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Filling the Barrels

posted Dec 22, 2010, 7:06 PM by Dan Morgan
Its been several weeks since the last blog post but we’ve made a lot of progress on our 2010 vintages as the year comes to a close. In the previous blog post we had just started the fermentation process on the Cabernet and Syrah grapes from Caldwell Vineyards in Napa. The Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from J Rickards Vineyard in Sonoma had been pressed earlier and were undergoing Malolactic (ML) fermentation to soften and stabilize the wine.

Since the last blog, the Cabernet and Syrah finished primary fermentation. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving we pressed the 3½ tons of Cabernet and Syrah grapes during an all day (13 hour) “pressing extravaganza” which yielded approximately 200 gallons of Cabernet and 300 gallons of Syrah. The photo gallery Filling the Barrels shows the barrels lined up and being filled with freshly pressed Cabernet and Syrah. After the press, I could see (and taste) that the Cabernet in particular is off to a great start with the deep color and rich flavors I’ve come to expect from the Caldwell grapes

After the press, the juice then went into our Treasure Island “Hot Room” where we maintain a constant 70 degrees which is the optimum temperature for malolactic fermentation. Both are near completion of ML and once completed we will rack the juice off the “gross lees” (i.e., the sediment that has settled to the bottom of the barrels), top off the barrels and then I get to rest.

Finally, the Zinfandel and Petite Sirah from J Rickards also completed their ML fermentation process. The Petite Sirah finished several weeks ago and the Zinfandel just finished this past week. They have both been racked and topped off and are now ready to mature into Heartfelt Wines in 2011.
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