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The Crush is On!

posted Oct 14, 2010, 9:45 AM by Dan Morgan
Old vine Zinfandel from the J Rickards Vineyard in Cloverdale (in northern Sonoma) was picked and crushed on Tuesday October 5th. The grapes from this vineyard (originally planted in 1908) were picked a couple of weeks later than usual due to the cooler than normal summer. As a result, the longer hang-time has allowed a greater fruit maturity giving winemakers optimum conditions for big, big flavors. Current tasting notes include raspberry, cherry and boysenberry with hints of pepper. Color is a deep purple and tannins are mild.

When I got the grapes back to the winery on Treasure Island they went into a three day cold soak in which the temperature was lowered to help stabilize the color and aromatic intensity.

The acid and sugar levels were adjusted on Friday.  When the “must” (i.e, the freshly crushed/destemmed grapes) reached a temperature of 65 degrees on Sunday we inoculated with a vigorous yeast strain to start the fermentation process.

Over the next 7 - 10 days we will “punch down the cap” (i.e. push down the skins and solids that float to the top of the tub during fermentation)  2 - 3 times/day and monitor temperature and sugar depletion.

As of Wednesday the 13th the “brix” (i.e. sugar content) has dropped to 18 from the original brix of 26. The fermentation is moving swiftly and should be complete within a week.

Take a look in the photo gallery The Crush Is On and you will see a few pictures of the crush and normal sights from Treasure Island including a great view of San Francisco and the Blue Angels flying overhead!