25 February 2011

Riesling in filtered!

I just finished cleaning up from filtering the Riesling!  Let me clarify, finished cleaning up the equipment, not myself.  I'm feeling a little gritty and damp but otherwise happy to have the cold stabilizing done.  The last wine left to deal with in the sparkling base but I'm trying to coordinate with another winemaker on that wine so it gets own schedule.  I also tasted through the barrel room this week and am pretty happy with everything.  I even think two of my four lagging ML barrels are almost done.  They are starting to taste a little less tart and better balanced.  I'm interested in watching the pinot develop this year.

The only other exciting thing to happen this week is that we got snow!  And I got a snow day and what you may ask did I do on my snow.  Why paint the laundry room of course.  Isn't that what most people do?  Actually it was one of those jobs hanging over my head and now it is done except behind the washer and dryer and I'll get there when we pull them out to put down the new flooring.  Fun projects in the Clark household.  Today at the winery the sun is shining full force and it is beautiful, almost like a post card.

18 February 2011

2 down 1 to go

I was able to filter the Pinot gris this week and it worked out very well.  You can see how nicely the cake formed on the screen.  The screens are not filled to capacity, when they are there are solid cakes of DE between each two screens rather than the semi separate cakes that you can see in this picture.  The other tank is the mixing tank or dosing tank.  A supersaturated solution of DE and wine is mixed in that tank and then slowly dosed into the main body of wine on its way to the screen.  That is what I am watching in the lower sight glass, there is also a stainless steel flapper in the sight window which gives me an idea of how fast the wine is being filtered and a guess at the pressure as the pressure gauge no longer works.  So the Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer are filtered and sitting quietly and I moved the Riesling to the small tank that I showed you last week and have the chilling turned on there.  I hope that next week I'll be able to filter it.
Last week I didn't show you pictures but I did also check the free SO2 on the whites.  I do this using the Ripper Method.  It is faster than the Aspiration method I use for the reds but is still based on a color change.  I avoid using this method for reds because the end point is when the color is a medium to dark purple it is hard to see.  One thing I always find interesting when running rippers is that I first add a 25% solution of sulfuric acid to the wines and the pH shift can cause a color change.  Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer are the usual culprits but this year the color in the sparkling base gets more intense which is the pink wine on the right and the Pinot gris just shifts a little, the second from the right.  I didn't get any change in the Gewürztraminer for a change.  I titrate with iodine, you can see it starting to cause the color change in the close up shot, and when I reach the end point there is a formula to calculate how much free SO2 is in the wine.  I have to admit that I have a cheat sheet so off the top of my head I can't remember the formula.

Not much else to report, I am doing a tasting at the W. Salem Roth's tonight, Friday, February 18th, from 3-6pm if you care to drop by for a taste and a chat.

Our new red living room walls!

11 February 2011

Best laid plans

I must admit that while I didn't have a hard and fast schedule for January and February, okay try almost no schedule at all, I was planning on having the 3 whites filtered and ready to bottle before I leave in March but after yet another week of failed tests I think I am going to have to face the facts.  I am almost sure I won't be bottling. I can't give up completely but the cold stabilization has been very slow.  I am not sure how much is due to the volumes of wine, very small for our tanks, or the ripeness of the fruit.  It is possible that the tartaric acid was higher than normal this vintage and so it is taking longer to precipitate it all out of the wine.  After moving the Pinot gris to the smaller tank I have been able to keep the temperature lower and I'm hopeful that next week I'll be able to filter it.  One of the interesting things that has come out using the smaller tank is that the wine wants to stratify and so it isn't all being chilled.  In order to be able to chill small volumes of wine we had the jacket split on the tank so it runs at the top and bottom rather than in the middle and I can circualte the chilled glycol through either both sections or just the bottom.  The problem with the pinot gris is that the level is higher than the top of the bottom jacket but not yet touching the upper jacket and as we can all remember back to science liquids get denser as they chill until they start to freeze at which point they float again.  In a normal tank the chilled wine flass to the bottom and pushes the warmer wine up creating a natural convection inside which helps to keep all the wine about the same temperature.  With this set up the cold wine is already at the bottom and the warmer wine on top stays there.  Thus I have to turn the tanks with gas to mix the two temperature wines.  This morning I came in and the bottom was 31F, very nice, I turned on the gas and 5 minutes later the tank was at 35F, not quite cutting it for cold stability.  As I said above part of the problem is the small volume.  In the pictures you can see a normal jacket on the Riesling tank, the coils running around the outside and the split jacket on the smaller tank.  And yes that is frost on the lower jacket.  Which is why I'm sitting in my office with the door shut and the heater running.  And I wait.

I also checked on the ML in the last 4 barrels of Pinot noir and it appears to be moving, very exciting.  The yellow spots on the middle line are smaller than last time!  The discoloration in the middle is from a thermal paper receipt I had laying on top of the ML paper after it had dried.  An interesting chemical reaction, no?

Not much else to report.  Over the weekend my husband and I and some friends went up to Wandering Aengus Ciderworks and had a very enjoyable tasting.  The variety of flavors was fun and to be able to learn more of the details of the process was interesting.  I didn't find anything that reminded me of the hard cider on tap that I used to get in England but we didn't come home empty handed either.  Afterwards we tried a new french restaurant in West Salem called The Crooked House Bistro.  A tiny place with a great atmosphere and a knowledgeable waiter, always important to me.  The wine list isn't huge but has a nice selection and a good price range.  All the dishes were excellent, we especially enjoyed the charcuterie plate, and the pear tarte tatin for dessert was the perfect finish.  I highly recommend heading over there and supporting this new business.

I asked if he could feel the pea.

04 February 2011

GT is filtered!

While I must admit that this week didn't go quite as planned I am very happy that I at least filtered the Gewürztraminer.  I thought I would filter all three whites on Tuesday after the wines passed their cold stability tests but instead the Riesling and the Pinot gris both failed so those plans went out the window, or should I say roll-up door as I don't have a window.  Then while I was cleaning the filter and setting it up the wires that connect to one of the light bulbs in the sight-glass broke off and as they were already almost too short before they were definitely too short afterwards.  So Wednesday Barry brought me some more wire and today I rewired the light.  And it works!  Yeah!

So after that brief detour this morning I got the filter up and running and raced through the tiny amount of Gewürztraminer I have.  I decided to filter the GT because I want to put the Pinot gris in the smaller tank and see if I can get it to finish cold stabilizing.  Normally I would have waited to do all the wines in a row so I only have to clean the filter once and I loose less wine.  Since I wasn't able to filter everything after filtering the GT I moved the PG to the smaller tank and restarted the chilling.  Hopefully it will cold stabilize in the next few days.  I  did remember to take a picture of the filter after I was done but unfortunately the cake was already sliding down the screens when I opened the top.  In a normal run I use a lot more DE and so there is a layer 3/4" - 1" thick completely covering the screen that I have to rinse off.  This time as soon as I shut the filter off the DE started sliding off the screen by itself.  I do collect the DE, rather than letting it go down the drain, and dump it out in the ivy.  It is a great slug killer and also it doesn't then clog up our septic system.  And don't worry that is not wine sitting in the filter but water which I use to push out the last of the wine.  So hopefully next week I'll be able to filter the two other wines but I'm not holding my breath.

Yesterday was our annual pinot tasting at Montinore.  A smaller group than some years which was nice as we had more time to discuss each wine and energy to focus right to the end which was nice as I happened to have the last wine of the day.  Luck of the draw!   We tasted 2010 pinot that is currently in barrel and may or may not be done with ML.  A difficult time to taste wine as it can be very disjointed but at the same time finding faults or possible problems now gives the winemaker time to start addressing them and generally the earlier the better.  The discussions are always interesting and I was glad to get some feedback on my wine.

The last picture is of the GT before I started filtering.  Those are tartrate crystals floating on the surface.  Don't they make beautiful patterns, fractals in nature.