Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pressing Matters :Solomon Hills Pinot Harvest Log 2007


The yeast have had their way with the 9 tons of 2007 Solomon Hills pinot. It's was at -2 Brix and ready to be barrelled down into a mix of new and older french barrels. 4 tanks were fermented with Assmanhausen and 4 used another. Yes, you read that right, the yeast is called.. Assmanhausen. Anyway, This should result in differing complexity that will contribute to the final blend.

But before I got to take the juice out of the tanks and move it to the barrels.. I got schooled in the art of barrel washing and sanitizing. After filling with water and dumping, you use a barrel washer ( really a sprinkler like device) hooked up to an Ozonater to give a final rinse to the barrels so you can resuse barrels from the prior year. The idea is that these barrels will impart less oak to the wine compared to the new barrels and thus giving the winemaker more options for blending and thus a more complex final product.

Then I drew off the free run( juice in the tank) from below the cap ( grape solids) and moved the free run pinot noir juice to their new expensive french oak habitat. These barrels will later be transfected with a secondard malolatic fermenting beastie ( yeast) to finish the red wine fermentation. Malolactic Fermentation yeast beasts will, by just being themselves,change the Tart malic acid to the softer tasting lactic acid and thus make yummy well rounded pinot. Hence the name : Malo--> lactic fermentation.

The solids left in the vats were taken to the Bladder Press for a gentle nudge by a large air bag to coax more precious wine out of them. This wine was moved to a stainless steel tank for and will be racked into barrels in the morning.

We got to taste the Press run coming off and its certainly baby wine at this point. It had distinct notes of tartness. The astrigency is hard to miss at this stage, akin to drinking cranberry juice, the fruit is fleeting and then seems to dry your tongue out. But no bitterness at all, so so far things are looking up for the 2007 Solomon Hills Pinot Noir!

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