Monday, July 21, 2008

Home Port

ger's christmas present gets put to good use.

Ger has determined that his small french oak barrel will be used in our first attempt to create port-like wine. to the left you see the barrel being prepped. the barrel was dry, so the first step was to fill the barrel with the cold, 10,000 year old water (thanks, pete and lyrel!) from the aqueduct under charlotte hall. the water swelled the wood together to give it a tight fit. the water was emptied and the barrel plugged until the ingredients were mixed.

ger and wc pete mixed 100g or tartaric acid, 5.625lb of cane sugar, 7 liters of 40 proof brandy into a blend of our '07 harvest. our blend consisted of 3 gal. touriga, 1 gal. tinta cao, 1 gal morvedre, and our big dog: 3 gal. sangiovese. they then topped the barrel off with another .5 gal of our mourvedre. since the port will be aged in his barrel, we expect the colour will oxidize to tawny and hope the wine will take on a soft, nutty flavor. all of this happened in late june/early july, but i've been waiting for my summer grad class, information management, to finish so i could post without guilt. about a week or two later, gerald drew a sample from the barrel and a sample from a small, control bottle that wont be oaked. we all could taste the difference that oak brings to the wine. and i'm with lyrel's opinion that what wine is offered in American markets is often heavy on the oak. but for the port, i liked both oaked and non oaked. the oak seemed to smooth out the wine and gave it a spiced sort of taste. to this simple tongue, it tasted like it was on its way and ger and i traded that "hee, this is so cool" grins.

now it is a patient wait. ger estimates it might take the port 3 years to mature in the oak. he's looking into that part. me, i look forward to being back at the townie and enjoying our own fortified dessert wine on those crisp, cool, late fall evenings. we'll pore a small bit into a glass after we've had a bit to eat and settle into conversation—maybe we'll even be able to sit in our backyard and admire the colours of the sycamores and watch nature prepare the lake for the winter.

i feel cooler already.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Long Hot Summer

WC Pete is in town and he's working hard in the vineyards. canopy management, working the lateral shoots and more. the family has joined him for the summer, so we have plenty of kid power and playmates for boys1&2—for which they are grateful. the days are long, hot and humid, although this year has, on the whole, been cooler and wetter than the previous years. ger has been in the wine room working the whites and reds. i'm pretty happy to report that the wine from last season's harvest is coming along tastily!