A taste of things to come for wineries

In what could be an inflection point in the wine industry, Hogue Cellars, the fourth largest winery in the state of Washington, announced that, as a result of groundbreaking research, they are capping 100 percent of their bottles to screw cap closures.
It took Hogue Cellars about five years’ worth of research to arrive at the decision that screw caps were the ideal closure for preserving and aging wines.
I have long felt that screw caps have a place in the wine world. You cannot beat the convenience in eliminating the corkscrew opener. In the research, screw cap closures were proven to hold fruit flavors and aromas without reducing the character of the wines.
Sure, corks will always be a part of the ritual of opening a powerful and expensive wine in a five star restaurant.  There is something to getting your money’s worth in this condescending approach to the pampering of the wine experience. 
But in this Hogue Cellars study, which is the most extensive one ever, the right type of screw cap closure allows better preservation and quality compared to natural cork closures, due to a controlled ratio of oxygen to come into contact with the wine.
Over 3,200 samples were tested over five years.  In blind samplings, the screw cap closure had the best taste consistency.
“It all comes down to quality,” said Hogue Director of Winemaking Coman Dinn.  “We want customers to know that when they purchase a bottle of Hogue Cellars wine, whether it’s to enjoy that night or in five years, the wine in the bottle will be fresh because it has been sealed in the best closure currently on the market.”
Try the Hogue Cellars 2008 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with a dash of Merlot, Lemberger and Syrah, for an example of a beautifully crafted complex red ($11) with the newest generation of a screw cap closure. Visit hoguecellars.com.
“La Familia” wines of Napa Valley
The roots of the wine world can be truly traced to husband and wife, father and son or daughter and generally can be said to be Italian in origin, in the sweeping fields of Napa and Sonoma.
In the story of Carolyn Lawrence of Leo Joseph Wines, going back to 2002, it was four generations of women learning as they went; from Carolyn’s 100-plus-year-old mother, her daughter to her granddaughter.  At the family home in St. Helena, they had planted nearly an acre of vines around the family home and began producing wines starting with the 2005 vintage.  The vineyard yields 3 1/2 tons of Cabernet and almost a half-ton of Cab Franc.
For more on the wines and how to purchase, access leojosephwines.com.

Wine Bytes
— Laguna  Canyon Winery’s next monthly tasting is Aug. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m.  For $35 each, select from 15 different wines including Brut Champagne.  Appetizers include assorted cheeses and grapes.  RSVP at (949) 715-1621.
— Tesoro Winery in Temecula has the Valley Winds Swing Band Aug. 5 and Aug. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. just outside the tasting room in Old Town.  Free admission.  Call (951) 308-0000.
— The San Diego Wine Country Festival is Aug. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo.  Nearly 20 wineries in San Diego County are pouring.  Education booths to learn how to make wine, music and food add to the festivities.  $20 admission.  Food extra. Call (858) 487-1866, ext. 115 for more.
— The Venetian Masquerade is coming to Little Italy in San Diego Aug. 13, from 6 to 10 p.m. in Amici Park .  Dress in costume.  Italian music, food, dance and art and silent auction.  $100 per person.  Tickets are available at ferragostosd.org.
— Schlossadler International Wines in Oceanside has its annual Warehouse Tasting Aug. 13 from 2 to 5 p.m.  Open to the public for $15. Buy a bottle and get your admission applied to the wine.  Music, food, wines from around the world.  Call 1- (800) 371-9463.

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