Thursday, September 27, 2012

Celebrating Syrah

The vineyard has given us the first red of 2012 today--Syrah! Grown at our Persephone vineyard, the grape is typically picked on the earlier side and this year is no different. We are always excited about crushing Syrah since it gives us two wines--a traditional red Syrah as well as a Rose.
Rose is one process in winemaking that invokes the concept of science vs art. On the one hand, winemaking involves a lot of numbers and experimentation. However, great wine cannot be achieved by following a formula. A winemaker must rely on intuition and the realization that wine is, at the end of the day, a product of nature--and we are simply here to facilitate the journey from vine to bottle.
So how long do the skins and the juice stay in contact when making rose? It's a matter of keeping a close eye on the juice, observing how it looks, smells, and tastes. And when it's just know.

Our Syrah is a wine with great back palate tannins, wild blackberry, and a hint of smoke. The rose, as you would expect, exhibits a lighter iteration of these characteristics. Juicy red berries and melon and a full, round mouthfeel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

About Our Chardonnay

This week we are bringing in Chardonnay. The process is a bit different from Sauvignon Blanc, as it is fermented in oak barrels, rather than stainless steel tanks. That said, I find our Chardonnay to be a great example of wine that is enhanced, but not dominated by oak. Winemaker Sara Fowler typically sticks to a ratio of roughly 70% neutral to 30% new oak barrels. This means--and I quote this from an unbiased, unaffiliated guest I overheard in the tasting room-- "it doesn't taste like oak, but it has the essence of it". And that elusive equilibrium is exactly what winemakers hope to achieve with neutral oak. It imparts a complexity and richness without dramatically altering the great fruit flavors Chardonnay has to offer. The result is a wine that is lively, smooth, and full flavored, with crisp apple, pear, citrus, and a little bit of spice. Here are some pictures of the French oak barrels that are already filled and beginning to ferment.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Update on Sauvignon Blanc

There is still plenty of action on the crush pad since harvest first began. Sauvignon Blanc is arriving in hefty chunks from our Persephone vineyard each week and these consistent waves are ideal for timing and pacing. As a result of this good fortune (and diligent work ethic), we are on track to finish SB with enough time to take a deep breath, have a glass of wine, and prepare for Chardonnay!

Grape Skeletons

The Juice is Worth the Squeeze

Pressed and moved into tanks within a matter of minutes

And there's still a lot more to go!