and Family Club. Register for a website account and then choose the Dashboard from your user account to add the Crush Crew to your groups.


Tasting Room
If you're near downtown Boulder, stop by our tasting room just 1/2 block North of Pearl Street Mall inside Oliv You & Me. You can find our current tasting room hours here. At present, we are open Fridays from 4-6pm and Saturdays 4-6:30pm. Outside of Boulder we ship to CO, CA, ND, and OR.

Barrel Fermentation 2010 Chardonnay

Yeast are the micro-organisms responsible for turning grapes into wine. In addition to producing alcohol, different strains also affect tannins, color, and produce esters, acids, along with carbonyl and sulfur compounds. There are both positive and negative sensory compounds produced and many are below our sensory thresholds but can still cause other reactions or enhance other sensory attributes. Even once inactive yeast can play a role in the sensory attributes of wine.

2010 Chardonnay Fermentation

Yeast are particularly sensitive to temperature: too cold and they won't ferment, too hot and they can produce off flavors, off aromas, and develop fusel alcohols (higher alcohols responsible for severe hangovers). We closely monitor the temperatures of our fermentations and even have configured our tanks to contact our cell phones if temperature are potentially tending off course; excuse me for one moment, the yeast are calling.

We've really enjoyed joining 63rd Street Farm in their inaugural CSA season. Not only are we stocked up on winter squash, we've met some great folks, and have really enjoyed the Thursday share pick-up, live music, and wood fired pizza throughout the season. We still have a few bottles of our über local dry red wine, 80304, which is grown in our tiny North Boulder backyard. Sign up for a dozzina (12 bottles) share (which will qualify for free Bicycle Delivery in most of Boulder) and while supplies last we'll continue to offer the 2010 share. Last we checked 63rd Street Farm still has CSA shares available for 2011, we'd love to see you at the farm next season.

Pairing Suggestions
It only seems fitting that we provide a pairing suitable for the upcoming fall celebrations. The following was inspired by Micol Negrin's "The Italian Grill" and when prepared with Mountain Gorgonzola happens to be one of our favorite pairings for our Dry Riesling. The Mountain Gorgonzola comes from the Lombardy region in the north central part of Italy and has a spicy earthy flavor that is also lovely when served alongside pears. You'll want to plan ahead, as the polenta will require some time to cool but the dish itself is easy to make and makes a great side dish. Wine pairing suggestion: our 2009 Riesling.

2009 Settembre Cellars Riesling & Grilled Polenta
Grilled Polenta with Mountain Gorgonzola
  • 2 Cups Coarse Italian Polenta
  • 1 Tbls Salt
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • 4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 Pound Mountain Gorgonzola

We use the polenta recipe from Julia della Croce's "The Vegetarian Table Italy". Bring 7 cups of water to a boil in a large deep pot. Add the salt and then very slowly add the polenta while stirring. Set the heat to medium so the polenta continues to boil. Once you've added the polenta, you're committed for the next 25-30 minutes: continue stirring with a long handled wooden spoon in the same direction. Continue to stir constantly until the polenta is thick and pulls away easily from the sides of the pot. If the polenta is thick but doesn't pull away from the sides of the pot add a touch more water. The next step is to transfer the polenta to a baking pan, bread pan, or similar dish. Oil the dish and spread the polenta 1 to 2 inches thick in the dish. Set aside and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes. Once the polenta has cooled, cut it into the shape of your choosing. We often use triangles, as pictured, or 1" x 1" x 6" rectangles. Brush the surface of the polenta with olive oil and grill over medium heat. You may also cook the polenta indoors on a griddle if you prefer. The outside of the polenta should become golden and 'crisp'. When the polenta is finished on all sides, reduce the heat, sprinkle the top side with Mountain Gorgonzola and allow the cheese to melt. Top with fresh ground black pepper to taste. At this point the polenta makes an excellent side dish; if you prefer to use as a main dish consider serving upon a bed of cooked spinach. Buon Appetito!

Several of our wines have taken notice since our last newsletter. In a tasting between Virginia and Colorado wines (two states producing some wonderful but yet to be widely noticed wines) our 2009 Chardonnay took top honors in the Oaked Chardonnay flight for its "complexity" and "precision balance of oak and fruit". The 2009 Chardonnay also medalled in the Governor's "Celebration of Premier Colorado Wines" as did our 2008 Syrah. Our 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon was recently reviewed at the Colorado Wine Press with high ratings and thoughtful tasting notes "smooth yet long finish reminiscent of an old-world style Cabernet without the big jammy flavors of the ever more prevalent modern style". Our 2009 Riesling was also chosen as a participant in a Riesling tasting which included highly rated international contenders. It's a challenge to compare wines with a range of sweetness, but for those who can set-aside their sweet tooth, it's a pleasant change of pace. It's difficult to find a truly dry Riesling in the States; if you think all Rieslings are sweet, give ours a try, it's a perfect food wine for your upcoming fall celebrations. The rave review for our 2008 Sangiovese, our most limited production, has been reserved for the most important reviewers, our fans - and it's nearly sold out - get your bottle before the vintage is gone.

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Once again we hope you've enjoyed the latest edition of Settembre Cellars Newsletter. Enjoy the remaining days of fall, impending snowflakes, and we hope to see you at the tasting room soon!


Blake & Tracy