A Day in the Life of a Winemaker
We began doing barrel tastings today and started blending trials of the 2013 red wines. Over the past few years we experimented with lots of new techniques from processing to fermentation to aging of the wine. We have used many different types of yeast in the past two years to see the effect in taste and complexity they will have on the finished wines. We even included some European oak in our trials this past year just to see what difference in style of aging the wines will generate.
The wines have been resting now for 6 months, mellowing and aging, so this morning (yes it was 9:30am) we started pulling samples and tasting. It’s tough being a winemaker, but who else will do such a grueling job? OK, everybody, don’t all call at once. We had a dozen glasses, a few barrel thief’s (a thief is a glass tube, sort of looks like a turkey baster without the bulb) and a note pad. It was time to get to work. Ming (my co-winemaker) and I started pulling samples (to taste, of course). Reserve Chardonnay first, followed by our regular Chardonnay, some in new oak and some in older barrels. The flavors and aromas are turning out great; buttery with a bit of oak but not too much to cover the fruit.
Next, we proceeded to the reds. All of you lucky folks who did the Barrel Tastings in January, February, and March had a preview of what everyone else will taste later on this year. We started with Barbera grown for us by Quail Ridge Vineyards, a great grower in Hampstead Maryland. Then we moved onto, our Estate grown Chambourcin (Estate bottled means we grow all of the grapes in the wine), fermented on 4 different yeasts in 4 different types of barrels. Some will be chosen especially for our reserve Chambourcin and others will be our regular Chambourcin. A few special barrels will be selected to be blended with our Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to become part of our 2 year’s running award-winning Red Skins blend.
It’s 1pm now and we both feel like we need something to eat, so here I am munching on lunch and writing an update to our blog. We are waiting to start putting the blends together this afternoon and have decided on tasting them this afternoon once they are ready. Sometimes my wife doesn’t know how I make the walk up to the house for lunch. I hope you can understand this as the letters are a little hard to find on my keyboard. HaHa
Anthony and Ming!
Here is a picture from last month, when we sampled our Barbera.