Do You Have to Know About Wine…to Enjoy Wine?

Black Cloud:

A nation rich in wine history and tradition – also a nation where most people don’t know much about their national drink. Does that limit their enjoyment?

Originally posted on SB's Wine Blog:

The results of a big study about wine were released today, with much chagrin…it seems they surveyed people in France regarding how much knowledge they actually had about wine. And – zut alors! – over 60% didn’t know very much at all! The French were devastated by the news!

But after my chuckle, I thought…hold on…does it really matter how much you know about wine? Can’t you just enjoy it?

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized the answer was…you don’t need to know anything at all. Just what you like!

I mean, let’s think about it for a minute. Why does it matter?

“Enjoyment” doesn’t require knowledge…except of whether you are actually enjoying something or not, and that is an emotion.

Is it Cabernet or Merlot? Is it tannic or not? Will it age? Is it a Grand Cru or VQA? Really…who cares if you…

View original 196 more words

IMG_20140519_114847

A trip to a French barrel factory

We seldom get a chance to see where some of the things we use on a daily basis come from.  So as a winemaker, I was thrilled to visit Dargaud & Jaegle in Romaneche Thorins, France this spring as a guest of Eric Fourthon and directorJean-Marcel Jaegle to tour the amazing facility that builds some of the best wine barrels in the world.
Eric spent a few years in the Okanagan Valley working at a local barrel maker.When he returned to France, he left an open invitation to look him up. So we did.
After a brief welcome from Mr. Jaegle, we started our tour.
At one time, before plastic and cheap steel and other modern materials, goods moved in barrels or casks made of wood.  Whether it was nails, biscuits or mackerel; when it had to ship a crate or a barrel was the only way to go.

These days, your new sneakers don’t come packed in barrels but beverage producers still make use of this ancient packaging custom to enhance their product.

If you drink a little wine now and then, especially red wines, you may know that many wines spend a period of their development in barrels made of wood, for the most part, oak.  The barrels impart flavour and allow the wines to grow more intense over time due to evaporation and transpiration.
In my role in the cellar, I’ve been treated to endless glossy images and dazzling videos of the barrel making process.  But until you actually visit, it’s difficult to appreciate the artistry and dedication to quality that occurs at every step of the barrel’s creation.
IMG_20140519_110652

Oak from selected forests is stored in the yard where it ages over a set period, often for two years or more.

 

 

 

IMG_20140519_111240

Strict rules are in effect for the oak yard. Spacing and height are regulated. One person’s stacks of valuable oak are another’s fuel for a damaging fire.

IMG_20140519_113323

At every step, care and attention is paid to spotting defects in the oak. Here the rough cut staves are inspected for flaws.

IMG_20140519_114329

Each piece of wood and each barrel can be traced back to the yard stack it came from, and from there, the forest it was cut from. At this point the staves are still straight and are ready to be bent into their familiar shape.

IMG_20140519_114508

The barrels are placed in extremely hot water for a set time period and then sent directly to the machine that pulls them into shape.

IMG_20140519_114529

The still steaming barrel has a steel cable placed around it and the wood is pulled into shape. Temporary bands are at hand to be placed over the newly shaped barrel when the procedure is complete.

IMG_20140519_114847

Newly assembled barrels get more attention while they wait to have the ends formed for the addition of the heads.

IMG_20140519_115921

Barrels heads are assembled on this table before their circular shape is cut.

IMG_20140519_120901

At the end of the process, barrels are wrapped and identified with the name of the purchaser for shipping. On the day we were there, a number of these barrels were destined for Stryker Vineyards in California.

Black Cloud Pinot finds a new home: Winemaker Bradley Cooper brings micro-winery to Serendipity

For immediate release, July 23/2014

 

Suggested tweet: Unmatched Black Cloud #pinotnoir from @blackcloudwine moves to @winespiration with winemaker @bradinator. #bcwine

 

PENTICTON, BC: Okanagan winemaker Bradley Cooper is making a move down the Naramata bench, and bringing his unmatched Pinot Noir, Black Cloud, to a new spot.

After nine vintages with Township 7, Cooper will soon join Serendipity Winery to enhance its portfolio of award-winning BC wines, and production of Black Cloud will move with him. “We started Black Cloud six years ago with less than 500 cases, and our Pinot will continue to be a small production,” says Cooper. “We’re excited to keep it in Naramata and I am looking forward to having a new home for our Pinot at Serendipity.”

The 2008, 2009, and 2010 vintages of Black Cloud’s Altostratus, a new world style elegant Pinot Noir, are available through the Cloudy Day (www.blackcloud.ca) wine club, along with the 2012 Fleuvage, a light-bodied Pinot from an exceptional growing season. Two vintages of Red Sky, a lively rosé, are sold out.

Black Cloud is exclusively Pinot Noir, with grapes sourced entirely in the Okanagan. As Cooper joins Serendipity as its winemaker, Black Cloud will remain a private label, managed by himself and his partner Audralee Daum, with its production at Serendipity.

Cloudy Day Wine Club members will continue to have first access to Black Cloud releases, with limited bottles available elsewhere, including private wine stores and restaurants. As a small producer, Black Cloud joins a number of other smaller wineries and wine clubs at Garagiste North: Small Guys Wine Festival on September 14, a new event on the BC wine circuit, focussed on “garagiste” style wines, a phrase coined in France for small, risk-taking producers. “We’re proud to be all Pinot, and Black Cloud will always be a small lot,” says Cooper. “Serendipity is graciously supporting our label, and I look forward to future vintages as their winemaker.”

Cooper has spent the last decade producing critically-recognized BC wine, both reds and whites, at Township 7, and has provided winemaking expertise to Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lilllooet, The McWatters Collection , Time Estate Winery and Bonitas Winery in the Okanagan, among others. He began his winemaking career with Hawthorne Mountain, now See Ya Later Ranch, in the 1990s, and will continue to advise Township 7 through the upcoming harvest.

Black Cloud is currently renovating an administration space, set to open later this summer, in Penticton’s historic Cannery Trade Centre.

*** For more information:

Bradley Cooper, Winemaker/Partner

Black Cloud/Daum Cooper Winery Services Ltd.

250-490-7314

bradley@blackcloud.ca

www.blackcloud.ca

 

blackcloudpinotnoir.com

Allison Markin All She Wrote Consulting

250-488-8274

ask@allshewrote.ca

Spring Release Tasting Event in Penticton

We’re bringing out all our new releases for a private tasting on May 2 and you’re invited.

Starting at 5 on that Friday we’ll be pouring the Pinot at CoWork Penticton.  On deck will be:

  • 2011 Altostratus
  • 2012 Fleuvage
  • 2013 RED SKY rosé

In addition, we’ll crack a few older vintages to check how they are evolving and enjoy some delicious food.  There’s an opportunity to win some great prizes as well.

There’s no charge for this event and we encourage you to bring a friend. Everyone in attendance will qualify for a 20% discount on their purchases. 

Please RSVP on our Facebook event page linked here.

Spring is here! Here’s the tasting events calendar…

We’re heading to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland of BC over the next couple weeks to debut our new RED SKY release.  The 2013 RED SKY rosé is the big news – a fresh and lively addition to your patio or festive table and, of course, 100% Pinot Noir.  We’ll also have our  Altostratus and Fleuvage on hand and you will have an opportunity to taste these 2010 vintages  just to see how each evolves in the bottle and to explore the vintage characteristics.IMG_20140226_174534

Friday April 4th –  

Sheraton Wall Centre Fine Spirits
1075 Hornby Street
Vancouver BC
604-893-7254
wine@wallcentre.com

4 to 7 pm

A new place for us.  Our first time pouring there!

Saturday, April 5

Value on Liquor

1450 SW Marine Drive

Vancouver, BC

3 to 7 pm

Sunday, April 6th

-  Broadway Wine Shop 

2752 West Broadway Vancouver BC

Canada  V6K 2G4

2 to 5 pm

We’re pleased to return to one of the finest shops in the city and one of the first merchants to support our fledgling enterprise many years ago.

Thursday,  April 10

Whatcom Wines and Spirits

100-1900 N. Parallel Rd.
Abbotsford, BC  V3G 2C6

t. 604.746.3455

4 – 6 pm

Looking forward to seeing our fans in the valley!

Friday, April 11

Mt. Lehman Liquor Store

3122 Mt. Lehman Road

Abbotsford, BC

604-853-6253

4 – 6 pm

Another new store now carrying Black Cloud.

Saturday, April 12

Big Ridge Liquor Store

103 – 15250

Highway #10, Surrey BC

604-575-2371

3-6 pm

Returning to the old home town for some Pinot Noir liquid love.

Sunday, April 13

Shark Club Liquor Store

20169 – 88th Avenue Langley, BC

2:30to 5:30 pm