Monday, October 25, 2010
Seven Days of Pain...
This was certainly not an optimal situation. Our hand was forced by the rainy weather that is with us this weekend and perhaps for another two weeks. Some of the fruit came in a little less ripe than we would've liked, but overall the fruit that ended up in the tanks after extensive sorting looks and tastes pretty damn good. The fruit from my current home, Stermer Vineyard, was a very pleasant surprise which I'm sure allowed Anthony, head winemaker extraordinaire, to sleep better at night.
The photo is from a sunset at Wascher Vineyard and I thought that it was a fitting photographic allegory for where we are right now. The madness of harvest came and went in a furious week, and we're in the home stretch now. We'll hopefully be doing our last day of fruit processing on Wednesday.
Some of the tanks are starting to foam away, developing their their characteristic cap, finally allowing me to get my fix on the smell of fermentation. The wines here at Lemelson rely on wild yeasts for fermentation, which can be a bit unpredictable. However, I think the resulting wines are better and have better character. But, most of all, I think this is another important element of the much sought after terroir. To go to the trouble of trying express a unique combination of climate, grapes and soil and then toss in a yeast created in a lab that always behaves the same through fermentation (because it's designed to) removes a huge element of terroir.
Our life right now is centered around fermentation management and care, meaning we'll be maintaining temperatures, keeping the cap wet and the tanks well mixed through punchdowns and essentially making sure nothing weird happens (the dreaded specters of ethyl acetate and volatile acidity). I've already started coming up with names for my favorite ferments.