Elixir of the Gods
If you have burning anxiety because you may have missed a Coop update, God forbid, our First Crush Winery website… firstcrushwinery.com, provides easy access to the last few updates.
Our Ship Came In…
Our website is now functional for online ordering. If a Coop member wants to ship wine to family or friends, they will simply pay $16.00 per bottle plus shipping. As an example, to ship four bottles the packaging and shipping fee is only $25.00. We can ship 2, 4, 6 or 12 bottles. Keep this in mind for the holidays. We are now in ship shape!
As you learned in my last update, the Lanza-Musto vineyards in Suisun Valley were thankfully spared from damage from the unprecedented recent fires in their area. In a recent call, Ron Lanza and I discussed the heat damage the grapes endured this season creating a higher-percentage of less-plump berries. Ron expressed that this will create a more intense outcome in flavor in our 2017 wines. Early indications from winemaker research, I love that part of my job, suggest he may be correct.
What’s Our Wine Doing Now?…
At the time of my last update, three weeks ago, our new reds were post-crush, post-fermentation, post-press, and in our numerous stainless tanks. Since then, the small particulates that the press does not screen out, the lees (grape skin fragments and dead yeast cells), have been in a slow migration to the bottom of our stainless tanks. In addition, secondary or malolactic fermentation has been underway. See the next segment below for an explanation of malolactic fermentation. Late this week, approximately one month since press, I will perform the first of four racking’s. In a racking procedure, the new wine is pumped out of each stainless tank, held in a food-grade 1600 gallon blending vessel while the stainless tank is cleaned to void all sediment. The clarified wine is then pumped back into each stainless tank. During a racking procedure volume is lost. The smallest tanks are used to top off the largest tanks.
In three weeks I will rack again, then in two weeks, and then in two weeks for the last time. At this point, three months post-press, the wine is fully clarified and ready for its 9-12 month hibernation in oak. Keep in mind that this multiple racking process is my personal method. This clarifies the wine by gravity, rather than mechanical forced filtration. In my opinion, this leaves more natural flavor in our wines.
Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)…
Sometimes referred to as secondary fermentation, takes approximately 3-4 weeks to complete. During this phase, our new wine needs to maintain a temperature between 62 – 72 degrees. We introduce malolactic bacteria to our wines post-press. We also introduce at this time a complex nutrient formulated for growth and survival of malolactic bacteria. MLF involves a special lactic acid bacteria instead of yeast. It is most desirable for red wines adding what literature describes as a more-smooth, round, complex and sound wine. MLF will cause a reduction in acid levels. For this reason during fermentation, I aim at a target acid (TA) level above a final desired endpoint. Care must be taken during MLF to reduce air exposure that could contribute to off-flavors and a risk of spoilage. MLF is inhibited by the preservative we call sulfite. Thus, the
primary addition of sulfite (SO2) to reduce spoilage and maintain flavor must be made immediately after completion of MLF. FYI: I use approximately 30% less SO2 than a typical commercial wine. To that end I follow what I call, the European model, whereby, their domestic wines have less sulfite additions than exported wines. One of the reasons we feel we can consume more wine in Europe than in the States. It’s either that or your are on vacation without a care in the world!
An old Italian man is dying. He calls his grandson to his bedside. “Guido, I wan’ you lissina me. I wan’ you to take-a my chrome plated 38 revolver so you will always remember me.”
“But grandpa, I really don’t like guns. How about you leave me your Rolex watch instead?”
“You lissina me, boy! Somma day you gonna be runna da business, you gonna have a beautiful wife, lotsa money, a big-a home and maybe a couple of bambinos. Then one-a day you gonna comea home and maybe finda you wife inna bed with another man. Whatta you gonna do then? Pointa to you watch and say, “Times up”
Drinka my vino my friends,