Thursday, 14 January 2010

The wine is bottled

I'm running behind on this blog. But then I always was! In any case, just prior to leaving Spain for Christmas with the family, I racked out the bentonite and bottled the remaining wine. I've now managed to get gravity racking down to a 'T': I use a piece of tube to syphon the wine from the tank into my large tub, clean out the tank and then manhandle the tub so its slightly higher than the bottom of the tank, and syphon it back in. Working on your own, it's a laborious process.

Then came the bottling. A very simple affair that consists of rinsing the clean wine bottles with a splash of the wine before filling and corking. Ninety bottles and a sore arm later, I was done. And that was it. After so much work (and believe me, it is a lot of work) the feeling of pride was quite something.

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Monday, 7 December 2009

A pre-bentonite bottling

A couple of weeks ago I did a quick run of bottling, filling 30 bottles (washed and rinsed) with the unfiltered, unfined Verdejo. It's a relatively quick proceedure envolving filling the bottle to a decent level, putting the cork in the bottle (using the 'machine' pictured) and piling them up.

Overfilling them can lead to a messy situation when the cork is forced into the neck.

Leaving one of the bottles in the fridge showed some evidence of 'matter' building up at the bottom of the wine, but nothing serious.

Bentonite fining will go ahead shortly...

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Friday, 28 August 2009

Make your own wine: step one

Well, this is it. While it's easy enough to be a wine writer, a wine taster, and a wine critic, I've decided to go one step further and make my own.

So what are my parameters? Well, this was hashed out on a piece of paper in a Tapas bar in Galicia. A summary of the main points follows:

Grape: I want to make white wine and I'm in Spain - near Toro to be precise - and here I have two options: Verdejo or Malvasia. While I love the idea of making wine from a grape that goes into Madeira, I don't want to make Madeira. Also, I've only ever tasted one relatively decent bottle of Malvasia, and it was Swiss. So through a negative process of deduction I've ended up with Verdejo.

Luckily Verdejo ain't half bad - nice, aromatic wines with bright fruit and moderate acidity. However, it can have something I dislike in white wines: it tends to be quite glycerol-ly. So we'll try to avoid that. Now I need to negociate a price with one of the locals.

Space: once the local group of kids has finished using our small shed for their parties during fiesta, I've got a quite dark place to work in. Appropriately enough, it's on the 'Calle de las Bodegas'. It used to be a small winery (in this town, almost every family owns a ramshackle doorway in the Bodega [winery/cellar] street) but has been gutted. Luckily, the roof is new.

Style: Tough one this. Initially, I wanted to do everything in stainless steel - keep it all nice and clean and fresh. But a barrel came up. And you can't really turn that down. So I'm going for barrel fermented Verdejo. As for skin contact, that's yet to be decided and it will mainly depend on what kind of kit I'll have at my disposal. Aged in oak - no idea, but probably about six months.

All other considerations (bottling, labelling, type of cork, etc.) will be decided on later.

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