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.

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