Another busy week as vintage 2021 continues.
With one of our biggest vintages ever (Rob is making a 2021 edition of almost every wine we sell!), Rob has his hands full between the vineyard and winery to keep an eye on it all.
It’s thirsty work!
Here is a quick update…
Sparkling Pinot Noir
The ferment is down to about 7 Baumé (if this doesn’t make much sense to you now, don’t stress… we’ll come back to it in a couple of weeks). It’s delicate and pale as usual, but Rob has noticed a tiny bit of colour this time around. He won’t do anything to deliberately strip the colour. The winemaking process usually sees any colour drop out of the finished product though. We’ll see what happens. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing a hint of pink!
There are some gorgeous typical sauvignon blanc characters coming through in this juice which was pressed over the weekend. Rob is confident these will carry through to the finished wine. It’s been settling in the cold room and is ready to be racked in preparation to start fermentation in the next day or two.
It’s a similar story for the Chardonnay. It’s been settling in the cold room and was racked yesterday.
A quick definition before I move on…
Racking is the process of siphoning the settled juice off the solids into a clean vessel
Here are a couple of videos Rob took of the Rosé processing over the weekend…
The first is of the pinot grapes being tipped into the crusher (notice the use of the “safety milk crate”).
And this one is of the beautiful pinot juice coming out of the press.
Light Dry Red (LDR)
It’s fermenting along nicely on skins. Down to 1.7 Baumé. So, getting close to being finished. That being the case, Rob is pretty keen to get it off skins ASAP. That would have happened either late last night or early this morning.
Rob is once again very excited about this relative newcomer to the Somerled stable. It was so well received last year when it first made an appearance and Rob is confident this vintage will have the same effect!
Pinot Dry Red
The grapes for this one are due to be picked on Tuesday night (despite the forecast for around 6mm of rain on Monday).
They’re looking fabulous…
Our Picnic Races Red for 2021 will be a Tempranillo Graciano blend. The Tempranillo should be ready to pick next Tuesday (give or take a day or two) at around 14 Baumé.
The Graciano is a couple of Baumé behind, but Rob will be happy if it’s at around 12/12.5 Baume by the time the Tempranillo is picked and he’ll take that at the same time. He thinks it will make a lovely blend.
Now, this brings me to what I REALLY wanted to talk to you about this week…
If you love wine and enjoy learning about how it’s made, then there is a pretty good chance you’ve imagined yourself amongst the grapevines handpicking bunches of grapes destined for your favourite drop.
If that’s you (of course it is… why else would you be here?), then you’re going to want to keep reading!
When Rob picks the Tempranillo in just over a week he is inviting YOU to get involved!
That’s right! You could be standing shoulder to shoulder with Rob as he (and you) carefully hand selects the grapes which will become Somerled’s 2021 Tempranillo Graciano.
We’re currently taking expressions of interest to join Rob’s expert picking team. Unfortunately, the decision on when to pick is usually made within a matter of days, so you need to be flexible in terms of availability.
So, if you’d like some hands-on experience, a chance to ask Rob all your wine-making questions and bragging rights when you pour some 2021 Picnic Races Red for your friends, send me a message and I’ll add you to the list!
Remember though… hand-picking is hard work. It’s not as easy or romantic as it seems. But it is rewarding. And you will be rewarded! With refreshments, wine and something to add to your resume!
Before I go, I’m conscious that I threw around a few terms this week requiring some further explanation.
I really want to delve into this a bit deeper in a future post (probably next week). But here is the quick version for now…
Pressing versus crushing – what is the difference?
When making white wine, the fruit is usually pressed before primary fermentation. This is a gentle process that minimises the amount of skin contact with the juice. And we know this is super important for a wine like our sparkling.
For red wines though, the grapes are first crushed to maximise the amount of skin contact (where all the colour and flavour are). It is then pressed after fermentation to squeeze out the remainder of the juice and remove the skins and seeds, etc.
Of course, there are many ways to make red, white and pink (and orange!) wines, so you will certainly see variations on these processes depending on the style.
But let’s talk more about all of that, plus de-stemming, free run, whole bunch, basket and pneumatic presses next time.