October 26, 2007

Waiting to press

My 2007 Pinot Noir is nearly done fermenting, 12 days after harvest. Normally I'd want to leave the new wine on its skins for up to several days to gain more winey complexity, but this year wasn't so ripe so I'll press Sunday. That's exactly two weeks from the October 14 harvest date. Leaving it any longer would probably lead to too much tannin in the wine, though I even wonder if two more days is already waiting too long. So far it seems fine, so I'm not going to worry about it.

Meanwhile the rose and chardonnay are still bubbling away, as I expect them to do for a while longer. They've seemed to go a bit faster than I might have expected, so I shouldn't be surprised if they finish up more quickly. I'm not taking brix readings until they slow down considerably. With fermentations, I've learned that if they're doing well then don't worry about them. It's really that simple.

Down at the winery, I spent a few hours this afternoon labelling 2006 Pinot Noir and then punching down the remaining fermentations. There are only eight 1.5 ton bins left, and they're getting pretty soft. We'll press most of them tomorrow, maybe Sunday but I hope not. I haven't worked 12 hour days every day, but I've worked every day for about the past three or four weeks and I'd like a day off. Still, the harvest guy works when there's work to be done. Plus, no matter how it shakes out, this is the end of harvest. Next weekend I'll definitely put my feet up.

Leaving the winery around 5pm on what was a stunningly clear afternoon, I couldn't help but stop and stare for a moment at the autumn scene. Vineyards and orchards on Ribbon Ridge looking east to the vine covered southwestern slopes of the Chehalem Mountains...simply beautiful. I ended up driving over Worden Hill Road through the heart of the Dundee Hills to see the yellowing canopies and nothing but second crop on the vines. Certainly there are grapes still to be harvested, but in many high elevation vineyards, I saw nothing left. I was surprised, actually.

Tonight's tasting note, the 1998 Domaine du Joncier Lirac, an old favorite bargain wine from the southern Rhone. In its youth, it tasted like a nice Edmunds St. John Syrah that's California wine that tastes French. Now the Joncier smells bottle sweet and beautiful, but in the mouth the wine is coming apart with medicinal flavors and disjointed alcohol. Not a total washout by any means, but certainly something to have drunk sooner. Of course, I was warned not to age this, but I couldn't help trying with one. You win some, you lose some. And I suppose if this is losing, it ain't all bad.


Anonymous said...

Hey Vince, reading all your harvest posts I have to say I am insanely jealous, especially being stuck here in NJ. Regarding the Joncier, it sounds like you're in the same boat as me, owning alot of wine bought in the 90s and now have waited too long to drink some of it. Was that a North Berkeley wine? I still have some work to do on my stash for sure.

Anyway, I hope you, J, D and M are all doing well.
-Paul P.

Vincent Fritzsche said...

Hey Paul, it sure has been a long time. So good to "see" you here. The Joncier is a Kermit Lynch wine. Happily, I don't have much that I've held too long. I'm actually glad to know I didn't drink this one too quickly. I never buy too much of one thing, so it's more common for me to finish things off too soon.

Yes, the family's well. Hope the same is true with you. Email me at vincentfritzsche(at)yahoo(dot)com and let's reconnect.

林依晨Amber said...
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