05 May 2010

Tasting Barrels

This is my week for tasting through all the barrels and I have to say that they are starting to come around.  The chardonnay in particular is showing improvement this week.  Some of the harsher bitter edges are softening into a rounder wine with nice aicidty.  The wine still needs time but is starting to show its potential. 

I made some acid additions to a few barrels of pinot 2 weeks ago because I thought that the pH was too high and that it was making the wine seem flabby and uninteresting.  I am happy to say that I think the acid has improved the wine.  It still pokes out a little on the palate but with more time it will smooth out, 2 weeks is short for the wine to have both incorporated the acid and recovered from being disturbed.  I don't like to make additions to wine on principle but at the same time I think that part of a winemaker's job is to determine when making a change, i.e. filtering, fining, additions, will make a better wine than leaving it alone and to do the necessary work.

Last weekend was our annual barrel tasting and as I always I got lots of good feedback.  I try to set up something different every year so that our customers learn something as well as getting an opportunity to taste what is coming down the pipe.  This year we tasted barrel fermented chardonnay vs stainless steel fermented, pinot noir from two vineyards that was handled the same and fermented with the same yeast so that hopefully the vineyard differenced show more than the winemaking practices.  Finally marechal foch from two blocks in our vineyard one of which gets less sun than the other to see if there are noticeable differences.  Generally people seemed to find a difference but it was clearly divided on which wine people preferred.  I always find that interesting.  Sometimes there is an obvious preference but by no means usually.

We are still on frost alert and Mary's sleep has definitely been interrupted.  She had to turn the fans on last week again and for a while she thought last night too but at about 2 am she said the temperature leveled off and she got to go to bed.  What a luxury that I get to sleep soundly through the whole process in my own warm bed.  She is on watch again tonight so keep your fingers crossed for either warmer weather or at least rain and cloud cover.  Our little vines are still growing!

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