January 30, 2010

Winemaking update

With January done, it seemed right to check in on the wines down at the winery. Sure enough, we see that malolactic fermentation in most of the pinot noir barrels is done. One barrel is strangely lagging, but no worries. I'd rather see a longer, slower ML, but that will come with time.

The next steps? Have the lab analyze barrel samples to make sure all the malic acid has been changed into lactic acid. Once that's confirmed, it's time to add sulfur to let the wines age in barrel until the end of summer. I think there will be one racking around June to show the wines some oxygen and get the wine off the sediment. Until then, it's nice to have the new wines settle out and benefit from continued contact with the lees that collect at the bottom of the barrels. They add some richness to the wines and actually help maintain freshness. By June, it will be time to siphon the off the sediment, clean the barrels, refill them, and allow the wine to drop any more sediment before bottling at the end of summer.

One other issue now is to check for ph, to see how strong the acidity of the wine is, how effective any added sulfur will be in the wine. The lower the ph, the less sulfur you need to keep things good. In a hot vintage like 2009, ph will be higher and the wines typically softer and more lush. People like that, but how high is the ph? We need to know, so that's on the docket to check too.

In all, things continue to go very well. I can't help but be terribly excited about it all. Sure, in time the thrill will fade. I just hope it doesn't fade too much. Somehow I think that will take a very long time, if it ever happens.

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