29 April 2011

Sparkling wine here we come!

I started this week off with a quick trip up to Amity Vineyards to ask Myron and Darcy to taste my white wines which I am prepping to bottle and to borrow a small lab filter to start this sparking wine experiment.  I think getting feedback from others on my wines is great.  New palates often notice things and have new ideas on how a wine might be better and sometimes they just say great job, which is always good to hear.  The view from Amity is great and on a clear day you can see through the Van Duzer corridor and get a feel for the weather on the coast.  However it was a misty rainy day on Monday so I couldn't get a picture of the full effect you'll just have to stop by and see for yourself.  And of course drink some lovely wines.

Back to sparkling wine experimentation.  Last week, as I'm sure all you loyal readers know, I put 5 bottles of the sparkling base in the fridge to cold stabilize which it did very nicely.  I also made up a very strong sugar/wine solution to be my fermentation liquor so that the new yeast would have a food source, the small flask in the background.  That went in the fridge as well.  Finally yesterday my yeast showed up.  I was very excited.  I have never worked with yeast beads before or even seen them.  The beads are made up of an alginate skin that traps the yeast cells inside while still allowing the wine/juice to flow through.  Traditionalists are scoffing at me as they read I am sure but the great advantage for me with the beads is that the riddling step is removed.  Because the yeast is trapped the wine never gets cloudy and when it is time to disgorge the wine, remove the spent yeast, the beads just roll to the neck and the process continues from there.  

Part of my experiment is to find out how much sugar I need to add to the wine to get the right amount of bubbles.  The next part, in a few weeks, is to figure out how much sugar to add to the wine to bring it in the balance for drinking, but more on that later.  So back to yesterday.  I used the nifty lab filter I borrowed from Amity to filter my 5 bottles of sparkling base, transferred the wine to the champagne bottles, added the sugar solution at varying levels and the yeast beads.  Finally I put a crown cap on the bottles, set them in front of the heater for a little while to help warm the wine up so the yeast don't have to work as hard and set them in a box to ferment.  It is supposed to take 3 - 6 weeks but I have no idea how to tell when the fermentation is over in the bottle.  I don't know if you can tell without opening a bottle.  Steep learning curve here.  Wish me luck! I threw in the picture of the used pads so you can see the tartrates I filtered out also some of the color I lost too. Another decision I will have to make, pink or white? Any thoughts?
Also ran a few aspirations, have to keep an eye on those reds in barrel while messing with my new project don't you know.

And, just to keep you updated on the house, more of the floor went in and I am loving the color.  Watching the cats slip and slide on it is very entertaining as well.  Apparently newly waxed wood floors are much slipperier than linoleum.  The hall way used to be carpeted and was their racing strip, the floors have definitely thrown a wrench in that pastime. The washer and dryer are back in their homes and we just have one room left, 8 more boxes to go!  Hope to be done this weekend.  Fingers crossed.  Don't mention all the trim that needs to be painted and put back on please!

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