All fermented… almost

The "cake" of skins and stems awaits the icing after a successful pressingAs we threatened in a previous post, we partially pressed the Cabernet Sauvignon last night, putting approximately 2/3 of the must into barrel and the rest into the variable height tank for 3 weeks of solitary. I think this is the farthest we’ve ever taken a wine before pressing — no cap to speak of, indicating the yeasts had truly left the building. I thought it tasted great.

What went into the barrel was essentially all “free-run” — we didn’t actually squeeze the grapes, but poured stuff in the top of the open press, letting it percolate through the staves into a waiting bucket below, leaving grape skins and seeds behind. Because the wine becomes a lot more tannic once you start pressing (the tannin comes from the skins and seeds, after all), it’ll be interesting to see how this free run juice evolves. More interesting, of course, will be how the extended maceration changes the Cab — assuming we don’t f*** it up, that is.

And so we bid a fond farewell to the ferments of 2009: Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Pinot Gris (in that order), payload violently spent but safely past the upper atmosphere, now nestling into the vessels in which they’ll contentedly snore through winter and malolactic fermentation (a secondary fermentation that changes malic acid in the wine to softer lactic acid).

So with a tear in our eye, we cast our eye back over the good times and say goodbye to

спалниWAIT! No! [here he breaks down and sobs, smacking his arm to bring up a vein] It can’t be over already?! Please? One more ride on the sweet, fragrant roller-coaster of fermentation? Please?

And as luck and the infinite durability of yeasts would have it, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Like wild-eyed Wall Street brokers who can’t leave the thrill of derivatives alone, we’re going back to the market for one more ferment, baby! All it takes is the spent “cake” from the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon pressings, a dentist’s nightmare worth of sugar and a small ocean of water and the yeasts will take up right where they left off.

It’s a so-called “second wine,” and a chance to fill the house with perfume again. But if it doesn’t work, you’ll bail us out again, won’t you?

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