lunedì 19 settembre 2011

2011 Harvest and Fermentation update

18 Sept.
The Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested last Monday with 8 helpers so I could finish in one day. It was a 10 hour job with a yield about twice last year's. The must is still fermenting, but should finish tomorrow which is a bit slower than the other reds, but I think perhaps Roberto either added less yeast or less nutrient to slow things down a bit. The danger with a fermentation which is too fast is you might lose some color and complexity, so I am happier with the C.S. being a bit slower than the reds which preceded it. The Pecorino has finished its fermentation and is now being chilled and will be racked off its lees next week. The Cabernet Franc and Merlot will be pressed next week, probably on Tuesday and then will rest for a while.

Roberto d'Angelo manning the press last year
I harvested the Incrocio (meaning 'cross' between Verdicchio and Sauvignon Blanc) Bruni 54 grapes which had all turned to raisins and spent 10 hour hand pressing the grapes in that little press you read about in the previous post. For 5 days, it just would not initiate its fermentation; Roberto had tried to start it by adding actively fermenting Pecorino must. When that didn't work, he added a newly prepared yeast and it has metabolized the sugar from 30 degrees to 12 degrees, so I am guessing it will stop at about 8-10 degrees, as those yeast will not be able to ferment more than that before things get toxic for them. That leaves the Syrah which has also finished its fermentation and will probably get pressed late week or early next week. My masterful plan to pick the Petit Verdot, which wasn't quite ready last Wednesday, is to harvest it on Friday after 2 days of much needed rain tomorrow and Tuesday (I hope). The last harvest will be the Montepulciano and Lord willing, that will be the last weekend of the month to correspond with the arrival of my foreign pickers (from London and Lagomaggiore).
Somewhere towards the end of the month, my head winemaker, Roberto Potentini (another Roberto), who hasn't really been involved in this year's decision making, will come down to taste last year's and this year's wines and I am thinking it may be time to extract my Pecorino from its tonneau and 2 barrels and mix those 3 back in with the 1000 liters, which stayed in stainless, to make the blend for bottling. I am excited about that one as it is coming around nicely like the swan in the ugly duckling fable.
The olives are suffering and looking like little old men who smoked and worked in the sun all their lives, if you know what I mean (a bit wrinkled) This 46 day drought and heat wave (every day over 86) has been brutal for them, the grass and every other living thing which requires water to live and is another reason I am hoping for rain. The Olive Tenere, which is the variety used to make the special Ascoli stuffed olives will be ready to harvest this week and the rain should help plump them up. I am shooting for Thursday for that job.
I have hosted guests from Belgium, Canada and Italy the last week and as always, they helped keep me sane and were wonderful folks. The North Americans continue this week, which should be fun.
Today was pretty much the last day of summer weather, if the forecast holds, so I asked my neighbors and their kids over to swim and have a bbq-KC style. It is great to have nice neighbors and the kids really enjoyed their time in the water and with Bacco while the adults gave swimming lessons, caught some rays or relaxed and read.

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