As the last clusters of grapes rattled through the destemmer and precious berries rolled down the shoot into the fermenting vessel, we all breathed a sigh of relief: la fin de la vendange, the end of harvest. Though in reality this signaled only the finish of work in the vineyard; the work in the cellar continues unabated.
Red ferments are monitored and the cap (skins that rise to the surface of the tank) are punched down into the frothy, ebullient must (fermenting wine). Juice recently pressed from white grapes is allowed to settle its sediment in stainless steel tanks for a few days and is then racked (moved) to barrels. In most cases the yeasts emanate from the skins of the grapes, the source of fermentation therefore being the vineyard from whence the fruit comes. As red wines finish fermenting, they are pressed to tanks for a few days of settling before being “barreled down” (racked to 220 liter oak barrels). And as the white wines approach the end of fermentation, they are topped up and will slowly finish as the cellar heads to winter.
On a quiet day with no other activity happening around the winery, the cellar is a magical place to be. Fermentation locks on the tops of all of the barrels gurgle and sing to each other throughout the dimly lit subterranean chamber. Aromas waft by…at one moment grapefruit rind from a white ferment, at another leather and blackberry from a red.
I find myself smiling. Another vintage under my belt; I have lost track of how many, but in a world that lives on comparisons and analogies, I know that this is one is special.
Recent News & Rants
I am a bit perplexed by the popularity of a relatively new genre of wine: “Natural Wines”. In my opinion, this is a narrow and arbitrary classification meant to suit the marketing needs of whoever is using it. When I see a cloudy wine and am told “Oh this is a natural wine”, I am compelled to retort “I can’t think of anything more natural than gravity…maybe the winemaker should have waited to rack his wine for bottling!” And when one encounters a wine which is either oxidized or smells of fingernail polish remover or has been brutalized by a lactic acid bacteria infection, sure these are “natural processes” but they also emanate from poor winemaking practices.There’s More... >
2016 was an extremely dry and warm vintage. Because of water stress, the berries were smaller and crop smaller than usual. However, a beneficient rain in early September re-hydrated the fruit and the result is a cellar of very concentrated and wonderfully balanced wines. Get ready for a brilliant 2016 vintage of small production down the road!There’s More... >
Guido, our 18 year old Tuxedoed cat, quietly passed away on August 18. For 17 vintages, Guido was our constant companion in the cellar, in the vineyard, in the yurt.There’s More... >