October 21, 2008

Home wine, day 4

My half ton of pinot noir is still soaking in the garage, hanging out around 51F. I'd like it a bit lower but then again I'd like it to start fermenting in a day or three. It smells clean and fresh. Tonight is clear and cold again, so I have the doors open to let the cold air in. I'll let it ride. Guidance without much intervention.

Talking with a winemaking friend this evening while doing a few punchdowns, I was reminded about his thoughts after the 2006 vintage, that he might have tried to get a bit more out of the grapes that year than he did. This year is more classically balanced than 2006, with better acidity and not the potential overripeness. Just the conditions to not hold back and soak the must too briefly and ferment too quickly. Instead, why not let things go three weeks if they can, to get the most out of the grapes, with better depth and complexity in the finished wine.

So I'm not going to push the start of fermentation too much. And I'll see how long I can go before pressing. Election Day is in two weeks. I thought maybe that's when pressing might happen, 17 days after harvest, though that was a rough plan, nothing exact. But why not see if we can hold on? I think the more winey wines are made from longer vatting. Early pressing preserves the fresh fruit, and while I don't want to lose all the freshness, I want wine that smells and tastes winey, not just fruity. As long as things don't show any bitterness or hard tannin, I'm on board to let things go as long as I can.

That's where things stand tonight. Meanwhile, those with fruit still hanging are looking at terrific final ripening. My favorite forecaster has tw0 70F days in the 7-day forecast, with some mid to upper 60s as well. Crazy nice weather for this time of year. It's late October after all. Lots of people have great grapes in the cellar already. Some people are going to bring in incredible stuff, provided rot hasn't set in too much. This is a nice year for Oregon pinot noir, very nice.

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