Wanted: Tank Space

Today I spent some time up at Stagecoach vineyards looking at the grapes. They are making progress, but they aren’t there yet. So far the weather is still on our side. It’s cool and cloudy today, but no rain. We are supposed to warm up again and get some sunshine, with no big threat of rain in the forecast. We are going to lay it out there and get as much flavor as we can. Pretty much all of the herbaceousness is just about gone. I’m looking for that little twist of concentration of flavor and development of fruit and berry flavors. As long as the weather is on our side, and the vines are in good condition, we will go for it. I’ll keep a close eye on the weather, and the vines. I’ll go back on Thursday or Friday, just to check again. A lot of times in a matter of three days, things can really turn a corner.

On the fermenter front, things are going well. The Bressler Cabernet is fermenting, and it smells really good. We have the Blue Oak Cabernet for Selene that is about half way through its fermentation, smells really good, picking up a lot of color, and tannins and has good flavors.

The Cabernet Franc from Frediani is dry, but still in tank. It tastes really good, and is ready to press at any time, but I’m guarding that tank, so when we press it, I can crush the Stagecoach Cabernet in it. I don’t want to lose that tank to another winery. (Some of the things you have to do when you are working under pressure, and everyone is.) There are lots of full tanks, it doesn’t matter if it’s your winery or someone else’s. The tanks are all full, so we all have to do what we need to do to get the grapes to the right place in order to make wine.

The Merlot from Frediani went down to barrels yesterday. We have the free run and the press fraction separate, with a total of 16 barrels.

The Sauvignon Blanc is doing really well. I stirred the lees myself on the barrel lots yesterday. Whenever you get a free moment, you look for work that you can do that makes a difference in your quality and wouldn’t get done any other way unless you do it. When the little baton used to stir lees is free, I make use of it when I can. (Usually once or twice a week.) You get a lot of nice rich texture from stirring those lees. They are really sweet this year, so the flavor they contribute is good as well.

Selene just has Stagecoach left, and we will have it all in the barn. Bressler and Dalla Valle are done. Things are making nice progress. I’ll be walking the vineyards with Tina at Palmaz tomorrow, and with Whitney and Laura at Fisher on Thursday.

The weather is still on our side. We are all really tired, winemakers and grape growers alike. We can’t complain too much, even though we still do!