Friday, November 5, 2010

Wines I'm Making: A Busy Time of Year (2010)

This is a busy time of year because of all the winemaking going on--a winery in miniature is in operation here. Yesterday I bottled the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc to make room for the Sangiovese rosé in the only six-gallon containers I have. The rosé appeared to be mostly finished fermenting--on day 18, the longest fermentation I've done so far. But I 'm only the shepherd; the time it takes is the time it takes. Next chore (although a pleasant one) will be to design labels for the 2009 wines--and, before too long, for the 2010 rosé; the rosé should be ready to sample by around Christmas.

The turbid, fermenting rosé was beginning to clear as the action of the yeast slowed, and the wine tasted dry, so I thought it best to limit oxygen exposure by racking the wines into a single big container. I sulfited lightly (four Campden tablets in six gallons plus three fifths, or about 40ppm). Sulfite is supposed to kill any yeast still alive, but I suspect it wasn't enough because the wine continues to send up streams of fine bubbles, and the airlock is still percolating. That's just as well. The new rosé is now protected from oxidation at least to some extent by the sulfites and the lack of air space in the new container, and any ongoing fermentation will make the wine completely dry, the way I like it.

I put the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc into 30 bottles but left one uncorked. We tasted it last night for the first time. It was in shock from the bottling and the sulfiting, so not at its best, but it was enough to get a first impression. I'm very pleased. I reserved some overnight in a decanter, helping to blow off sulfites and giving the wine air--it had developed some lovely leathery scents, rose-like scents, and cocoa scents. The palate was broader and more generous too, again marked by leather and cocoa. An excellent effort, if I say so myself. The photo shows toasted oak staves that were in the resting wine for a full year and the siphon filling bottles.

The 2010 Cab is still in the front room undergoing malolactic fermentation. Soon that will be done. It's been 11 days since the wine was inoculated. Activity appears to have slowed, but malolactic fermentations can be hard to judge. I will have to test it. I have every reason to hope the 2010 wine will be better even than the wine just bottled--the vines are a year older, I know what I'm doing now, the vines didn't suffer from mold or critter attacks (raccoons) because I've got the sulfur spraying, netting, summer trimming, and electric fence down to a routine now. As long as the weather cooperates. This year, we made good wine despite difficult weather. Should be ready for anything now--except the unexpected.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails