A Tasting from the Cellar

We had a few friends over last night and decided to take them down to the cellar to share in our first taste of our 2019 vintage of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

First our Chardonnay. We only have 1 carboy of Chardonnay from our estate grown Wente 72 clone – planted in June of 2017. This Chard has undergone crush, press, primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation – It has been racked off the lees a few times and has a really wonderful color and clarity to it. Best of all – we poured 6 tastes; and everyone agreed it looked, smelled and tasted like Chardonnay … good Chardonnay!

After the taste we topped it again with argon and put the airlock back on. It’s ready for bottling which we will do toward the end of May.

Look Ma .. no fining !
Our 2019 Wente 72 Chardonnay
Can’t wait to bottle it up and start enjoying it.

Moving on … like a true flight tasting. We next tasted our practice batch of Pinot Noir which was made from grape must be purchased frozen from Brehm Vineyards.

Again .. excellent color and clarity. We aren’t great at identifying the nose of wines. Sometimes we recognize a hint of berry or chocolate .. much of the time if we read the label or someone suggests what the tasting notes are .. then we are easily swayed to believe that. Our wine vocabulary sounds more down-to-earth. We use words like YUM or SMOOTH, or SOFT or HEAVY. We are still learning. Not only on growing and making wine but tasting wine. We already know how to drink wine. Lots of it .. but it takes some effort to slow down and really taste it.

So happy with the color

The Brehm is also in really great shape. We know that red wines will mellow out as they age so the slightly heavy tannins we tasted will probably smooth out. This wine has undergone 2 different MLF inoculations. Malolactic fermentation which introduces a bacteria that turns the malic acid into lactic acid .. giving wines like many reds and Chardonnay a nice mouth feel. We will be bottling this carboy in May.

Our estate grown Pinot which was harvested very early in Sept of 2019 due to an impending SNOW on Sept 9. Our brix was only 16-17º – on average and we needed 23º. We were forced to use a process called Chaptalization (adding sugar .. a lot of sugar) to the wine. Not enough sugar= not enough alcohol .. and nobody wants that! So we added 19 pounds of white sugar from the local restaurant supply store!

This wine is lacking color. We have 4 carboys of it. 3 of them are straight free run. Free run comes from putting the fermented grape must into the press and just letting it gravity drain into a carboy without using any pressure on the skins. In a perfect harvest – the free run has the potential to be the creme de la creme of your batch of wine. In our case .. in this vintage of grapes – not quite ready for picking … our PRESSED wine has more potential . As for the clarity .. it’s slightly cloudier than the Brehm and it tastes a bit like a Boones Farm fruit wine. The jury is out on what we will do with these carboys of wine.

Comparing the Brehm to our estate grown Pinot
Wine is best shared with friends~

2021 Dormant Pruning

Needless to say when we planted this Vineyard Project we never expected to be splitting our time between two homes. Any winemaker professional or backyard enthusiast will tell you that growing and producing wine is a year-round venture.

Nevertheless here we are. It’s early spring at 47° 39’ and were back to give the vineyard a very important haircut. Spur pruning while the vines are still dormant to get rid of the year old “wood” from last year.

From Silver Oak Cellars who can explain it better than I can, “Spur-pruned vines have the look you might expect from grapevines. They are cordon-trained, meaning they have that classic “T” shape you see when driving by a dormant vineyard. All the wood that makes up the “T” is old wood that has been trained over many years into that shape. Those horizontal arms are called “cordons,” on which are spaced vertical spurs every six inches or so (approximately a hand-width). It is from those spurs that we get new vine growth each season.”

Spur Pruning

Powdery Mildew Strikes Again.

Yep. It’s happened again. Powdery Mildew. It’s the #1 disease among grapevines and it’s more prevalent in cooler climates. It’s a fungus. It can ruin a cluster, a vine, a lot or even an entire vineyard.

We had about 7 of 50 plants affected last year. We did not use a fungicide. This year we did use fungicide as mentioned in a previous post. We sprayed several times but it was too late to control. Now we have 75% or more of our vineyard now affected. Both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir showing signs of mildew.

The fruit afflicted with this disease will not render a good harvest. Fruit set will be poor and they will not ripen well or evenly. Here’s how it looks: