04 April 2010

Racking Barrels

This week was spent racking barrels.  I must be getting more comfortable doing it and I had a very good helper so it all went much smoother than I had feared.  Feared might be too strong of a word but I do feel a certain amount of dread, even that is too strong of a word.  Let's put it this way, it tends to be a job that I put off rather than just get on and do.  So this week I finally got on it, after tasting last week I knew I could procrastinate no longer and with Sebastian's help we whipped through it.

I start the process by racking three barrels to a small tank.  Let me back up, racking is the process of taking the clear wine away from the settled lees in a barrel.  I do this with a pump, a stainless steel pipe hooked to a hose hooked to the pump and a flashlight.  The pipe is a called a racking wand and has a clear tube of glass inline so that I can see the wine as is passes by.  Holding a flashlight up to the glass I slowly lower the wand till I just start to see cloudy wine, then I raise it about 1/4" and set the height.  Using the pump, it takes about 7 minutes to empty the barrel into second barrel.  After the barrel is emptied Sebastian rolls the barrel and collects the lees as it drains out of the bottom.  This is put into a small tank where it settles again and I will be able to rack off the clean wine and throw away the settled lees.  The barrel is then cleaned and returned to the rack to be filled with wine from another barrel and the cycle continues. There aren't too many pictures as we both have to stay pretty focused but hopefully you get the idea. 
On a more personal note my husband and I had dinner last night a new restaurant, well, new for us, called Old Europe Inn across from the Vista Roth's in South Salem.  Our waitress was charming and made us feel very welcome, the food was delicious and the presentation lovely.  We started with a crab crepe that was loaded with fresh crab, spinach and tomatoes.  I could give you a blow by blow but instead I think I'll let that tempt you.  As for wine, we had a bottle of the 2007 Domain Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot noir, it was lovely.  Supple and soft with a nice backbone and complemented the food beautifully.  Anyone who tells you to avoid 2007 Oregon Pinots probably doesn't know what he is talking about.  They tend to be delicate, medium alcohol, food friendly delights.  I highly recommend them, generally finding them much more classic in style than the overblown fruit bombs of 2006.  But of course that's just my opinion, go buy a few and decide for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Its quite interesting, before learning about racking one might think that this process was putting the barrels onto the shelves to age.