Carlos Creek Helping to Name New Grape
Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria, Minnesota is asking for wine drinkers’ help with naming two new highly anticipated red wine varieties developed by the renowned grape breeder Tom Plocher. The two new grapes are currently known only as T.P. 1-1-34 and T.P. 2-11-17.
But that’s about to change. One hundred potential names have been submitted already, according to Tamara Bredeson of Carlos Creek. (If you would like to participate in naming the new wines, see Carlos Creek’s January 12th Facebook post.)
These two new red hybrid grapes are a follow-up to Plocher’s Petite Pearl. Since the first vintage of Petite Pearl was released in 2012, it has been getting a lot of attention. (The most read article in Midwest Wine Press last year was about Petite Pearl.)
Wine drinkers, wine makers and grape growers all have positive reactions to Petite Pearl. However, many question the wisdom of naming a red wine Petite Pearl. (Black Pearl would have been a better moniker, but that name has over 400 copyrights.)
“We want to make sure the name of the new grapes resonates with customers,” Bredeson said. “Many of our customers think Petite Pearl is a white wine for obvious reasons.”
According to Bredeson, the TTB recently approved the varietal name Petite Pearl for use on wine bottles, a major step towards building consumer awareness.
Bredeson said she occasionally likes to give Tom Plocher a hard time about the name Petite Pearl, but she loves the wine. Carlos Creek has 600 Petite Pearl vines in production at the winery which is about 170 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. 600 more vines will be planted this spring, she said.
What’s exciting about Petite Pearl and the new Plocher cultivars is that they have structure and tannins that are sometimes lacking in red hybrid wines. (Carlos Creek ages their Petite Pearl in oak which adds a new set of sensory relationships.)
Wine grapes grown in cold climates can also have searing acidity. But Bredeson said the titratable acidity for the ’13 vintage of Petite Pearl came in under 10 grams per liter.
Carlos Creek is having a release party for the ’13 Petite Pearl on February 8th for wine club members only. “But it’s not too late to join our wine club,” Bredeson added. In addition to Petite Pearl, the winery will also have a completely dry Petite Amie at the event.