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WTN: Tasting PiercesDiseaseResistant Wines w/ Adam...(short/

by TomHill » Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:17 pm

I was out in SoCal last week before aborting my trip because of anticipated travel restrictions because of Coronavirus. But I did manage to squeeze in a visit w/ Helen & Adam Tolmach up in Oakview.
I have, of course, followed AdamTolmach from the very start, his '83 Syrah, one of the first great Syrahs made in Calif (the others being the Qupe '82 and BonnyDoon Syrah '82, both made from GaryEberle's EstrellaRiver Syrah grapes, and the SierraVista Eldorado Syrah '82.
Adam's Syrah was made from his young Syrah vnyd, planted in '81 at his property. Alas, the area is surrounded w/ lots of river-bottom forests and a great home for the glassy-winged sharpshooter. So his Estate vnyd eventually succumbed to Pierce's Disease and had to be pulled.
Last Fall, AndyWalker, UC/Davis, released his first crosses that are found to be highly resistant to Pierce's. Crosses between Vinifera and native American Vitis Arizonica. Adam took his first crop from his vines in the 2019 vintage.
After sitting around his dining room table, at a proper social-distance according to current guidelines, we sampled three wines from his library and got caught up on things. It'd been some 4-5 yrs since I'd last visitied w/ Adam. Afterwards, Adam wanted me to taste the new wines from Andy's varieties. He only has one row of each, so had about 1 brl of each wine. Didn't take TN's so from my recollect of this tasting in a pouring rain.
1. Ambulo Blanc #102 2019: Light yellow color; quite fragrant some R/mango/floral fairly aromatic nose that reminds me a lot of GrunerVeltliner; fairly tart/tangy on the palate and quite interesting.
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2. Caminante Blanc #016 2019: A bit richer/fuller nose of melons, not as aromatic, reminds more of Chard or maybe PinotBianco, slightly earthy but a very attractive white.
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3. Unnamed Red #07 2019: Fairly dark color; somewhat earthy/plummy reminds me mostly of ContraCoast Mourvedre, maybe a bit of Zweigelt.
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4. Paseante Noir #047 2019: Dark color; strong nose of blackcurrants, rather reminiscent of CabSauvg, slightly plummy; a solid 4-square red.
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A wee BloodyPulpit:
1. These varietal names are obviously not going to make a wine that will sell like hotcakes, since they are totally unknown and there are no European varietal equivalents. But the big take-away for me were that all 4 wines spoke strongly of vinifera and had no hints of their native American heritage. Adam thinks he will probably blend the two whites and the two reds together and release the two wines under a proprietary name.
Tom

Adam's comments on his experience with these vines:
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH GROWING ANDREW WALKER’S PIERCES DISEASE RESISTANT VARIETALS

December 4, 2019

The Ojai Vineyard is located in southern California 100 miles north of Los Angeles and south of Santa Barbara 30 miles. Although it is less than 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Red Mountain often blocks ocean breezes. The summer weather tends to be warm and dry. Planted in early August 2017 from small potted plants, grafted on 101-14 rootstock. The vine spacing is 5.5' between the rows and 5' between vines in the row on a VSP trellis with a fruiting wire with 4 sets of catch wires. A drip irrigation wire with two 1/2 gallon per hour drippers per vine. The soil is loamy with Monterey shale two to four feet below the surface. In 2019 the vines were irrigated generously in the spring and the irrigation was cut to the amount needed to maintain the canopy after the shoots reached the top of the trellis. At harvest there was some leaf drop in the fruit zone. 2019 was our first harvest from these vines.

2019 was an unusually mild growing season with a late bud break, no extreme heat, and the powdery mildew pressure was high. Except for a few clusters, none was found on the fruit. The vineyard is grown using organic culture, sulfur used early and other materials later in the season.


Ambulo Blanc #102 (white) A vigorous grower with long canes that tend to drape down. It produces large clusters of medium size berries. At veraison the crop was thinned from about 8 tons per acre to about 5.7 tpa. The grapes were harvested on September 6th and 12th. They were pressed whole cluster, settled overnight, then drained to older French oak barrels and 35ppm sulfur dioxide was added. The next day a native culture of yeast from our grapes/winery were added to the barrels for fermentation. The juice fermented in the 53-70 degree Fahrenheit range in a cellar that was maintained at 53 degrees. The wine remains on its lees in barrel at this time. Although unresolved at this point it possesses an aroma of lemon curd, medium weight on the palate, and is zippy and fresh.
Harvest date: September 6th and 12th
Harvest Sugar: 20.8
Harvest TA:
Harvest pH: 3.31
Alcohol: 12.5







Caminante Blanc #016 (white) Slow grower with delicate shoots that took all season to reach the top trellis wire. Upright growth that conformed to the VSP trellis easily. Small heavily lobed leaves and small clusters with small berries—quite ornate, and the fruit was very distinctive in a pleasantly herbal way. Despite the small clusters, there were many of them and this varietal yielded about 6.5 tpa. Treatment of these grapes was identical to #102. At this point the wine is very strikingly herbal and interesting, but difficult to read.
Harvest date: September 6th
Harvest Sugar: 21.6
Harvest TA: 7.2
Harvest pH: 3.33
Alcohol: 13.3

Unnamed Red #07 (red) A moderate grower that easily reached the top wires of the trellis, but didn’t overgrow it much. Upright growth that is easy to manage. Develops 3-5 clusters per shoot of medium-large clusters of medium-large berries. The crop was thinned in half when the berries were pea sized, and then thinned aggressively again at veraison. The crop was harvested at 4.7 tpa. The fruit was half destemmed and half whole clusters and put in an open top fermenter. No SO2 was added to the grapes and a culture of native yeast was added at crush. The tank was pumped over daily, and later in the fermentation punched down by hand. The temperature achieved 85 degrees in the cap and 72 degrees in the juice. At pressing the wine settled for 48 hours and then was placed in 225 liter older French oak barrels for aging. The color is medium dark and the aroma is distinctly floral and pretty. The flavor is lively and spicy, and the wine is quite agreeable today, it remains on its lees in barrel unracked.
Harvest date: September 6th
Harvest Sugar: 22.1
Harvest TA: 7.6
Harvest pH: 3.45
Alcohol: 12.7

Paseante Noir #047 (red) A vigorous growing vine with long canes that tend to droop down, making it a difficult candidate for VSP training, but we encouraged it to conform with lots of effort. It produces large clusters with medium size berries, but often only one per shoot, we achieved about 4 tpa. The grapes were noticeably low in acidity and required an addition of tartaric acid. The winemaking was similar to the #07, 18% of the fruit was whole cluster, the rest destemmed. The tank was pumped over once a day. This wine has a spicy, smoky fruity character a bit like syrah, the wine is quite aromatic. It remains in barrel, unsulfured and unracked, and is quite delicious.
Harvest date: September 18th
Harvest Sugar: 23.7
Harvest TA: 4.6
Harvest pH: 3.72
Alcohol: 13.95
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Andy Walker's Comments.....

by TomHill » Thu Mar 19, 2020 3:26 pm

New PD-Resistant Wine Grape Varieties Named and Released
Patents Filed for Walker-bred Cultivars Developed at UCD
by Ted Rieger
December 03, 2019

UCD viticulture professor and grape breeder Dr. Andy Walker developed the five PD-resistant wine grape
varieties with research funding from the CDFA PD/GWSS Board. Photo: Ted Rieger


The University of California, Davis (UCD) Office of Research’s Innovation Access unit recently informed the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) of the official release of five new Pierce’s Disease (PD) resistant grapevine varieties developed in the breeding program of UCD viticulture professor and grape breeder Dr. Andy Walker.

The five releases include three red wine grape selections and two white wine grape selections that have repeatedly shown strong resistance to PD in greenhouse and field trials, and have shown high fruit quality and high wine quality across several vintages and in wine tastings. These five selections are the results of a multi-year research and breeding project largely funded through the CDFA Pierce’s Disease and Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter (GWSS) Board.

Patent and Licensing Activity

Plant patent applications were filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on November 5, 2019 for each of the five varieties and the name given to each variety by Walker. Once UCD receives the official notice of filing, the university will begin to market and license the grapevines. UCD Research Innovation Access provides services that connect university research to the marketplace and is focused on protecting and commercializing intellectual property and fostering entrepreneurship. UCD informed CDFA of its plans to protect and license the five new PD-resistant varieties.

An announcement of the release of the PD-resistant cultivars will be sent by UCD Foundation Plant Services to commercial grapevine nurseries participating in the CDFA Grapevine Registration and Certification Program. Non-exclusive licenses will be made available to CDFA licensed nurseries that participate in the Registration and Certification Program. UC will consider licensing nurseries outside of California if they are licensed to sell clean plant stock and participate in their state’s grapevine registration and certification program (if one exists). The license agreement will include a one-time license issue fee of $250.00 and a royalty of $1.00/grapevine sold.

Variety Development and Potential Uses

Walker and his lab have been traditionally-breeding wine grape varieties of Vitis vinifera with native American Vitis species that carry PD-resistance genes. The five new releases carry a PD-resistant gene from Vitis arizonica. Walker uses traditional breeding methods that involve the backcrossing through several generations of vine crosses to progressively increase the V. vinifera parentage and characteristics to as high as 97% within the final resulting cross. Each generation carries resistance genes.
Wines have been produced from field trials of these cultivars and have been evaluated by UCD staff and wine industry representatives at several tastings. In addition to UCD campus field trials, field trials with PD-resistant cultivars have been conducted, or are ongoing, in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Temecula, and Ojai in Ventura County in California; and in Texas, Alabama and Florida.
In California, these cultivars are expected to be of interest for planting at sites where PD pressure is high, such as North Coast riparian areas, or in Southern California locations where GWSS populations exist. They could be used at levels of 25% or less in other varietal wines, or as components of non-varietal red or white wine blends. In addition, PD-resistant cultivars could be highly sought and accepted for commercial use in the Southeast U.S. where growers are generally limited to growing currently available PD-resistant hybrids that do not have V. vinifera wine quality.
The five patent-pending varieties (with their breeding program index numbers) and information provided by Walker are described below.
Camminare Noir
07355-075—50% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon: This red wine grape makes wines with characteristics of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Commercial scale wines have been made from established test plots along the Napa River. This selection is early to break dormancy, bloom and ripen. It produces relatively large berries, with well-filled clusters of medium size. It has tested to be highly PD-resistant and has a 94% V. vinifera level. It has ranked highly at numerous tastings of both Davis and Napa grown fruit. Tasting descriptions include: dark red-purple in color, bright red fruit, raspberry, cherry, ripe, tannic and elegant rather than dense.
Paseante Noir
09331-047—50% Zinfandel, 25% Petite Sirah, 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon: A red wine grape with characteristics of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, highly PD-resistant with 97% V. vinifera. Commercial scale wines have been made from established field trials near the Napa River and from Temecula. Blooms relatively late but ripens mid-season. Medium-sized berries and large well-filled clusters. It is spur fruitful but typically has only one cluster per shoot and is more productive with cane pruning. Tasting comments include: medium dark red with purple color, berry pie, cassis, black olive, herbal, dried hay, coffee, vegetal like Cabernet Sauvignon, licorice, round, moderate tannins, and soft finish.

Errante Noir

09356-235—50% Sylvaner, 12.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Carignane, 12.5% Chardonnay: A red wine grape, highly PD-resistant with 97% V. vinifera. Mid-season bloom and ripening period. Highly productive with relatively large berries and loose clusters. Tasting comments include: dark red purple color, complex fruit with herbs and earth, plum, big wine, dense, rich middle, tannic yet balanced. Winemakers believe it has great blending potential with Cabernet Sauvignon and has high levels of high quality tannin.

Ambulo Blanc

09314-102—62.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Carignane, 12.5% Chardonnay: A white wine grape highly PD-resistant with 97% V. vinifera. Field tested in Temecula, Sonoma and along the Napa River. Blooms and ripens early. Highly productive with small to medium berries and relatively large clusters. Wines are reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc and tasting comments include: light straw to clear color, citrus, lime, tropical, gooseberry, golden delicious apple flavor, bright fruit, slightly bitter, and textured.

Caminante Blanc
09338-016—62.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12.5% Chardonnay, 12.5% Carignane: A white wine grape highly PD-resistant with 97% V. vinifera. Field trials planted in Davis, and more recently underway in PD hotspots in Napa and Ojai. It has small berries, small compact clusters and blooms relatively late but ripens mid-season. The vine has medium productivity. Wines made from Davis-grown fruit have rated well and tasting comments include: light straw-gold color, floral aromas, apple-melon, lychee, pineapple, green apple, juicy, harmonious, and well-balanced.
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Nuther Article

by TomHill » Tue Mar 24, 2020 12:22 pm

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Re: WTN: Tasting PiercesDiseaseResistant Wines w/ Adam...(sh

by Paul Winalski » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:38 pm

Thanks for the info, Tom. A couple of questions pop into my mind:

So apparently Vitis arizonica is resistant to PD, and doesn't bring the fox with it. What about other North American Vitis species?

I know the focus here was on PD, but how do these new varieties fare in the phylloxera department? Do they need to be grafted?

-Paul W.
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Clueless...

by TomHill » Thu Mar 26, 2020 1:59 pm

Clueless on the answer to that one, Paul.
Would guess they're not phylloxera resistent.
Tom
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Re: WTN: Tasting PiercesDiseaseResistant Wines w/ Adam...(sh

by Paul Winalski » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:15 pm

I think there's an opportunity here for GMO technology to do something other than make large industrial chemical companies rich. If we could find out what in the Vitis vinifera genome makes that vine species susceptible to phylloxera and Pierce's disease, while other Vitis species are not, it may be possible to "fix" the V. vinifera genome.so that we can still enjoy all the traditional vine varieties but now they'll be tolerant of the vine diseases.

-Paul W.
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Awww...

by TomHill » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:28 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:I think there's an opportunity here for GMO technology to do something other than make large industrial chemical companies rich. If we could find out what in the Vitis vinifera genome makes that vine species susceptible to phylloxera and Pierce's disease, while other Vitis species are not, it may be possible to "fix" the V. vinifera genome.so that we can still enjoy all the traditional vine varieties but now they'll be tolerant of the vine diseases.

-Paul W.


Awwwww, Paul...those are called FrankenVines. You want half the wine world to be calling for tar & feather of you!!!
Tom
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Re: WTN: Tasting PiercesDiseaseResistant Wines w/ Adam...(sh

by Paul Winalski » Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:04 pm

So let half the wine world avoid them. That will mean lower prices for me. :twisted:

-Paul W.

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