Winemaker's Notes

September and December 2019 Winemaker Notes

Download the September and December 2019 Winemaker Notes here

September and December 2019 Winemaker Notes

Intending to Inform and Influence

Dear Frogtown Citizen: 

Frogtown Wine Club Classifications.

We are sending you a document entitled Wine Club Classifications. Please Read this document carefully.

Did you know Georgia Estate Only Citizens are entitled to a 25% wine discount if they increase their Wine Club Shipments by 6 bottles to 18 bottles yearly?   This feature commences with the February 2020 Wine Club Release.  To make a change in Wine Club Classification, call us 706-865-0687 or email

Wines included in this Wine Club Release.

I am placing this discussion topic of the current Wine Club Release FIRST, rather than LAST, as in my prior Winemaker Notes, because of the significance of the discussion below of the 2017 Compulsion and 2017 Convergence.

Depending on your Wine Club Classification, your December shipment consist of:

Georgia Estate Red Wine Citizens: 2014 Frogtown Merger (wow, a Double Gold Medal just awarded – see below), 2014 Touché, 2015 Audacity on the Estate Red side.

Georgia Estate White Wine Citizens and Mixed Red and White Wine Citizens: 2018 Sauvignon Blanc (wow, a Gold Medal just awarded – see below), 2018 MRV (a Silver Medal just awarded – see below), and 2018 Sauvignon Gris (a Bronze Medal just awarded, see below and my comment below).

Georgia Extended Red Wine and Mixed Red and White Wine Citizens:                 2017 VRM, 2017 Compulsion, an East Coast, West Coast Blend, 2017 Convergence, A West, Coast, East Coast Blend, and most significantly, 2017 Clos Primavera Propensity (our first 100% Estate Grown Red Wine). 

Since the 2017 Compulsion, 2017 Convergence, and 2017 Propensity are first release wines, the following is specific information for these wines: Noteworthy is the fact, for the first time, our East Coast, West Coast Wines contain 100% estate grown grapes from both sides of the country – Georgia’s Dahlonega Plateau, Adelaida and Geneseo District Sub-AVA’s of the Paso Robles AVA.  This enables Frogtown to be a 100% Estate Winery making wines solely with its estate grown grapes, labeled under the respective AVA where the wines are grown, or under an American label when the wines are blended from the separate AVAs of Georgia and California.   

Also, noteworthy, is the fact, for the first time, Compulsion and Convergence are very similar Blends, in the case of 2017, both are varietal Cabernet Franc wines.  This enables our Citizens, uniquely, to taste the difference of a Cabernet Franc made from principally Cabernet Franc grown on the East Coast, from our Dahlonega Plateau AVA and Cabernet Franc made from principally Cabernet Franc grown on the West Coast from our Paso Robles, AVA wines.  A unique experience, to my knowledge, not duplicated by any other winery.

  1. Frogtown Convergence and 2017 Frogtown Compulsion

Convergence is unmistakably California and Compulsion is unmistakably old world, Georgia.  Cabernet Franc, being the spicy, higher acid component of Bordeaux wines, is varietal correct and evident in both wines.

  • As expected, Convergence is significantly more fruit forward.  The relatively small amount of Dahlonega Plateau Cabernet Franc blended into the 2017 Convergence makes this wine more elegant and complex than it would otherwise have demonstrated if it were 100% Frogtown California.
  • Also, as expected, Compulsion is a less powerful wine but more elegant in its presentation.  The relatively small amount of Paso Robles AVA wine blended into the 2017 Compulsion makes this wine more intense and fruitful than it would otherwise have demonstrated if it were 100% Frogtown Georgia,
  • Are these wines better because of the cross blending of very different AVA grown wines?  This is a very serious and important question.  First, what is meant by better?  I cannot say that either wine so blended is better.  I can say that either wine is different than it would otherwise be without the cross blending, but better?  Significantly, neither of these cross blended wines are terroir wines, the cross-AVA blending has obliterated the terroir of both principal AVA wines.  But does that matter?  What is significant is the cross blended wine is different.  Some people will like either of these wines better than if the wine were a terroir wine and that is perfectly fine.
  • What if I purchased some Cabernet Franc grapes from one of the Napa Sub-AVAs and blended such grapes into Paso Robles, AVA Cabernet Franc grapes grown in either in the Adelaida or Geneseo districts.  If such Napa grown grapes result in the less than 15 percent of the total blend, I could, notwithstanding using Napa grapes in the blend, label such wine as a Paso Robles AVA wine. Reference to a governmentally established American Viticultural Area (AVA) refers only to a designated wine growing region, and does not refer to estate grown, produced and bottled wines.  AVA wine can contain up to 15% of grapes grown outside of the AVA.  Is that appropriate?
  1. Clos Primavera G Series Propensity

Our first red wine made from 100% Adelaida and Geneseo vineyard grapes.  A blend of 40% Grenacha from Geneseo and 60% Primitivo from Adelaida.  This wine screams Priorat!

  • The blending of very ripe Grenache grown in arid conditions with Carignan, or another intense red grape(s), results in a well-balanced wine with sufficient acid and relatively high alcohol.  Not only does such wine possess intense (meaty) fruit, but also demonstrates finesse and elegance.

Such Grenache centric wines possess, in addition to other flavors, identifiable plum with mocha nuances. The wines are unmistakable unique in the world of wine.  A significant noticeable difference from a Bordeaux or Tuscan wine.  I welcome and enjoy these very different red wines and Frogtown is pleased to offer these style wines to our Citizens.

  • Propensity is the first of a planned three “G Series” (Grenacha centric) wines I anticipate making from Adelaida and Geneseo grapes.  The richness of Primitivo is the perfect blending partner for our estate grown Grenache.  Propensity’s identifiable plum and cassis flavors and mocha nuances do not overpower your beginning palate, with an elegant mid-palate smoothness, and a persistent long finish.  Yum!

Wine Competition Results – 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition the Largest Competition of American Wines

The following identifies the Gold and Silver Medals awarded to Frogtown:

2014 Frogtown Cellars Merger, Dahlonega Plateau AVA, DOUBLE GOLD

2018 Frogtown Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Dahlonega Plateau AVA, GOLD

2018 Frogtown Cellars Marsanne, Dahlonega Plateau AVA, GOLD

2018 Frogtown Cellars Sangiovese, Dahlonega Plateau AVA, SILVER

NV Frogtown Cellars Shotgun, 5th Reload, Dahlonega Plateau AVA, SILVER

2018 Frogtown MRV, Dahlonega Plateau AVA, SILVER

The 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Competition Results puts an emphatic YES on Frogtown’s Classification as the HEART AND SOUL OF THE DAHLONEGA PLATEAU AVA!

Yes, results speak loud and clear to the quality and breath of Frogtown wines; like to add just a few remarks:

  • 2020 marks the Fourth Consecutive Year Frogtown has received a Double Gold Medal in a major California Competition
  • How About our 2018 Frogtown White Wine Medal Winners?  I am particularly proud and gratified some of the best wine judges in the United States recognize the premium quality of Frogtown’s white wines – for so many years our premium red wines dominated competition awarded medals at the most prestigious California Wine Competitions – not anymore. 
  • Frogtown 2018 Sauvignon Gris was awarded a Bronze Medal at the above competition.  Not many people, including judges, have tasted, or for that matter understand, Sauvignon Gris wines.  This wine deserved a higher awarded medal.

What is Occurring in Frogtown’s Vineyards?

We are actively pruning our vineyards in Georgia and California.  We have received welcome rain in California.  The severe drought California experienced in prior years appears to be over. Last year and this year Paso Robles received rain in significant quantity. 

What is the Status of Frogtown’s Winery and Tasting Room?

Zoning approval has been received for Frogtown’s Paso Robles downtown winery and tasting room.  Our address will be 2045 Spring Street, Paso Robles California 93446. 

Frogtown Paso Robles Winery and Tasting Room is “Clos Primavera.”  Why?

What does the word Clos mean?

Googling definition of Clos will result in the following: A Clos is French for a walled-in vineyard.   Strange; a walled-in vineyard?  How many vineyard boundaries are walled-in?  Let’s examine this a little closer.  Way back when (200+ years ago), where was wine produced?  At the vineyard, of course.  At the vineyard, where?  Out in the open air?  No, of course not.  In a compound, many being monastic, at or adjacent to the vineyard.  Perhaps Clos could have also been an abbreviated reference to a monastic enclosure, a cloister.

Ah, if the above speculation is valid, reference to a Clos is starting to make sense. 

Googling definition of winery will result in the following: Merriam-Webster says it is a winemaking establishment.  A specialty structure, wherever located, where wine is produced.  Merriam-Webster, founded in 1828, says the first known use of the word “winery” was in 1882; almost sixty years after its founding.  1882 is not that far back in my mind, especially not “way back when”; so, prior to 1882 the compound in the vineyard where wine is made could not have been referenced as a “winery;” the word did not exist.

In the world of wine, if Clos “just” meant a vineyard what would be the significance or notoriety of such identification?  The most significant reason to reference a Clos is not just the growing of grapes, but the production of wine to be identified on the bottle.

I am not trained in the disciplines of philology and etymology.  Thinking logically and historically, it is my belief, Clos means a “winery”, the compound dedicated to making wine from the grapes exclusively produced from a vineyard.

Over time the significance of identifying or associating a word is sometimes lost or forgotten, or worse, corrupted or ignored, particularly when a more descriptive, better defined, and understood word becomes commonly used. Hello winery, good-by clos.

Today the most identifiable “Clos” wines are found in the Bordeaux region of France and are referred to as Château! In the world of French wine, what does the word Château mean? Is Château just an impressive country house, castle or country estate in France?  Definitely not!  The word Château is a guarantee the wine so named is from the actual Château domain, produced and bottled exclusively from grapes grown at the Château domain.  The wine is a terroir significant wine with its unique identity! 

Sound familiar?

I have been preaching the importance and significance of terroir wines since the founding of Frogtown in 1999.

I think all estate grown, produced and bottled wines in the United States should, by law, be referenced as a Clos wine; an AVA designation does mean a significant viticultural area but does not signify grown, produced and bottled wine.  For clarity and transparency, America needs a more noticeable identifier than the lower part of the back label to signify estate grown, produced and bottled wine.  Why not incorporate into American wine law the historical reference to the name, where wine is always estate grown, produced and bottled.  How does Clos Frogtown sound?

Why use the word Primavera?

Historical and Etymological meaning of primavera:  Italian reference to primavera means in the style of springtime, and Spanish reference to primavera means spring.

A Clos located on Spring Street: is there a better name than Clos Primavera?

Additional reason for the significance of Clos Primavera:

Most of the blends and varietal wines to be made from Grenacha, Carignan, Graciano, Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Graciano, Teroldego, Sagrantino, Cinsault, and Counoise will have a Rioja and Priorat, Spanish, and Rhone Valley, French influence.  The utilization of the words Clos and Primavera suggest the wines to be sold at Clos Primavera will have such influences. 

Approximately 15% of the wine grapes planted at Frogtown’s Adelaida and Geneseo vineyards are exclusively for Frogtown’s production of proprietary blends and varietal wines made from the above referenced varieties: 

The choice of  these grapes, planted in limited quantities specifically to provide Wine Club Citizens interesting and unique wine offerings replicates and follows the development of Frogtown’s Dahlonega Plateau vineyard; where Tannat, Touriga, Petit Manseng, Sauvignon Gris, Nebbiolo, Chambourcin, and Teroldego, are used to make unique wine club varietal and blended wines and Sangiovese, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tannat provide the necessary grapes to make the highly popular 3 Super Tuscan Blends Frogtown calls Audacity, Bravado, and Penchant.

The balance of Adelaida and Geneseo Vineyards, over 85%, are planted to the Bordeaux Varietals, principally Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah and Syrah for sale or production of Frogtown wines. 

Most of Frogtown’s Adelaida grapes are sold for inclusion in My Favorite Neighbor wines. [Please take the opportunity to purchase My Favorite Neighbor wine if the opportunity arises at a wine shop or in a restaurant] Eric Jensen, the visionary behind My Favorite Neighbor Wines, describes each vineyard he chose to source fruit for My Favorite Neighbor Wines.  Eric description of Frogtown Adelaida:

If you look in the dictionary under “Limestone Vineyards” there should be a picture of Frogtown.  Upon entering the gates, you’ll need to put your sunglasses on so the glare from the pure white rocks doesn’t blind you.  This majestic all hillside vineyard delivers views of the entire Adelaida District and Lake Nacimiento, and completely contradicts my perception of Bordeaux varieties growing better in clay soils.

Want a glimpse at Frogtown’s Adelaida Vineyard.

Enter, go to the Menu and click on Vineyards and then scroll till you see Frogtown.

As always, our very best wishes to you, our Citizens, Cydney and Craig

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