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Thursday 25 November 2010

Status of Experiments (Report Nº 3)

1. Airén (Carbonic Maceration)

No news is good news. Aromas are good (fruity and intense) and taste is good too. No off-tastes. We may rack it off its lees and release it for Christmas, along with the Normal Airén. (BTW, the we've decided not to clarify the Normal Airén this year, as the clarifier (egg-white) removes good flavours and aromas along with the particles in suspensión that are supposed not good. I think a little bit of extra cloudiness is a good price to pay for extra aromas and flavour. Agree, disagree?

From left to right:
Airén (Carbonic Maceration); Tempranillo; Airén (Normal)

2. Airén on its skins

Again, no news is good news. Aromas and tastes are good. I've been advised by a few people (including Gottfried Lemprecht, who makes this kind of wine) to leave this wine alone for a long time. I guess I'll do that, and keep tasting it regularly to see how it evolves.

However, I'll have to fix the tap because it leaks!

Leaky tap

3. Shiraz

This is only an experiment in the sense that it's the first time we've made a Shiraz wine. We've oaked 1 barrel (225 l or 300 bottles) and the rest is staying in the stainless steel tank.

Shiraz in Tank

Shiraz In Oak

4. Petit Verdot

This lot of P.V. seems to be normal more or less, but we suspect something is up!!! Even though it's finished fermenting (apparantly, as the density is 996!) the aroma is still like what you get at the beginning of fermentation, ie compost, gassy, not very fruity. The taste is rather sweet, which suggests ther's some residual sugar in there. I dunno! At least there's nothing seriously serious happening! I'll have to get an experienced taster in to check it out. Any theories, anyone?

Garnacha (left) and Petit Verdot (right)

5. Graciano Explosion

I've kept the Graciano news for the last, because it's the most interesting! A few days ago the oak cask of Graciano exploded and made a huge mess in the barrel room!

I suppose that it hadn't finished fementing and the relative heat (18ºC) in the barrel room activated the yeast.

I missed the direct action and Juan (who's letting us share his bodega this year) kindly cleaned up the spillage. Here's some pics of the collateral damage:

Close-up of the bung-hole and environs

The bung itself has disappeared! It must be somewhere in the barrel room, but we haven't been able to find it yet!
The ceiling directly above the Graciano cask

The state of the cask beside the Graciano cask

The leak at the front of the Graciano cask

Monday 8 November 2010

At last! End of Fermentation

All done!

At last! On Saturday (6th Nov 2010) we finally pressed the last of our red wines off the skins.

Juan manning the pump.
Moving the Graciano into the barrel
Fabio at the other end.
The light is so I could peer into the barrel to check the level

Close-up of the stick-thing used to fill the barrel

It was only about 350 l of Graciano, but it was complicated, and it took us all day! This was because we fermented the Graciano in some old oak barrels that we recovered, and we had to replace the tops - quite a tricky operation if you're not a barrel-maker!

'Engrudo' a mixture of flour and water, used to seal the top of the barrel

Juan and Justo attempt to replace the top.
Note the metal hoops

Two manual cage presses bleeding off Graciano

While we were doing all this, we also filled another oak barrel with Tempranillo 2010, and another one with Shiraz 2010. I forgot to take photos of them, but I have this other one:

Crianza 2009. Cask filled in August 2010
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