Archive for June, 2009

Operation Tactical Rack Begins

The early-response team of les Garagistes parachuted in a week or so ago to begin its extraction of our wines from potential bacterial danger. Its thankless mission: to secure one and a half wines, creating a beach head from which rearguard troops could make precise tactical strikes, hounding brett, VA and their terrorist minions back into their caves (pronounced “cah-ves”) and finishing them off for good.

And ladies and gentlemen, here on the aircraft carrier that is our dingy basement, I can unequivocally say, “Mission Accomplished.” Two and a half to go.

The assault began at base camp on the sunny back porch, where we opened the 2008 Rosalie Rosé to war-game its implications. This was the first time I’d tried it since we bottled it a month or so ago, so I was curious to see if its genie was ready to come back out. Jon had reported a slight fizziness when he’d opened one a week or so prior, but if it existed in the one we opened, it was very slight, indeed. The fruit was fresh and clean, and since I’d waited a day too long to drain it from the tank and start it fermenting back in the all, it was full-flavored and a lovely ruby color.

Conclusions drawn, we marched downstairs into battle carrying controversial orders to move some wine to and fro, then back into the vessel from which it came. Luckily, I was not fragged for this seemingly pointless directive. “I’m just following orders from ETS Labs Command,” I explained. My compatriots rolled their eyes, gently suggesting I discontinue the I’m-looking-nobly-into-the-future-from-a-windswept-cliff pose I’d been affecting, and do a lick of work for a change.

We racked the Cabernet Franc out of barrel and variable tank, and back into barrel and carboy. With that variable now free, we were able to move all the Syrah currently spread out across 7 carboys into a single, stainless steel home. Since there’s more Syrah than Franc, this switcheroo earned us 3-4 empty carboys to use as the situation on the ground may dictate in the future.

I was pretty happy with the Franc, actually. The last time we racked it, it was closed and even a bit vegetal in nose and mouth. But now it had regained some of its composure, with nice weight in the mouth and lovely fruit, with no veg I could detect. Perhaps it was finishing malo before? Anyway, something to keep an eye on, since the grapes weren’t super ripe to begin with.

For both wines, we sulfited to 25ppm based on .5 mg/l molecular SO2, so for now, I’m logging those wines as secured. According to the incredibly informative seminar I took at Chemeketa Community College’s sparkling Northwest Viticulture Center just outside of Salem, we’ll want to monitor free SO2 pretty frequently to ensue the wine stays healthy and our enemies gain nary a foothold.

Next up, the other half of the syrah, and all the merlot.

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