Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Pressing Matter

Juices flowing (Charlotte Ferrier)
A few weeks ago we finished off the last of the work pressing grape skins for that extra bit of flavor and juice and then transferring the immature wine into oak barrels for maturation.  It will sit and soak in the barrels for the next year gaining complexity and character as it passes through malolactic fermentation and begins to take on a new aroma and flavors.  We will taste the barrels each week or two becoming familiar with the aging process and learning how a young, still closed off, Pinot Noir becomes one of the most highly sought after wines in the world.

We also went to visit our friends Mike and Claudia Weersing over at Pyramid Valley Wines to see how their wine was coming along.  They take every step necessary, with scientific precision, to ensure that the purity of their terrior remains wholly intact from the use of native yeasts to local clay and oak.  It is an impressive operation with 100% effort focused on quality. Mike has studied in france for 20 years and is now a Winemaker Guru of sorts offering a helping hand and what knowledge he can share with anyone keen to learn.

Keeping it clean. (Charlotte Ferrier)
Cedric and the "Antill Reserve" barrel. (Charlotte Ferrier)

However, back to Antill Estate...  I dropped into each tank for the last time to scoop out every bit of skin and lees i could find for the press.  Bucket by bucket the original 6 tons of grapes were converted to just over 3 tons of wine and a whole lot of left over skins which would then be used as fertilizer for the vines.  After squeezing out as much juice as you can from grape skins in the press you are left over with a grape skin cake... but dont be fooled.  It does not taste as good as it might look. In fact when I tried it, as I do, the skins were virtually tasteless.  All flavor had been extracted from them through fermentation and soaking, just another good sign of the potential quality in this years vintage.

Grape skin cake (Charlotte Ferrier)

He's so photogenic! (Charlotte Ferrier)

Oak barrels ready for filling. (Charlotte Ferrier)

Stomping grapes at Pyramid Valley, an inspirational pioneer in producing organic wine preserving true terrior character. (Charlotte Ferrier)

Clay pots used in place of oak barrels to preserve the pure terrior of Pyramid Valley Winery. (Charlotte Ferrier)

"Always carry a corkscrew and the wine shall provide itself"
~Basil Bunting~

1 comment:

  1. I have to send these pictures to our French cousins, they'll appreciate it as much as anyone.