|Monday August 20, 2007
Reluctantly I am entering the Harvest Fair. I'll have more later.
I love Pinot Noir......not for drinking, but for creating!! I will be creating our first Estate Pinot Noir on Wednesday. I love it because Pinot will always be harvested in August and I love making wine. Pinot will extend our Harvest by starting 2 weeks before Zinfandel. This year we may get as little as 200 pounds. I hope to have enough for a 15 gallon barrel. That would only produce 6 cases. We will be selling it this weekend, since it is our open house and it will be just starting to ferment. As most of you know I have never restricted sales and thus I have always let First Come, First Served; But this time I will just take a waiting list and no payment up front. I want to see how much I produce and how the quality will be. Any of you who can't be here can just send me an e-mail to sign up. Yesterday the sugar was 24.7 and the ph was 3.50, perfect!!
Wednesday August 22, 2007
9:00Am We just finished harvesting our first Estate Pinot Noir. The 236 pounds were harvested from 50 vines planted in April of 2004. We should have about 500 lbs next year along with another 500 lbs harvested from the Pinot we planted in February this year. Thus next year we should have enough to make a barrel which should produce over 20 cases. This year the 236 lbs should produce about 8 cases. As I said Monday I am taking a waiting list for an allocation of bottles. The cost per bottle will be at least $20 on Futures. The initial brix is 25.6 so I am real happy. We had to crush by hand and separate the stems from the berries which took well over an hour. I just ordered a 15 gallon Francois Freres French oak barrel which costs $350. The barrel alone amounts to $3 a bottle. To press that small amount will take a long time. I am hopeful that in the end I will have a great wine.
4:00Pm The PH on the Pinot turned out to be 3.4, great acid. I am real happy. I also had Catarino pick 4 different types of Zinfandel from the 3rd Block, which is usually the first section picked. I wasn't surprised to get numbers all over the place. We will have to pick at least two times. We had some unripe bunches at 16.8 Brix, some ripe looking bunches at 26.2 and half Zin reading about 23.5. We have tentatively decided to pick next Thursday. The Ph now is a low 3.3 so I am hoping the acid will come down in one more week. I am excited!! We may be picking Zinfandel in August again.
Friday August 24, 2007
My Juices are finally flowing Again, Harvest is upon Us.
We are heading into Harvest!! I know we picked our Pinot, but we are not into the real Season until we pick ZINFANDEL!! We will be picking Zinfandel next week. It has been warm, but that isn't the whole story. I know I did mention my concern with the blooming earlier this year. I think I stated I hoped the bunches would fill out. Actually they looked like they were filling out at first, but by June I was concerned. I didn't want to mention to anyone that this could be a tough Vintage. As I have said before (Look back on my diaries) I have seen vintages with poor quality when bunches are shattered, not completely filled out. These shattered small berries can contain some very bitter juice. For this reason I have also said small yielding crops can produce less quality wine.
But now I can safely predict this will be a great Vintage. These shattered bunches........Wait I would classify Zinfandel as the most varied bunch of grapes that I have seen. An average Zinfandel grape bunch weighs about one pound and consists of probably 30 to 60 berries; you could take a sample of each berry and I bet there would be not one reading the same. On a total 24 sugar bunch, you could have a berry at 20 brix and berries at over 26 brix. It makes it very difficult to ferment and have a successful Zinfandel. We winemakers have been very successful in Northern California. We have learned.
Now to get back to these Zinfandel bunches for this 2007 Harvest: In the last several weeks these very small berries have filled out a little to the size of a small pea. They have a small amount of concentrated wonderful juice. There are bunches in our vineyard which are normal looking and there are bunches that still have big pink berries. We are custom crushing and bottling wine for the Wine Guerrilla again and we have taken samples from two vineyards that Bruce has chosen. One vineyard is the Price Family in Lytton Springs which will be the third year that we have made wine. And the other is Goat Trek from a vineyard high up the hill across the valley. We have taken in many samples from both vineyards in the last two days. There are no pink berries from anything I have seen from Goat Trek Zinfandel. On average I am getting about 25 brix with very small berries. The Price Family is on average at about 24 brix.
We will be Harvesting Goat Trek on Tuesday, Price Family on Wednesday or Thursday and our Vineyard on Friday. The fun begins!!
Monday August 27, 2007
Some of you have asked about my Pinot Noir and how it will be aged. I will probably age it in the new 15 gallon French barrel for a very short time, just enough to get a little oak. Small barrels do depart more oak than a larger one. I will then age other wines in the new barrel until June and then put the Pinot back in for the last month. By then the barrel should be departing less oak. This morning the Pinot was already down to 14% sugar so we will have to press it by this weekend. When not in oak, the Pinot will be stored in a 15 gallon stainless steel keg. It would be nice to find a 15 gallon neutral barrel.
Tuesday August 28, 2007
We got in most of the Goat Trek Zin. We may get more tomorrow. It looked really good. We only crushed 4 bins. It was very hot this evening so I want to wait for the morning when it will be cold to crush the rest.
I checked the two one ton fermenters. I already have 27.4 brix. I need low sugar Zin Or no problem I will put in water. Any Zin is better than water!!
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