Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
Valentine’s Day is almost here, and what better way to celebrate than by acknowledging your special someone’s love language. I recently took the quiz and found out that my love language is wine. But then I was told that wine is not one of the 5 love languages, so I have no idea what quiz I took. Maybe it was the Myers-Briggs? Anyway, why not pair your love language with wine!
01. Words of Affirmation
“I love you, and you will love this wine.”
For this love language, you need a wine that has a lot to say. I suggest the 2019 Viognier. It has aromas and flavors that linger and whisper softly, “You are perfect. Go ahead, take another sip.” It’s smooth and full-bodied with an ever-changing finish that expresses itself with minerality and crisp citrus.
02. Quality Time
“Let’s spend some time together drinking this bottle of wine.”
Quality time is all about giving your full attention to the person you are with. Why not spend some of that quality time sharing a bottle of 2019 Sweet Riesling? Just the right amount of fun and relaxing, sweet but not too sweet. Complex enough to keep the conversation going, but not so overwhelming that you get distracted and forget that this is about your loved one and not the wine.
03. Acts of Service
“I opened this bottle of wine and poured it into your favorite glass.”
What wine not only loves you but shows you it loves you? Which wine is willing to do the work for you, to show you just how much it cares? That wine is the 2019 Merlot. You can always count on Merlot; it is a staple of the wine world and willing to do the extra work, so you don’t have to. 2019 is fruity and soft on the finish with just the right amount of cherry and vanilla flavors.
04. Physical Touch
“I may have a bottle of wine in one hand and glass in the other, but I can still give you a hug.”
Who needs physical touch from a loved one when you can let Shiraz Reserve give all your taste buds an embrace of flavor? Shiraz Reserve is not just an embrace for your tongue, it is a whole mouth experience. With perfectly balanced acid and tannins, this full-bodied wine caresses the pallet with a flavor that is so complex it shifts with every sip.
05. Receiving Gifts
“I got you a bottle of wine while I was running errands.”
Just a little something to show you care. Any bottle of Lost Oak wine speaks to this love language. Just the act of ordering online for delivery, curbside pickup, or stopping by and letting one of our friendly staff help pick something out is perfect for this love language.
Whatever the love language of you and your loved one, we have a wine we can pair it with. Cheers!
Winter is a bit of a slow time for the winemaker. The grapes have been harvested, the press has been cleaned and put away, and the wine has been made. That means my job is done, right? Well, it’s a little easier right now and not as frantic, but certainly not done. Right now, all the wines we made from the 2021 harvest are aging. Whites are aging in stainless steel tanks and reds are aging in oak barrels. But there is another process going on for the white wines: cold stabilization.
To explain this, we need to look at the grapes. All wine-making grapes have naturally occurring tartaric acid in them. Much like citric acid gives lemons and limes their tartness, tartaric acid gives the wine its own unique tartness. That tartness is desirable and important for balance in the finished wine. However, the wine can only hold so much tartaric acid, or tartrates, in suspension. If there is too much in the solution, it will start to precipitate out and form crystals. These crystals are affectionately referred to as wine diamonds. The cold stabilization process forces the wine to “give up” its excess tartrates. We do this by chilling the wine down to about 30°F for about 2-3 weeks. This causes the excess tartaric acid to solidify out of the solution. This process is mostly cosmetic for the wine, it does not change its flavor or aromas. If cold stabilization did not happen, or did not finish, you may find wine diamonds in the bottom of the bottle you just pulled out of the fridge. If you do not know what they are, you might think that there was something wrong with the wine. If you do find a bottle with some crystals in it, rest assured that it is safe to drink. The tartrates themselves do not taste like much but are a little gritty and not very pleasing texture-wise. Pour the bottle of wine slowly to avoid getting them in your glass or pour the wine through a strainer.
Wine diamonds can happen in both red and white wine, but we typically only cold stabilize the white wines. One of the biggest reasons is that white wines are ready to bottle sooner than red wine. Tartrates will precipitate out naturally over time. For a glass of red wine, this means that as they are aging in their barrels, they are releasing their wine diamonds and one year or so is usually plenty of time for tartrates to solidify. Another big reason is that white wines are served chilled, and chilling releases the tartaric acid crystals. A red wine that is never chilled may never have its excess tartaric acid precipitate out of solution.
Although winter is kind of a slow boring time in the cellar, it is the best time for cold stabilization. All this cold weather means that our tank chiller doesn’t have to work so hard to keep the wine at the right temperature. But it also means that I’m a lot colder while I work.
Spring and summer are where all the action is for grapevines but fall and winter are equally as important for the well-being of the vine, albeit a little boring at times. Like deciduous trees, grapevines lose their leaves in the fall, the sap travels primarily to the roots, and the vine goes dormant. Another way of looking at it is to say that the vine is sleeping.
During this time, the vine is not producing shoots, leaves, or grapes. Instead, it is saving up all its energy for the coming spring where it will once again burst forth with grapey goodness. But just because the vines are asleep doesn’t mean that grape growers can take a break. With all the leaves gone, winter is a great time to assess the health of the vines. It is easier to see cordons and shoots and how they grew during the spring and summer will influence how the grape grower will prune back for next year. Excess rain during the fall could mean that early application of fungicides is necessary. Another thing to look out for is those pesky freezes. Because the sap has moved to the roots, a fully dormant vine is fairly well protected from freezes and cold weather. At least it is in regions where the cold weather is more predictable.
One of the challenges of grape growing in Texas is the wonky weather. Because most parts of Texas rarely see temperatures below freezing for an extended period of time, the grapevines do not always go fully dormant. An advantage of this would be that the vine expends less of its energy stores “waking up” in the spring, thus having more energy to make good grapes. The disadvantage of this is that if Texas does have a snowpocalypse the sap that is left in the trunk and cordons could freeze. This freezing sap expands and damages the cellular structure of the vine. The damage could be minor, and the vine may be able to heal on its own or it could be catastrophic, and the vine could die. There is no rest for the grape grower, and we can not make great wine without happy healthy grapevines.
We have all been waiting patiently for this time of year, and it’s not because of the decorations, the parties, the presents, or even the impending arrival of Santa… It’s all about the Christmas movies! It doesn’t have to be Halloween to watch a scary movie or Valentine’s Day to watch a romantic movie, but Christmas movies are something special. Nothing solidifies the Christmas spirit like snuggling up under a warm blanket, toasty socks on, the twinkling of the lights on the tree in the background, and turning on a beloved Christmas movie. But the big question is not what movie you are going to watch but what are you going to drink while watching it? We have some great Christmas movie and wine pairings for your holiday enjoyment.
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Mulled Wine with Holiday 2019
Starting with one of the Classics, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just a kid trying desperately to find the Christmas spirit amongst commercialism and consumerism. Charlie Brown just can't seem to get it from aluminum trees to a dog who wins a Christmas decorating contest until the heartwarming ending. This needs a wine just as classic as it is. We suggest making a warm spiced wine recipe. Click here for our favorite recipe and use Lost Oak's Holiday 2019.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas- Rosa Blanca
Keeping with the classics, we’ll move on to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. There are a lot of different versions of this one, but the story is always the same: Green guy hates Christmas and steals it only to find out Christmas isn’t a thing you can steal. Much like Charlie Brown, it doesn’t get sweet and sappy till the end. In fact, the Grinch is so despicable you are going to need a sweet wine to balance out his sourness. We suggest Rosa Blanca 2019. The cheery, pink hue will keep the grinchyness from taking over before the delightful ending.
3. Elf- Viognier Reserve
On the opposite side of the Grinch, we have Elf. Buddy is a little too enthusiastic about Christmas… and he likes the sweets a little too much. Yes, like the others before, it has an amazingly heartwarming ending and everyone believes in the magic of Christmas, but there is a lot of candy-coated gooeyness to get through, so we suggest a dry white wine like our Viognier Reserve. The dry oakiness will balance out Buddy’s love for maple syrup on spaghetti noodles.
4. Home Alone - Any Wine!
Nothing epitomizes the craziness of the holidays like Home Alone. Parents’ worst nightmare-kids' dreams come true- until you find yourself fighting off “The Wet Bandits.” It's absolute ridiculousness and absurdity but such fun. Who didn’t want to be Kevin setting up all those traps and sneaking around? The wine pairing for this; any wine you want, but drink it out of a mug. You’re a kid left alone for the holidays! No one's watching, who needs the fancy glass?
5. Die Hard- Shiraz Reserve
We have a controversial Christmas movie up next: Die Hard. Hey, they can’t all be sticky with Christmas joy, sometimes they need explosions and for the bad guy to die… hard. All the haters should know that it happens on Christmas, so it is a Christmas movie. But what company has their Christmas party on Christmas? The best advice I have is don’t try and logic it, just enjoy the action and the delightful Christmas backdrop while sipping on Shiraz Reserve. A movie this bold and iconic deserves a wine to match it.
6. A Christmas Story- Mimosa with Texas Duet
What movie is famous for being played for TWENTY-FOUR HOURS on Christmas Day? A Christmas Story. Whether you sit down and watch it at least once all the way through or have it on for background noise and pop in and out of it, there is no denying its place at the top of the Christmas movie pantheon. The hilarity and heartwarming-ness of it don’t stem from the crazy antics, but how eerily accurate it is to an average family’s Christmas. Of course, we don’t all win a big award that turns out to be a leg lamp, but we can all relate to the way the Parker family reacts to everyday life. This is a marathon movie which means your wine choice needs to keep up, we suggest making a spritzer or mimosa with Texas Duet, so you can enjoy A Christmas Story allllll day.
Have your own pairing in mind? Pick from any of our wines to pair with your favorite Christmas movie!
It's turkey time at Lost Oak and we are here to answer that age-old question; What wine should I pair with Thanksgiving dinner?
Don’t worry, our resident wine nerd, Angela, has you covered. We have four wines that will pair perfectly with everything on your Thanksgiving table but to also please everyone sitting at the table.
1. Holiday Red 2019
First up we have our yearly Holiday release! A versatile dry red that is more on the fruity side. Rich with flavors of ripe berries it will compliment everything from turkey to mashed potatoes and everything in between.
But if you have friends or family that are looking for something a little drier, we have the Montepulciano. Its character is a little more spicy with rich tannins making it the perfect compliment to ham and some of your creamy side dishes.
For the white drinkers in your life, we have our Gewurztraminer. A wonderfully, friendly wine reminiscent of figs and nectarines, this wine is the perfect starter to your evening. Have it with your appetizers or with you while you are cooking.
4. White Holiday
Last but not least is our White Holiday. This dessert wine needs no pairing, it is decadent and rich all on its own. However, no Thanksgiving is complete without pie, and this is just the wine you want while enjoying that slice of apple, pumpkin, or pecan pie!
Come into the tasting room to pick up all four wines together and ready to take to your Thanksgiving table.
Halloween is just around the corner and that means lots and lots of candy! But before you raid your kid's trick or treating haul, you might want to give some thought to what wines would pair with your candy selection. Here are some basics to keep in mind for wine and candy pairing. Chocolate and red wine were made for each other. Dryer red wine tends to go better with darker chocolates, but you’d be surprised how well it goes with milk chocolate too. White wines pair well with fruity candies, but they can also go with white chocolate. Here is a quick guide for some of the more common Halloween candies:
1. Quartet and Candy Corn
Love them or hate them, candy corn is here to stay. If you are not a candy corn enthusiast, perhaps try it with our Quartet wine. Quartet has flavors in droves and will bring out flavor nuances in the otherwise bland candy corn.
2. Tempranillo and Recee's Cup
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are always a favorite to sneak out of your kid's candy stash. Its tantalizing blend of chocolate and peanut butter makes it a great pairing for Tempranillo.
3. Sweet Riesling and Jolly Rancher
Jolly Ranchers are the quintessential fruity hard candy. The best way to enjoy this candy is to find your favorite flavor and plop it into a glass of Sweet Riesling! It will change the color of the wine as you drink and add its signature flavor to the wine.
4. Meritage and Snickers
Snickers is another candy that you just can’t have Halloween without. Most of us are so used to this candy staple that we forget that it is a unique combination of chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and nougat. That is a lot of flavors crammed into one glorious candy! It requires a wine of equal complexity, such as the Meritage. After all, it is a combination of 3 different wines.
Winemaking can be romantic and fun, but it’s also hard and dirty work. One of my favorite dirty jobs around the production barn is cap management. No, it’s not trying on different hats and posing for selfies with the barrels.
Let’s start with the cap and why it needs managing. The cap is a layer of grape skins and seeds that forms on the top of fermenting red wine. The yeast eats the sugars in the grape juice and produces CO₂. The CO₂ pushes the skins and seeds to the top of the fermenting juice and then you get a cap. We don’t want that cap to stay there, we want it all mixed up with the fermenting juice for better color, aroma, and flavor extraction.
There are different techniques we can use to get this cap all stirred up. The first is called a punch down. We use a tool to punch the cap back down and stir it all up. Large fermentation tanks are too big to use the punch down method, so we pump-over. This means we pump the fermenting juice from the bottom of the tank and spray it on top of the cap to mix it up.
The last method is delestage (rhymes with sell-best-lodge). This is like pump over except we pump the fermenting juice into a different tank, allowing the cap to fall all the way to the bottom. We let the cap settle and then pump the juice back on top of the cap. It is a messy job and it one that cannot be ignored; it must be done every day. As long as we have red wines fermenting, I’ll be here managing the caps… and taking the occasional selfie.
It’s hot out, and in Texas that means it is time for the grapes to come off the vine. We started harvesting on our property on July 24th! Now we are well into September and all the Lost Oak grapes are off the vines and being turned into wine.
So, how was the harvest? Going into spring the weather was cool and there were wonderful pop-up rains with no hail. The vines were bursting with buds and looking happy and healthy. But as the grapes matured the reality of “snowmageddon” started to set in. Turns out, it affected the vines a little more than we thought it was going to. Our yields were down… way down. No Blanc du Bois at all!
But it is not all doom and gloom. Our vines may not have produced what we wanted them to, but they survived, and we are sure that this will only make them stronger. We are also working closely with our growers in the High Plains, so we won’t be lacking for grapes around here. We may see less of some of our favorites this year, but it may also be a great opportunity to pick up some new favorites…wink-wink.
Every year the Lost Oak Team heads out to the High Plains to check in on our grape growers. This year was more educational than usual because we also had the opportunity to stop in Plains Texas for Newsom Grape Day, a free event held every year by Neal and Janice Newsom of Newsome Vineyards. Growers, winemakers, and anyone interested in Texas wine gather to hear experts address a topic that affects grapes and wine. This year’s topic was Soil! Dirt may not sound all that exciting, but it was truly fascinating how this plant necessity can have a BIG impact on the finished product. Most wine enthusiasts know that soil can add to the terroir characteristic of wine. It is one of the big reasons that a Merlot from Australia does not taste the same as a Merlot from California. But soil is more important to winemaking than just its terroir contributions. It is directly responsible for much of the vine’s ability to grow and sustain itself.
As a grower or potential grower, soil can be your best friend or worst enemy. We spent the day looking at presentations on soil mapping, soil compositions, soil striations, chemical compositions of soil, and topographical maps. We even went outside and looked in a freshly dug soil pit. So, why is dirt so important? Why spend a whole day discussing it and looking at it?
Grapevines are hardy and will grow just about anywhere, but just because grapes will grow just about anywhere does not mean that you will get the best grapes out of just any old piece of land. Topsoil that is too thin means the roots could hit bedrock and become stunted. Soil that does not drain well could mean too much water for the vines. Soil with too much drainage means a grower may have to use more water than expected. Nutrient-deficient soil could mean that the vines struggle to produce fruit. Soil with uneven nutrients may result in a vineyard that does not produce an even crop yield. Soil with certain chemical compounds can result in grapes with higher or lower than expected pH.
Following the topography and soil maps can also help a potential grower map out the design of their vineyard more efficiently. This soil and topographic information can identify how to break up a vineyard into blocks for optimal production and ease of use of the land. Topographical maps can even help identify areas that may be more affected by freezes.
One thing is for sure: grape growing is not for the impulsive! It takes immense amounts of planning, managing, and maintenance.
Thank you to everyone at Newsom Grape Day for having us and cheers to all our growers. Their hard work makes it possible for us to provide you with excellent wine!
February is almost here, the time of year our thoughts turn to romance and love for one special day. But is that one special day just for couples? I think now. Valentine's Day can be for you sweetheart, your best gal pals, or just for you. And what better way to celebrate than with wine and chocolate? Here are some guidelines to help you prepare the perfect wine and chocolate experience.
You cannot go wrong with milk chocolate and a sweet red. Lost Oak's Dolce Rouge has a velvety texture, full body, and delicate sweetness that will meld with the rich and creamy milk chocolate. For a bolder experience, pair dark chocolate with full bodied dry reds. Dark chocolate and dry red wines have tannins in common making them a match made in heaven. We suggest making the experience extravagant with our Shiraz Reserve or Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. You should probably splurge on the chocolate too and try something that is 60% or more cocoa. When pairing chocolates that have additives like fruit or nuts, look for wines with similar flavor profiles. Crimson Oak and chocolate covered cherries would hit the spot. Maybe fancy chocolate just isn't your thing. What about the classic peanut butter cup? Reach for a more fruit forward wine like our Petite Sirah. It may seem like wine and chocolate pairing is only for the red wine drinkers, but this is not true. White wines can complelement many different types of chocolates, the most obvious being white chocolate. White chocolate tends to be more creamy and sweeter than even milk chocolate, so our Sweet Duet would pair perfectly. Dryer whites, like Quartet or Viognier, pair well with chocolates that have caramel or toffee.
But maybe the best pairing advice would be to grab your favorite bottle of wine and an assortment of chocolates and try them all! Wine and food pairing is about exploration and finding what you, your sweetheart, or your gal pals like best.