06 July 2011

Loving this weather!

And so are the grapes.  Bloom has just started in the Foch and hopefully the rest of the vineyard isn't far behind. Our be-ribboned cluster of Foch hasn't started yet but I took some pictures of clusters starting to bloom so you can see the flowers.  They aren't much to look at but they do smell amazing.  I have to admit that it took me a while to find the Foch cluster this week.  The vine had grown enough to start curling over and the cluster is now tucked in behind some leaves and turned 90 degrees.  But I found it!  So here they are: Foch and Chardonnay

I did end up fining the sparkling base with bentonite on Saturday.  I tasted the fined wines last week and decided that while the lowest level I had tested at fixed the problem it was definitely taking something from the wine.  I ran the test again at an even lower rate and the wine barely passed the test but the flavor was impacted much less so I decided to add the lowest rate and hope for the best.  I don't want to filter the wine an extra time so I am going to try settling it and racking the wine off the bentonite and then sterile bottling it.  My hope is that the bentonite will besettled  well enough to not plug up the bottling filter.  Fingers crossed!

On the home front I filtered some homemade Grand Marnier that I made back in February.  It still isn't very clear and I don't know if I would do it again as I used good brandy and so there was no cost savings but it was fun to experiment.  I used the recipe here but only added about 3/4c of sugar and did add a vanilla bean which I pulled out about a month ago.  I should have pulled the bean a little sooner as the vanilla tends to dominate to flavor but it seems to be mellowing.  I don't have a starting picture, sorry, but here are the three filters I used.  The cheese cloth with the strainer holds most of the zest, then the gold cone and lastly the tea strainer which I used twice.  The liquor isn't great for margaritas, again the vanilla, but I really like it in a Sidecar and a French Connection.

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