Merlot and Cab safely to bed

Delicious cab juiceLast weekend we pressed the Cabernet to glad cries: the stuff tasted positively fantastic. Deep, resonant fruit accentuated by a high-def backbone of acid and tannin. Delicious. Can’t wait to see how it matures and fleshes out in the barrel, but my guess is that we won’t have too many votes to blend this one entirely away.

For the next few months, this baby will hang its hat in a one-year-old Remond Allier MT. Unlike previous years, we’re going to try to keep the wines (Cab, Franc, Merlot) in the same barrel, rather than racking between barrels more or less indiscriminately. With luck, we’ll get more of a sense of what these barrels do to a wine (though of course, different varietals in different barrels will make cross-comparison impossible).

We also pressed the Merlot the week before. There’s a line in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale where someone advises a homely shepherdess comically convinced of her beauty, “Sell when you can. You are not for all markets.” That’s a bit like the Merlot, at least for the moment. At first blush, it’s a lovely wine to smell, but ultimately, that may be its most comely attribute. There’s decent structure (mostly from acid, as opposed to tannin), and nice fruit, but at least for me, it lost interest and went back to filing its nails somewhere around mid palate. Hopefully that will improve with some time in the fine, French oak pied-à-terre we got for it (a Gillet 2006 Allier MT).

Pics below the fold…

Red Sox NationFor the Merlot press, James supervised from the second floor to ensure the best possible results – for the wine and the Red Sox, at that point in a do-or-die struggle with Cleveland in Game 5 of the ALCS (that’s Manny on screen). Both efforts were successful. After all, how do you think those sox got red?

Merlot pressLooking down the barrel of our oak-staved press as the must meets its destiny. Note the high-tech instruments we use as ladles – they were just going to cook something, anyway.

Getting our hands dirtyIt’s the liminal period between free run and press: you stick your arms into the goo and force some new channels for juice to flow through and out of the press. Maybe slightly more tannic than free run, but with twice the red arm pleasure.

Yes, it turns our crankYes, this is one of the things that truly turns our crank. It’s the top of our press, a gnarly hunk of iron with two gears from Italy.

Delicious cab juiceFree run Cabernet Sauvignon gushes from the press, overjoyed to be, at last, a Garagiste wine.

3 comments

3 Comments so far

  1. Corranc November 6th, 2007 11:11 am

    Great recap of a great evening!
    How did the lamb turn out?

  2. Veronica November 7th, 2007 4:17 am

    Looks like fun! Even more so, looks like a lot of hard work. Cheers!

  3. Les Blog » The rack: March edition March 20th, 2008 8:30 am

    […] good tannins which are getting better with every racking (I’ll bet from the wood — see here for our oak strategy this year), transporting aromas of pencil shavings and saddle. This […]