Archive for November, 2007

Racking

NOTE: moved a week earlier than previously posted. New date is April 9

Rack the Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Franc; top up as necessary

Garagistes: MG, JL, KF, GW

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Racking

Rack the Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Franc; top up as necessary

Garagistes: MG, JMQ, BS, SS

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Racking

Rack the Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Franc; top up as necessary

Garagistes: MG, WD, MH, DA

NOTE: changed to Tuesday night instead of Wednesday

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Topping

Make sure all barrels are topped up; replace airlocks with bungs as necessary.

Garagistes: MG, RB

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Topping

Make sure all barrels are topped up; replace airlocks with bungs as necessary.

Garagistes: MG, MC

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What’s the coating on a ratchet press?

The bed or base of our wine pressAnyone have any idea what kind of coating is used on the bed of a basic ratchet wine press?

We have a #45 (25 gallon) ratchet-driven wine press, and it’s seen it all, from sublime Klipsun Cabernet to sickening Danielle Steele Pinot Noir (the latter an early winemaking adventure best left to a future post). And it shows. The bed (on which the basket holding the fruit is set) is chipped and scratched, so deeply that we’re starting to get rust — not usually the flavor we’re looking to add to a tasty wine, and certainly not the tint we want fresh out of the fermenter.

So is this a re-enameling thing? Or some kind of paint (presumably food-grade)? Or something else space age (and hopefully, vaguely earth-friendly)?

Any information or advice would be appreciated in the comments! (full pics below the fold)
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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…

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