Saturday, January 22, 2011

Into the Drink

Spent the better part of this beautiful Bay Area morning in Napa doing the final blend for our 2009 Humboldt Pinot Noir. We basically have 2 60-gallon barrels (both 1-years), a half-barrel from Recoop, and 20+ gallons of topping wine. So how do you blend 170 gallons of wine from 4 different containers? The short answer is keep it simple; the long answer is try every possible combo and then, eventually, keep it simple.

--stop reading here if you don't care about barrel characteristics, methodologies and tasting notes---

Here's the breakdown of each container:

Barrel 1: 1-year Francios Freres Hungarian M+. Great dark cherry nose, finishes with lots of natural acid.

Barrel 2: 1-year ???? M+ (bought from Merry Edwards). Mild caramel and vanilla nose, incredible mouth feel, missing a bit on the finish (acid?).

Recoop: The nose is pure model glue. Taste doesn't matter because you think you are sooo high from that glue you just huffed. 30-gallons wasted.

Topping wine: light, bright and not out-of-slight. Not that much fruit and lots of acid.

Here is the Deux Punx methodology for wine blending:

Step 1. Try your initial best guess. 50/50 barrels 1 &2. Results: too much vanilla and not enough acid.

Step 2. Try the most extreme blend you can live with. 45/55. Results: Not enough structure and way too much fruit and acid.

Step 3. Split the difference. Results: BINGO!

Step 4. For shits-n-giggles try to see how much model glue wine you can sneak in to the blend. Answer: none.

Step 5. See how much topping wine you can sneak in. Try 10% and the 4%. Results: makes the wine typical and boring. Answer: none.

Step 6. Repeat Step 3. Results: 48/52 it is.

Final Blend. This wine is much more elegant and classic than our 2008. It has great potential to work perfectly with hearty meaty foods. That classic Elk Prairie fruit is in there!

Now what do you do with the remaining 50+ gallons of pinot? Hopefully we can fine out some of the model glue from the recoop and create a "party blend" for our kegs. Otherwise, sell it to the French and call it Syrah?

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