Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
Our very own Angela Chapman - Lost Oak's Wine Eduactaor and Operations Manager - is proudly a WSET level three!
And she's excited for WSET's 50th anniversary and the launch of the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9–15 September 2019.
2019 marks 50 years since the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) was founded to provide wine and spirits education to the industry.
Now the world’s largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications for both professionals and enthusiasts, WSET will be celebrating this landmark anniversary with a full schedule of activity throughout the year looking back, and forward, at the integral role education plays in the wine and spirits trade.
WSET, the largest global provider of wine qualifications, is launching the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9–15 September 2019.
Part of WSET’s 50th anniversary campaign, Wine Education Week aims to engage with the growing population of wine consumers worldwide, encouraging them to learn more about wine.
Wine Education Week will be supported by a global network of brand ambassadors including Olly Smith in the UK; Terry Xu in China; Alyssa Vitrano (grapefriend), Kelly Mitchell (The Wine Siren) and Chelsie Petras (Chel Loves Wine) in the USA. The campaign will kick off on Monday 9th September with food and wine pairing launch events across the world at 6pm local time in 24 countries. Starting with Auckland, New Zealand and ending with California, USA, WSET is aiming for a continuous 24-hour global food and wine tasting session.
Harvest time for Texas vineyards begins in late July and goes through August and sometimes even early September. It is the busiest time of the year: there are vine canopies to manage, grape cluster health to monitor, sugar levels to test, watering schedules to scrutinize over, and then…. there are the critters.
Let’s face it, grapes are delicious, and we are not the only ones who think so. Some of these critters are easier to keep out than others. For example, you may have seen vines with netting on them.
Those nets are very effective at keeping out birds, raccoons, opossums, and even deer.
But what about the smaller critters like moths, caterpillars, leaf hoppers, and the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter?
Sometimes a good defense is a good offence. Creating a vineyard that has a healthy ecosystem that is made up of natural predators like spiders and lizards can keep the number of the pest at bay.
Likewise, a hawk, falcon, or even an owl can be a welcome visitor to the vineyard.
They keep the population of mice, rabbits, prairie dogs, and moles at bay, ensuring that these burrowing pests don’t affect the roots of the vines.
Certain snakes like bull snakes, king snakes, or rat snakes can also be helpful in the same way.
Many vineyards also employ domesticated critters such as cats, sheep, alpacas, and chickens to help maintain the health of their vines. They can clear away unwanted pests as well as unwanted grass and weed growth all the while fertilizing the vines.
As of right now, Lost Oak is not hiring animalia staff to help with the vines. But, who knows, helpful critters are becoming more and more intrinsic to vineyard life.
When I stumbled upon this article it brought a smile to my face, because I share the sentiment wholeheartedly! Wine, beer and spirits… they are about the people you are around and the stories you share while you are enjoying it. Let's face it, it's just not as interesting to go to an artisanal water bar. Cheers Dr. Vinny!
Much like with sports, I don’t understand why people are so fascinated/obsessed with wine, and I can get turned off by fanatics. But I want to be able to celebrate and enjoy wine with others. What am I missing?
—Jake, Lith, Ill.
I think you could ask 100 wine lovers about their fascination and get 100 different explanations. But it’s my job to sit around and think about wine all day, so let me take a stab at this.
I think that wine is essentially about stories. There’s the story of how it tastes, determined by everything from what kind of grapes it’s made from to the conditions of harvest to all the many winemaking decisions that have gone into that bottle. The label can also tell a story, or there’s a story to the wine name, or how the winemaker got into the business. Wine comes from a place, and I think the best wines reflect that. There are also stories of history, art, trends, politics and marketing.
I’ve never seen another beverage be the jumping-off point for so many discussions. And I agree that sports inspires similar fervor, as does art, music and pop culture, among other things.
You may never feel that fascination about wine, and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with simply enjoying it as an occasional beverage. But if you’re a fan of anything—avant-garde jazz or Hitchcock films or video games—be patient with your friends for having their own thing. And sometimes being a friend means listening to each other wax poetic on occasion. Maybe you could even ask them to explain their love of wine to you.
When it's just TOO HOT in TEXAS!
It's OK to put ice cubes in your wine.
If you know anything about me, you know that I am an unconventional wine snob. Wine is to be enjoyed, however you like it. And when the heat index reaches 120 I enjoy a refreshing white like Lost Oak's Orange Muscat with a splash of La Croix over ice. Yes, this dry red wine drinker said it, "over ice!"
Here bon appetit gives "9 Situations in Which It Is Totally Fine to Put Ice in Your Wine" and I couldn't have said it better myself:
I’ve never received more hate than I did for posting a picture of ice in wine. “Sacrilegious!” they screamed into emails and “UNFOLLOW!” they chanted in the comments section. How could I curse the sanctity of wine like that? Well, quite easily. While I would never put ice into a ’67 BV Reserve, there are plenty of situations where I want ice in my wine and it is totally warranted.
...As it turns out, there are at least 9 situations:
At the Airport
If you’re anything like me—an anxious person that is pathologically early to events large or small—you’re probably at the airport and through security with two hours to kill before the flight. And while it’s nice to have a few glasses before take off, no one is trying to get drunk or go broke. Airport wine is expensive, and it’s never any good, so why not add some cubes to a $15 glass of repugnant Pinot Noir? It goes down easier, it lasts longer, and you’re out of Xanax and doing the best you can here!
On a Plane
If you have ever ordered wine on a plane, then you already know. If you have not ordered wine on a plane, maybe don’t start, but if you do, get a glass of ice on the side. And maybe a backup can of Sprite with a few lime wedges. While the first couple sips will have you fooled, by the third or fourth you will realize the wine is very heavy and gives you mouth-sweats and suddenly you are very aware of the barf bag in the seat pocket in front of you. You’re not going to want to finish it. Having make-shift spritzers supplies on hand will make the last leg of your Sauv Blanc a pleasant one.
It’s Too Damn Hot
IT’S JUST TOO DAMN HOT. AND YOUR A/C IS BROKE. AND YOU REALLY NEED A GLASS OF WINE. BUT IT’S TOO DAMN HOT. Throw some ice cubes in there. Not only do you want to, but you also have to. You’re already in survival mode, stripped down to your underwear, so this is no time to be concerned with shame.
The Wine Is Terrible (And It’s All You Have)
It’s been one week since you paid rent and it’s three days until you get your next check. Suddenly that butter-bombed Chardonnay an acquaintance left at your house isn’t looking so bad. But good God, it is bad. Not so bad that you are willing to go to the store in your sweatpants and spend your last eight dollars, but definitely bad enough to where you are justified in icing it down.
You’re a Grandma
My grandmother drank ice in Franzia and she was my favorite human ever, so I only have respect for Grandmas and iced wine.
You’re Trying Not to Get Too Day Drunk
Sometimes you find yourself drinking wine at noon. Perhaps on vacation at a lake house, trying to keep up with your mother-in-law who considers Pinot Grigio lunch or maybe just on any given Saturday. I don’t know why you’re drinking at noon, but a good way to way to stave off day-drunkness is by adding ice. It dilutes the wine and keeps your glass a little bit fuller. Plus, you can pretend you’re hydrating and partying at the same time. Most importantly it will keep you from passing out at 4.
Rosé, ice, St. Germain=You've got yourself a spritzer. Photo: Christopher Testani
You’re Using Wine to Make Something Else
From frosé to Sangria to spritzers of seltzer and muddled strawberries you found in the back of your fridge, you can transform wine into another drinking experience. And you know what all the recipes call for? ICE.
You’re Stuck Ordering House Wine at a Bar
You should never trust anything that goes by the vague, eponymous “House Wine.” You’re going to give yourself a headache with the amount of sugar that is in that thing. Cut it with ice. It’s so dark no one is going to notice anyway.
You Like It
Wine, above all else, is for pleasure. We drink it because it’s delicious and it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s the realness of the situation. And you should treat it as you would any other personal preference, like the temperature of your steak or ordering an extra side of ranch. It’s whatever tastes good to you, not anyone else. If adding a few cubes has you feeling yourself, bring it to the table because it’s no longer taboo.
If you can stand the heat, summer can be a beautiful time in the vineyard. One thing that makes it so colorful is veraison.
Veraison is the name given to the process in which the grapes change colors from green to golden or green to purple or red. During this process, you can see individual barries on bunches changing colors at different times making for a magical kaleidoscope of yellows, greens, and purples.
Along with this color change comes more intense aromas. All of this is to let animals (and us) know that the fruit is ready to eat. We, however, don’t rely solely on veraison to tell us the grapes are ready to go. During this time, we are constantly testing the sugar content of the grapes. This involves going down rows of vines pulling a few grapes off each vine. We then squish them all up and take a Degrees Brix reading. That is a fancy way of saying that we are looking for the amount of sugar in the grapes. Each varietal has a different ideal level of sugar that we are looking for.
When the grape reaches that magical Brix number we are ready to harvest!
- Angela Chapman, WSET III
We are very excited to release our new Meritage 2017 this week!
But what is a Meritage you ask?
Meritage is a Registered Trademark of Exceptional Wines Blended in the Bordeaux Tradition. Meritage wines are handcrafted, red or white wines blended from the “noble” Bordeaux grape varieties. A Meritage wine is considered to be the very best of the vintage.
This Lost Oak Winery 2017 Meritage is comprised of:
- 37% Caberet Sauvignon from Diamante Doble Vineyards, Tokio TX
- 28% Merlot from Bingham Family Vineyards, Meadow TX
- 14% Malbec from Burning Daylight Vineyard, Rendon TX
- 14% Cabernet Franc from Burning Daylight Vineyard, Rendon TX
- 7% Petit Verdot from Sprayberry Vineyards, Midland TX
Which all adds up to a whole lot of awesome!
This Meritage wine greets you with a beautiful rich ruby color with an earthbound blackberry aroma. Creamy butterscotch meets cherries and sweet tobacco on the tongue. With a smooth silky texture, and complex robust structure, this wine lives up to its name. Aged in American and French oak, pair this great Bordeaux blend with Coq au vin, beef bourguignon, steak au poivre, hearty robust beef stew, leg of lamb, dark chocolate stuffed croissant.
- Written by Angela Chapman, WSET III
Edited by fellow wino Mariam Copeland
The panhandle of Texas is home to one of the largest American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in Texas. Designated the Texas High Plains, it is second only to the Texas Hill Country.
Recently, I was invited to tour some of the vineyards in the High Plains.
Now, I am a Texas girl and I have traveled to many corners of the state, but the panhandle is one spot I had never been to. The first thing that struck me was the never-ending sky. Montana is known as “big sky country” but I have been to Montana, and although it is incredibly beautiful, the sky is nothing compared to what the High Plains had to offer.
I thought that the endless flatness would get boring, but instead, I found the expansiveness to be fascinating. I saw wildlife that included prairie dogs, burring owls, red shouldered hawks, horned lizards, and more butterflies than you can count.
I was event there during a haboob. I watched the horizon for almost an hour as the dust storm grew in insanity before engulfing the restaurant we were dining at.
Other nights the horizon was awash in electrically charged thunderheads that just never quite made it to where I was. I can see why people would choose to live in what many would consider to be vast nothingness.
Beautiful vistas and wildlife aside, I was there to look at some vineyards.
But what exactly were we looking for? How healthy are the vines, is there hail damage, how full is the canopy, do the clusters look like they are developing evenly, how much fruit is there, what is the expected yield?
With the help of the growers, all our questions are answered and then we determine how much of each varietal we want from our different growers.
Our first stop was the Bingham Family Vineyard in Meadow then off to Krick Hill Vineyards in Levelland. The next day we went to Oswald Vineyards in Brownfield and Diamante Doble Vineyard in Tokio.
Everywhere we went we were treated to the best Texas hospitality from hard working vineyard owners.
I was overwhelmed by the amount I learned and how passionate the growers were about their vines.
Although, they were growing different types of grapes and each grower did things a little different from the others, one thing they definitely had in common was the spark in their eyes and the smile on their face when they got to talk to us about their pride and joy, their grapes.
We can’t wait to make outstanding wine from their incredible fruit.
- Written by Angela Chapman, WSET III
Edited by fellow wino Mariam Copeland
Wine and cheese go together like…. Well, wine and cheese.
The pairing is ubiquitous and an undeniable part of life amongst foodies all over the world. But, why is that? The simple answer is that cheese like wine can be subtle and nuanced or bold and in your face, and it’s just really fun to put the two together.
Throughout history, wine producing countries have been pairing their wine with the local cheese and it’s no surprise that the two have grown to complement one another. Which brings us to wine and cheese pairing tip number one; pair wine and cheese from the same region together.
Think of it as old friends that have grown up together, they have had centuries to get to know each other and there for can complement each other well. Although, sometimes friends don’t always get along so well.
So, tip number two; you can’t go wrong with a bold red and an aged cheese. Aged cheeses have a lower water content and tend to have a bigger flavor which can often stand up to a big tannic red.
Don’t want a red? How about tip number three; stinky cheese with a sweet wine. I know, it sounds counter intuitive, but trust me the sweetness balances some of the stranger aromas and flavors of the cheese, you will find something in the wine and cheese that you didn’t taste before.
But if you really want the ultimate in the wine and cheese tasting experience, I offer the most important tip of all; try everything!
Buy the cheese and wine that you like and try them together and make your own decisions. Heck, if you want some Cheese Wiz on a Ritz cracker, I bet you can find the perfect wine for it (pro tip: it’s probable one you already know you like).
Pairings are subjective, you will only find what you like by trying lots of combinations, and, come on, did you really need an excuse to buy a lot of wine and cheese?
- Written by Angela Chapman, WSET III
Edited by fellow wino Mariam Copeland
** No Oranges Were Harmed in the Making of This Wine
Orange Muscat: orange flavored Moscato? Nope.
Fun name for a Moscato? Nope.
Orange colored Moscato, right? Nope again.
Orange Muscat is a grape unto itself. A wonderful, slightly orange scented, grape with a lot to offer wine aficionados and novices alike.
The origins of this grape are mysterious. Some say Italy, others say France. But nether of these countries widely produce it anymore. Today, it is more commonly found in the U.S. and Australia. It is most commonly made in a sweet or desert wine style, it can be quite surprising when made dry. It is also very popular in blends because it can add interesting aromas (orange anyone?) to the finished wine. Sweet wine drinkers love it for the variety of flavors it offers wile even dry wine drinkers can appreciate it for its smooth and easy-going profile.
There is, however, ongoing debate of the pedigree of the Orange Muscat grape. Some say it is not related to other Muscat grapes at all. Newly emerging DNA testing is suggesting that it is in fact a crossing between Muscat Blanc à Petit Grains and Chasselas.
Whatever the case, Orange Muscat is perfect for a variety of foods, occasions, and moods.