November 14, 2011
Harvest 2011 part 2: grapes!
In most years, October 20 would see the last grapes coming in to local wineries. Ok, some late, late pickers and people who make Riesling would still be holding on. The point remains, this was a very late beginning to harvest and yet look at the sky. Beautifully blue, the ground dry, even a bit dusty after more than a week of dry weather (that would continue almost through the month).
I always like to taste berries and occasionally chomp into a cluster to see how things taste, careful to avoid seeds. This year, the flavors are ripe but the acidity seems strong, giving a fresh quality to the flavors, an energy that I'm looking for. The grape skins seem relatively thick, perhaps because of the cool year, and I think that I want to make sure the wines don't end up too tannic. File that thought away.
From here, the clusters go through the destemmer to separate the grapes from their stems, dropping the berries into a fermenter waiting below. We end up filling three small fermenters with the fruit from three different blocks at Armstrong, each to be fermented and barrel aged separately before we blend in about year before bottling. Now comes the waiting period, where the grapes sit undisturbed until they ferment on their own. This year, as usual, it takes several days to begin. More on that next time.