Thursday, October 11, 2012

My busiest week in fifteen years.

Well, fifteen years ago I worked a 150 hour week, but I was only forty then. And it was only harvest - this time it was harvest, a series of birthday parties, and a bottling for dessert.  Here's what I did yesterday:

89% Verdejo, 11% Poubelle Blanc*
Alc. 12.7%, pH 3.55, TA 8.1 g/L
97 cases bottled from 1.6 acres, 2nd year graftover from SB to Verdejo.
Tank fermented, aged one month in French oak puncheons, bottled!

     The first Verdejo** in San Luis Obispo county, and possibly the first from any coastal county in the state, this Spanish variety known for dry Rueda whites (thanks to Emile Peynaud, my first wine instructor) proved to be very low yielding and thick-skinned in my friend’s Paso Robles vineyard, so much so that an acre of vines made less than a hundred cases of wine.  Green apple, mineral, grapefruit and lemon with good acidity and a very long finish.  I always said that Paso whites were best before they were bottled, and this is my proof, six weeks from harvest to bottling! 
     It’s vanguard, true, but it’s $30 retail because it tastes awesome.

* A little joke.  Sauvignon Blanc (added to keep storage puncheons topped for one month).
** Not to be confused with Verdelho, Vermentino, Viognier or the V-1 buzz bomb.

Okay, here's what I did on Friday morning and afternoon:  picked the Colossus of Rhones Syrah at an unbelievable ripeness.  I know how to deal with ripeness, of course:

4.06 tons from 3.7 acres, 34.2 brix, 3.9 pH and 5.5 TA.  All fixable - but lack of flavor ripeness is not.

Band practice

Band practice