Thursday, November 27, 2008

So Thankful

So what is this punk thankful for this year?

1. Fun Pinot harvest with friends and family
2. Fun Syrah harvest and meeting Aaron's family and friends
3. Joining forces with Aaron to take wine making to the next level
4. 2005 Rhones in the cellar
5. Meeting tons of winemakers and other people during our adventures
6. Discovering Riesling for brunch
7. To the thought of taking this all to the next step (pro)

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Racking to The Sabbath

So Dan called me with a real predicament.

Dan: I've got my jumpsuit on and I'm ready to play some Black Sabbath, what should we do??
Me: Dude, we've totally got to rack the wine, it's an excellent excuse to wear a jumpsuit and blast Black Sabbath in the garage.
Dan: Sweet dude!
Me: Totally... I'm on my way.

So we had to rack the pinot off the gross lees today, that and check to see if we'd completely eradicated the h2s issue and we can move on with malo or not.
Though we've still got a minor amount of the egg smell (something that is only really noticeable when doing the h2s bench test) we still had to do another minor copper sulfate treatment to make sure it is completely removed before it turns into something less manageable.

The racking went smoothly and our little italian pump did its job well. Next week there will be one more bench test to determine whether we are done with our little h2s problem. If all goes according to plan it should be completely gone and we'll be ready to start our secondary, malo-lactic, fermentation.

Wahluke Harvest & Olympia Sort (movie)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Beaujolais Nouveau n'est pas Arrive!

So we tried to make some DeuxPunx Nouveau for the 3rd Thursday in November. The great day on the wine calendar when you can drink overpriced shitty (merdey) gamay punch and act like a gay Parisian. We thought it would be fun to make a carboy of 100% whole berry punch ourselves. Well, if you read this blog at all, you know that timing is not our forte. The Country Crap is still fermenting away. So we leave you with the tribute to Beaugolais Nouveau...

Monday, November 17, 2008

heavy lifting

so the heavy lifting is mostly done for '08 - shy the previously mentioned egginess - and we're starting to look at how to do more in '09. We've got a few difficult choices ahead of us as the natural next step is going "pro" and the whys, wheres, hows and whats that are involved in that process are enough to consume much of our off-season time and money. But in the meantime with just a few little bows to by tied on 2008's vintage.

as you saw from Dan's post (including the unfortunate attempt at recorded funkiness on my part) we're just around the corner from starting malo-lactic on the humboldt pinot. As for the grapes from 693 miles north-northeast of the Fruitland Ridge the Malo-Lactic has kicked off slowly on it's own thanks to last year's bacterial infection. Where as the Pinot showed us in all of it's pinotie goodness that planning is something good to do in between fixing previously fucked up plans - what with its overly hot fermentation that forced us to press right after we'd rolled into town from the great northwest and the H2S and its subsequent treatment that will get us booted from the natural wine world. Up north we rolled out a schedule, a plan you could say (though one peered at through cracks in between fingers with fear), and got to work. What was amazing about the plan up north is it actually worked!! In the manner of a stuck clock we totally nailed it once and when I rolled up to press the syrah it was ready for me.

We got a lot of help on both sides our efforts and there are many folks that deserve out thanks. The Lubliners for hosting our fermentation in their very well appointed garage, Sherman, Lubby and my dad for keeping an eye on the fermentation and reporting in on a regular basis and all of the sorters and co-pressees. I would like to give a special thanks to Adam for not only being there through the entire sort but also coming back to help (along with Jenne and Paul) run the press from start until clean up -- hats off.

Now with roughly 275 gallons of wine sitting (including last year's still aging wahluke syrah) we start the planning for next year. do we go pro in CA? do we go pro in WA? do we go pro in both? do we truck grapes from Wa to CA? do we truck grapes from CA to WA? do we find our own space, find a winery looking for someone to share their space, go the custom crush route? we'll see but in the meantime I believe we have some rackin to do and malo to start this weekend and Dan is well... excited.

and yes we are dumb enough to do it again next year and even up the ante. Next year you'll be seeing this post and knowing that we're going to be hunting down 4 tons of grapes - just you wait and see:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Of Rotten Eggs and Burnt Toast

So our Pinot smells stinky; and not in that cool natural wine stinky smelling way. We have a bit of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) in our wine which smells like "morning breeze" or rotten eggs. Most likely created when the cap in the puncheons got too big and heated up. The 2-foot cap had a higher temp than the must and the yeast in the cap got over stressed. Apparently this happens with Pinot Noir and we now realized we should have gone with 3 puncheons or controlled the cap and temp more during fermentation.
There is no "damage" per se. Just an odor. After some research and soul searching we decided to use a small amount of copper sulfate to convert the H2S into copper sulfide which will percipitate out. I took 3 semesters of chemistry in college and surpisingly I can following what is happening. After some bench testing we agreed that we'd use a 0.1 ppm addition. The plan is to do another test next week to see if we need anything more. There should be no trace of copper in our final wine; however, it is a bit annoying dealing with this issue.

The following is a quick moving of the addition and a small sample of Aaron's dance moves...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trick or Treat (this wine smells like feet)

Being a stand-up family guy (see previous post) I look forward to Halloween every year. This year our family was all about Speed Racer because or 3-year old son is all about Speed Racer. I got to be the uber cool Racer X, my wife Trixie and Calvin was Speed.

Racer X and Speedie

Our neighborhood is ground zero for trick-or-treating in San Francisco, which makes our life easy. We started out at our friends house with killer ghoulish food and wine. I brought over a few fun bottles to balance out some of the not so good things others might be bringing. Surprisingly the selections were not too bad (lots of Cab Sauv and Zins).

Whigs and wine.

Once full and buzzed we hit the streets. Import to note that a Bugaboo stroller can hold a good amount of wine. But we did run out half way from home. What to do? I asked the first candy giver, "Do you have any booze for Racer X?" At which he replied, "sure, what kind?" Unfortunately I went with the red wine.

I am now going to try to describe this red liquid: It smelled EXACTLY like Crystal Light Lemonaide. It drank so hot that my throat burned. It tasted of bad concentrated fruit and rotten logs. UNDRINKABLE and not worthy of the gutter we all poured it into. I didn't get to see the label, but I am guessing this was a South African Zin purchased at a corner market or Bev-Mo.

Single worst glass of wine I have ever had!

Luckily our friends live a few house away and saved us with 9 ice cold beers.

I still want to know what that wine was. I do know that was a trick and not a treat.

"Give my dad better wine next
year or we'll egg your house!"