Sunday, November 27, 2005

A deep breath...

Whew. Completed first racking on the Lodi grapes. They're resting in 3 and 5 gallon carboys with oak as described earlier.

I'm now readying supplies for arrival of the Napa grapes, which are due in early December. Following a successful test with Brehm Vineyards frozen Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot last year, I've turned to individual 5-gallon pails of these outrageously-costly, but high-quality, Brehm grapes for the bulk of my vinting this year:

Pinot Noir - Carneros District - Sonoma County CA
Zinfandel - Russian River (Windsor), Sonoma County CA
Merlot - Carneros - Napa County CA
Merlot - Carneros - Sonoma County CA
Cabernet Franc - Russian River, Sonoma County CA
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa County CA - Yountville district
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa County CA - Rutherford district
Botrytised Chardonnay - Yakima Valley - Prosser (for Sauternes-style dessert wine)

Last year on the cab and merlot, I used Bordeaux (BDX) yeast. This year, the Bordeaux-style reds will see a post-fermentation blend from a mix of yeasts: ICV-D254 (primarily for mouthfeel) and ICV-D80 (primarily for tannin expression). I'll split each pail in two for the separate fermentations. Last year, for my taste, the BDX brought a little too much of the fruit to the front, and left tannins a bit too raw in the merlot and cab. The pinot will use Assmanshausen; Cotes des Blancs for the Botrytised Chardonnay.

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