Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rain: First Rain of the 2012-2013 Rainy Season (October 22-24, 2012)

A storm blew in on the evening of the 22nd and gave us 1.15 inches of precipitation, the first rain we've had in the current rain year (the rain year begins on July 1 and ends on the following June 30). It rained again on the evening of the 23rd, adding another 0.05 inches, and then we got an additional 0.20 inches on the 24th. for a total of 1.4 inches so far. Normal annual rainfall in Santa Rosa is 36.28 inches.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wines I'm Drinking: 2008 Congress Springs Lodi Viognier

One of a group of wines I recently picked up at my local Grocery Outlet looking for bargains. This is a Viognier from Lodi made by a winery I've never heard of, but Lodi can be good, so I gave it a try. Brief tasting notes follow.

Rather pale for a Viognier. A pale straw color. Not especially forthcoming on the nose, which immediately seemed suspicious given that Viognier is usually a very expressive grape. Most Vioginer wines are distinctively scented and even a small addition of Viognier to a blend often makes it smell like Viognier. This wine didn't really smell like much of anything at all. Sweet on the palate and with some presence--suggesting substantial alcohol--but not a lot of flavor. Some hints of honey, perhaps, or even honeysuckle (or is it beeswax?), but not a lot more. Fairly long finish, but not very distinctively flavored. Not faulty or in any way unpleasant, but seems rather one-dimensional. Oddly bland while at the same time being rather easy to drink. Hmmm..... I let the wine warm up quite a lot and tasted it again and it seemed to have gained some apple pie flavors, but still not compelling. Not a bad deal at only $5.99 at Grocery Outlet, but I don't think I'd buy this again.

(I have no financial connection with any producer or retailer of wine.) 

Wines I'm Making: 2012 Cabernet Harvest

The 2012 Cabernet grapes are crushed and destemmed and resting in the garage. We picked the grapes on the morning of Thursday, the 18th, a fairly typical date. We harvested 90lbs of grapes, having lost none to raccoons or any other critters this year. Early application of two layers of nets and the electric fence worked. Netting early seems to be the key, and it's worth it to have all the grapes at the end of the season--although the nets make tending the plants a hassle. For example, this year I would liked to have removed some of the leaves covering the grapes in the most luxuriant plants to have given them extra air and sun against the formation of mold, but it was hard to do because of the nets. Thankfully, this year was cool and dry, and mold was a minor problem.

The crushed, de-stemmed grapes yielded 11 gallons of must. I lightly sulfited the must to 53ppm (nine Campden tablets in the 11 gallons of must) and will let it sit for a few days before inoculating with yeast to start fermentation. The must tested at 25.0 Brix and a pH of 3.54. pH squared times Brix was 313. The specific gravity measured 1.108 by hydrometer at about 70 degrees F.

Meanwhile, the rosé from our Sangiovese grapes is ready to be racked off the gross lees. Today is the 15th day of fermentation, and the activity has slowed greatly. I will test with the hydrometer. If it looks completely dry, I will very lightly sulfite the new wine. In about two or three weeks it will be ready for another racking and should by then be mostly clear. Usually the rosé is ready by Thanksgiving.

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