Archive for January, 2013

More like Prudy, please

A nice, if not entirely deep profile in Slate of humble viticulturist Prudy Foxx, who relies as much on intuition and experience as science in managing world-class vineyards. Says one of her clients,

She’s just one of those people with great intuition, and in grape growing, that’s so important. It’s so refreshing to walk the vineyards with her. She has all the botanical and scientific knowledge, but it is the intuitive side that is so important to growing anything. It is in her veins.


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First racking of 2013

Last night Garagistes Mark, Barabara and Greg convened in the basement with me to mess with the heads of our Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Or in other words, racking — moving a wine from one vessel to another to variously fine by leaving sediment behind, soften tannins, and add a touch of oxygen to nudge the wine a bit further toward maturity.

First up was the Merlot, which I’d been snuggling in an electric blanket in order to move malolactic fermentation along. Aside from turning the malic acid in a wine to lactic acid (which works to soften the overall je ne sais quoi), malo also produces a bit of CO2, creating a thin blanket of protection from evil-doers like bacteria and over-exposure to oxygen. The problem is that malo starts so close to winter, it usually doesn’t have much time to bask and thrive in the coveted 55-degree-and-up weather window. As a result, it often goes into hibernation, job unfinished, until things warm up in the spring. So, because you can’t protect the wine with sulfite (which would hobble the malo even more than the temperature), that means the wine’s unprotected until the birds start to sing again.

To get around this, I’ve been moving the blanket around the cellar in order to keep malo from slacking off and refreshing its Facebook page until April. Then, as soon as a wine’s done, I can zap it with a little sulfite and all bacterial boarders will be repelled.

So when we went to rack, the Merlot sounded nearly through malolactic fermentation. Read more

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