Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wines I'm Making: Harvest in About a Week? (2010)

I tested a representative sample of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes today. This past week of hot weather looks likely to salvage what was looking like a rather dismal harvest this year. There is a minimum of mold on the grapes--despite the long, wet spring and cool early summer (with the last rain in the first week of June, I believe), and, despite the short spells of very hot weather this week and in August (with temperatures spiking well into the 100s for a day or two), not too many berries look withered or sunburned (although the Sangiovese has suffered more in this regard than the Cabernet).

The Cabernet grapes tested at 21.5 brix and a pH of 3.28. A sugar level of about 24-25 brix and a pH of around 3.4 would be ideal. We may get that if the weather holds for another week or so and if it cools down a little bit. The seeds still don't look quite mature--mostly medium brown with a hint of green and with a fair amount of pulp sticking to them.

I've watered the grapes only twice this year (normally three or four times), once for six hours in mid-August and once for three hours on September 24 or so. If I had been here over the summer to water once in July, things would have been better, but I was in Europe.

The Sangiovese grapes tested at only around 16 brix--quite low for this time of year. I suspect these will have more of a problem getting fully ripe than the Cabernet. I'd like them to get to at least 20 before harvesting. Around 22-23 is ideal for rosé. We will be making only rosé from the Sangiovese grapes this year in any case. The seeds look very mixed--some are quite brown, hard, and crunchy, others are quite green, and that about sums up the Sangiovese grapes. I think the low brix level is, as much as anything, because of very uneven ripening. We will have to wait and watch, but the Cabernet may be ready for picking in a week to ten days, the Sangiovese in perhaps two weeks.

In 2009, we harvested both the Cabernet and the Sangiovese on September 29. In 2008, we harvested the Sangiovese on October 4 and the Cabernet on October 7.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails