“What exactly are you doing in the cellar this time of year” is a frequent question received from fans. It is true that once our Syrah or Grenache or Pinot or Chardonnay head to barrel we trust all that is left to do is wait and blend. Blending surely is something we spend a lot of time doing when we are not visiting our loyal customers during the off-season! And while vineyard visits have begun in earnest for 2012, cellar duties are largely limited to the realm of quality control.
Our Assistant Winemaker extraordinaire Joe Nielsen has a regular program of barrel and lot sampling set up to eye the progress of our wines. There are several easy measurements we can make that act as proxies to potential problems we would want to know about. The principle of these is a rise in Volatile Acidity (VA). VA is collection of different aromatic compounds, the primary being acetic acid, or in lay terms: vinegar. Most spoilage organisms…wait, let me explain Continue reading
Learn about why we mix fermenting wine with a punch down. Enjoy!
Wineries frequently advertise minimalist winemaking, gentle handling, little to no intervention, and a hands off approach as methods for producing wines of terroir. This assumes that little to no intervention is 1) practiced, and 2) valuable to driving what makes wines terrific. To some extent I completely agree, one of the definitions of great fruit is that there is little required in the cellar to transform it to great wine. But has the idea of “minimalistic” been framed in terms that are too black and white? It seems we have begun to couch the discussion in two camps: those who highly intervene making wines of effort and those who do very little – native ferments, “gentle” pump overs or punch downs, and other minimal handling of the grapes. The former is considered antithetical to producing a wine of terroir, and the latter the prescription for producing a wine of terroir.
Now I agree that less is more: fewer additions of water, acid, yeast, bacteria, tannins, enzymes, velcorin, etc. generally affords one the ideal opportunity to make a wine that Continue reading