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Monday, 14 March 2011

Racking (some good news and some bad)

Did a bit of racking this weekend:

Firstly, we moved the Sirah and the Petit Verdot from one stainless steel tank to another.

Petit Verdot (near tanks) and Sirah (back tanks)

Closeup of the Petit Verdot tank

The Petit Verdot was smelling a bit of farts and hydrogen! So the airing it got did it a lot of good – it was smelling a lot better after the racking.

We did it by hand: filling a container from the tap at the bottom of the tank, and then pouring the container directly into the new tank from the open top.

Pouring in the wine

Pouring out the wine

The Sirah was smelt a bit ‘closed’ or of being enclosed, but no farts.

Capazo 1

Capazo 2

Gundge at the bottom of the tank

Looking down into the tank

We also racked the Garnacha 2010 for the first time this year, so there was a lot of lees and gunge at the bottom of the tank.

We’re very happy with the way these three wines are turning out.

On the spur of the moment we decided to rack some of the Garnacha to an old oak barrel (+5 years old) as another experiment, just to see how it will evolve.

Burning sulphur

So first we rinsed out the barrel and then we burnt a piece of sulphur inside it.

In it goes

The burning piece of sulphur is in a little cage, so that the bits that melt dont fall down to the bottom of the barrel.

To move the garnacha into the barrel we had to use the pump (because the barrel room is about 30 m away from from where Garnacha was). I really don’t like pumps! They make far too much noise. I don’t know if this noise affects the wine or not, but it certainly affects me!!!

The Garnacha flowing into the barrel

Another thing about pumps (and this one in particular) is that they are far too powerful and move the wine far too fast.

Garnacha flowing onto the floor

Not as bad as it looks - we only lost a few liters before switching the pump off! After cleaning up the mess, I got to write on the barrel with a piece of chalk!

Writing on the barrel

Lastly, and we racked 2000 l of Tempranillo. A bit of bad news here: when we went to open the pneumatic cover, we discovered that it was already open! We forgot to seal it last time we opened it a few month ago. This means that the wine has been in contact with the air (oxygen) all this time.

Not a disaster, but not optimal, and of course really annoying, as we had the use of a beautiful stainless steel with a hermetic seal which we haven’t made use of through our own silly error! Anyway, the wine is fine. We poured about 100 l down the drain, though – the top 25 cm , nearest the surface in contact with the air. Another lesson learnt!

The pump and the tank of Tempranillo


  1. Maybe someone did actually fart when all of you were racking the petit verdot? It's not fair to automatically blame the wine ;)

  2. Hmm, now that you mention it, we did all have Cocido Madrileño for lunch ;)

  3. Of all the silly terms used to desribe a wine's nose (gooseberry, almonds, blackboard chalk, with an undernote of second-hand know the thing) - I don't think I've ever known a reference to flatulence. Are you sure this is a selling point?

  4. Well, there's no accounting for taste (or smell), is there? I'm sure someone out there would have liked it! But in any case, the smell has gone away now due to the good airing the wine got. Maybe next year I'll keep some aside for people who want to try it!


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