Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009 WineMaker International Competition

The 2009 WineMaker Magazine Amateur International Compeition is upon us!

Last year Ancient Fire picked up 4 awards and shared one with our friend Vincent!

This year we are back with a few repeats and a couple of new things that have pleased the crowds to date!

2008 Strawberry
2008 Viognier
2008 Plum Dessert
2008 CF Ice Wine



Saturday, January 24, 2009


I'm sure quite a few of my friends can quote from the movie Sideways, but maybe not everyone. I'm not going to bother to explain the movie except by example of my current reality.

You see, I am in the midst of both a quest for great wines and to give my brother a fitting send-off to married life. The wines are hopefully the ones I am going to make this year, and for my brother we will have to wait and see. That story will never end the way it did in the movie. I am sure we will have some good laughs and a couple of mishaps along the way though.

What are you all drinking? What is something new and different you have tried for the first time? What surprised you in something new? What are the everyday wines you drink when you do? These are all questions I am pondering for the future of Ancient Fire Wines.

Last weekend Margot and I attended the New Hampshire Winery Association annual meeting. A social hour and dinner preceded the meeting and I have to say the wines and the food were excellent. Many of the wines were from local wineries that we hadn't tried yet and say great things for several young wineries. Some of my favorites were open and represent a raising of the bar for some of the operations that have been at it a bit longer. Make sure you seek out the local wines. Check the association web site for links to all of the wineries that are online.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Quote for the times

I said something today while tasting some new wines. The meaning wasn't lost then and it still isn't now.

"If the winemaker matters to the wine and the winemaker is an asshole, their wine might taste like shit!"

Once you know who makes a wine you may evaulate that wine differently.



Saturday, January 17, 2009

Aging and 2009 Update

I have been busy the last two weeks racking, tasting and testing the wines in progress. The reds are coming along very well with the Amarone likely to be the best of the year. Good fruit flavors and mellow oak in the early batches. The fall wines from fresh juice are doing very well but with less age they don't taste as complete as the others. The Traminer-Riesling blends are slowly making their way to the right clarity. I am pretty confident with the taste and structure and expect these will please dry to sweet Riesling drinkers.

Plans for 2009 are fast in motion. In the early spring I will set down a Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and a CDP style blend. All three will be using juice plus grape/fruit mass for initial fermentation. The reds will get a slight oak drop for the very early fermentation and then oak will not be used again as planned.

Entry into the WineMaker competition in the spring is assured, but unless I can find some other local amateur contests that might be it for the year. We have some solid new entries and some repeat entries that will be good competition.

Once we get on into the summer, Strawberry will be up again, hopefully we will make 2 batches this year. We will definitely do a big batch of plum and depending on the harvest this year something else of the fruit type might inspire me.

The bottling of the current batch of wines should be complete by this time, which frees up valuable equipment for the fall wines. In the fall I hope to build a Meritage style blend and white arrangement with a little oak.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wine and Food Pairing Tip: When the power is out, drink beer!

The NH Golden Plum Wine has been in the bottle and is drinking very well! We saw the following recipe mentioned in a holiday special with Sandra Lee. It is called a Sugar Plum Fairy.

1 part plum wine
1 part champagne or sparkling wine
splash of cranberry

The new Ancient Fire Wines URL is active. Thanks Tim!

All of the 2008 reds and the last two whites are still settling and aging. The last round of tasting and blending found good promise.