I forgot to share the very exciting detail that we have made wine in all three colors this year! Small quantities of white and rosé (500 bottles of white and 700 rosé) but we did it!! The white which is a blend of Roussanne and Clairette (90% Roussanne though) was half fermented in barrel, half in tank. Unfortunately we did end up having to add yeast to it, which I really didn't want to do, but after three days there was no movement at all, and I wasn't willing to take a risk. This year, come hell or high water, we will bottle some white. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time, you will remember that we made a barrel of white last year. A barrel. Barrels are tricky, they require more attention than a big concrete vat full of wine. Over the course of a year wine slowly evaporates out of the barrel, so you have to "top it up" every few weeks. Last year when we filled our barrel we had about 30 liters left over that we put into a carboy and several empty wine bottles, so that we could use this wine to top up the barrel. The problem was keeping that leftover wine from oxidizing, and I wasn't very successful. Details are not my strong point, and I would often forget to top up the barrel or I would open the carboy or the bottles to find the wine inside oxidized and not know what to do. In the end we just weren't very satisfied with the wine, the whole barrel was pretty much oxidized in the end. I know many wineries would have bottled it anyway, saying that they were aiming for a richer, nuttier (oxidized) style, but I'm just too honest and I have a hard time pulling that sort of salesmanship off. Most of all, I don't want to have to sell a wine that I, myself wouldn't want to drink! So I'm going to try my best to keep this years as fresh and lively as possible. We even bought a new 500 liter stainless steel vat to keep the half of the white that isn't in barrel in, that way it will be easier to top off the barrel!! (I hope I'm not confusing you!)
As for the rosé, we had a bit more luck, after three days, it took off like lightning, so we didn't have to add any yeast!! Hooray!! I was thrilled. We added a bucket of fermenting red juice and it just took off. It is almost 100% grenache with a few buckets of syrah that I added in to give it a bit more body and color. We picked the grapes early in order to keep the alcohol down and the acidity up. In fact the acidity might be a bit high, so we're thinking we might see if it does it's malo-lactic fermentation to round it out a bit. Usually in the south the malo-lactic is blocked by adding SO2 to keep the wine from becoming flabby, since we often have low acidity. So, we'll see!!! Another experiment, but we have made rosé, it's all gone very well and we will be bottling it this spring!!