fermentation


The 2012 harvest has come to an end…the fruit picked under stellar conditions, the fermentations completed without a hitch and the wine barreled down for the winter.  Nearly everyone is celebrating Northern California’s “epic” harvest, the biggest in years, including us and we’ve shared some photos of here:

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After a 4 day cold soak and 10 day fermentation (14 days total on the skins,) we pressed the Beresini Vineyard Pinot Noir.  We did one bin native yeast fermentation and one we inoculated with RC212.  We were so happy with the native yeast results that we decided to go all the way native with our last lot of Pinot–Corona Creek.  Early next week we’ll press the Lauterbach Vineyard and Corona Creek Vineyard Pinots.

About a year ago, Uzi wrote about the “chore” of topping off.  Back then we only had 2 half barrels in our home cellar and 4 barrels at the winery to worry about.  This year we have 17 barrels at the winery to stir and top.  While we still don’t see it as a chore, it is a bit more work.  They are stacked two high in the back of the barrel room and special maneuvers are required to properly stir the lees and top off the barrel without overflowing.  But it is still a great opportunity to smell and taste the wine and to, for lack of a better word, touch base with the wine…even while it is resting snugly in the barrel.

So earlier this week at the winery, we sniffed, stirred, topped and tasted all 17 barrels of our 2009 Pinot Noir.  Pinot always seems to be evolving, from the moment of harvest all the way to the last drop in your glass.  But at this point in time, we found that our Carneros Pinot has an incredible nose, our Russian River Pinot already has a luscious mouthfeel and luscious flavors and our Sonoma Coast has nice fruit forward character.  Can’t wait to see what we discover next time…

barrel room

in the barrel room

We at Stomping Girl have just gotten through harvest and can finally take a bit of a breather.  Now, mind you, “harvest” means much more than just harvest. The term refers to everything from harvesting the grapes to crushing the grapes to pressing the wine.  It takes about 2 weeks to take one of our Pinots from harvest to press and we had three harvests this year.  Check out some of our photos taken during these last several weeks during Stomping Girl’s ’09 harvest.

Overrun by fermenting grapes

Overrun by fermenting grapes

OK, this time of year I expect to find multiple vessels containing fermenting grapes at the winery and even downstairs in our home wine cellar.  But I did not expect to find this in my kitchen this morning.  It is a small sample of our Sonoma Coast, Corona Creek Vineyard, Pinot fermenting naturally with native yeast…naturally in the mixing bowl of my Kitchen Aid.  I’m afraid to check the bath tub.

We had our first harvest this week for 2009–our Beresini Vineyard Pinot Noir.  The fruit, beautiful, tasty and at perfect Brix (sugar) and pH levels, was telling us it was time to pick.  Those of you in the Bay Area know that Mother Nature was not in agreement, however.  She handed us some rare and unexpected thunder showers just before our planned harvest date. Luckily Beresini is in the Carneros appellation just north of most of the weekend showers that hit our area and with a minor date adjustment, we were able to pick, sort and de-stem the fruit without a problem and under sunny skies.  Uzi was in the vineyard to help harvest and take the video and then met us at the winery with the grapes.

sortingBeresini

Sorting Beresini Pinot Noir

fermentation bin  

We are increasing production this coming year, 2009, and purchasing some additional equipment–barrel racks, macro bins and barrels.  Uzi found some lightly used barrel racks and macro bins from a contact at Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa and made arrangements for me to inspect the equipment in person before purchase.   

My trip to Joseph Phelps reminded me why Napa is such a sought after destination.  Uzi and I tend to visit Sonoma or other wine regions more frequently than Napa.  A drive on Hwy 29 is like a trip down the wine aisle at a large grocery store–Beringer, Mondavi, Sutter Home, Freemark Abbey.  There are countless B&Bs, Auberges, tour buses and gift shops. Despite all that, the scenery this time of year in Napa Valley is spectacular.  The grape vines are lush, full and green.  There are mountains, country lanes and weathered barns amid the vineyards.  And once you get off the beaten path you can find less frequented, more intimate wineries.  

joseph phelps   Napa vineyards

Unfortunately my business in Napa Valley this time did not include wine tasting or luxury accomodations.  I was there to inspect winery equipment–which passed the test–and camp with some friends.  Our big splurge was Taylor’s Automatic Refresher in St. Helena where you can enjoy Calera Pinot Noir in a proper glass with your cheeseburger and fries. A fine way by me to enjoy Napa Valley.

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