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Thursday, 27 September 2012

An Experiment with Rojilla

Has anyone ever heard of a grape variety called "Rojilla"? or know where I could find out? I've asked on Twitter and FB but no joy. And it's not mentioned at all in the Vitis International Variety Catalogue.

I doubt that's the 'real' name of the variety, as "Rojilla" sounds very local or dialectal. In Spanish, "rojo" = red, so "rojilla" (a diminutive of rojo) means something like reddish, or a little bit red, or something like that.

And the colour of these grapes was in fact 'a little bit red', ie not deep dark red/purple/blue like in all the usual Tempranillo/Garnacha/Sirah photos that are so common, but really just red! Can you believe that I forgot to actually take a photo of them!

When I was out in Gredos last week, the grape-grower I was buying Garnacha off of, kindly gave me a few cases of this Rojilla grape, for me to make wine from, on the condition I gave him a bottle or two when it was done!

Well, on Saturday I duly stomped them and put them in a container to ferment. Actually, Madalena stomped them for me:

Madalena stomping Rojillo grapes
Rojillo grapes being stomped
Interesting! But I don't really know if there's any more Rojilla to be found in viable quantities.

Fermentation tub

There's about 20-30 litres of must + skins + pips + stems in there.

I decided to include the stems because they were well lignified and not at all green, so I thought that they might provide something positive. As the skins are not very dark, maybe they won't provide as much colour or taste or aromas as more normal darker skins do? Who knows?

Fermentation hasn’t started yet (as at Sunday 23 Sept) but I reckon it should kick off pretty swiftly, what with all the different lots of wine in the bodega at different stages of fermentation; the air must be teeming with saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast by now.


I shall play it by nose
And I shall see, how it goes;

I’ll punch it down, once a day,
And hope it tastes, like Cabernet!

Then when fermentation begins
I’ll press the juice, off the skins

I’ll maybe rack it, once or twice
To make it clean and nice

Then over winter, I’ll let it be;
Peace and quiet is the key

Will it do its malolactic?
That depends, on my vinous tactic!

Will I add the acid tartaric?
No, that’s just too barbaric!

Will I add some extra sugar?
No, I’m reaching for my Luger!

Will I add powdered tannin?
No, I’m not a wine assassin!

Will I add that mega-purple colour,
No, it makes the wine, false and duller!

Will I add cultured yeast?
No, I’m a pure, uncultured beast!

Will I add germs and bacteria?
No, that goes against, my criteria!

Will I add, a flavour enhancer?
No, it may well, give you cancer!

Will I add wooden chips of oak?
No, I wouldn’t want, to make you choke!

Will I spin my wine in cones?
No, my wine’s for people, not for drones!

Will I osmote it in reverse?
No, I’d never be so perverse!

Will I do some cryo-extraction?
No, I always get, a cry-reaction!

Will I add bags of enzymes?
No, I’m running out of en-rhymes!

So how will I intervene?
Well that remains, to be seen!

I really won’t do much
Just keep a nice light touch

Enough to ensure the wine is flawless,
But not so much, as to make it aweless!


  1. That rhyme is incredible! Can't wait to hear how the wine turns out. Either way I am longing to drink another skin-contact white at Ten Bells in NYC!

  2. Hi there Those Beats,
    I'm glad you liked the rhyme! Will keep you posted on how it turns out. I just checked it this morning, and fermentation has started. So far so good :)

  3. We were sorry to miss the picking and stomping this year, but love your rhymes. We look forward to seeing you in Glasgow next month for Bruno's 80th.

    Much love to you all,
    Jill and Jeremy

  4. Hi Jill and Jeremy, we all missed you too this year. See you soon.


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