So here we are finally, in the new year and this one ends in "13" ! Is it to be ominous...akin to Friday the 13th lore? Does anybody feel that? I, for one, do not. On the contrary, I feel a rush of promise, a palpable warm fuzzy, if you will, unlike the last few (too many) years.
January has sprung, and in the cellar it's always a good time to set the tone anew. Days are starting to get longer again (and sometimes even warmer). The wines are settling down after being prodded and poked through harvest. We just finished our monthly chores - topping, checking sulfur levels, sanitizing, stirring barrels, and most fun of all, tasting.
Tasting - that sounds a little early you might say. Well, with bottling not so far around the corner in April, blending trials are not far off. In fact, preliminary trials will begin in February actually, so it is indeed time to start making assessments.
On the whole, I'm very pleased. While not trying to glorify the role of winemaker, as many do, I find that the process (like most of life, hopefully) is one of continual learning. I'm fond of saying that what helps keep me fresh and hungry is that every year is a whole new ballgame of sorts. Sure, you're going to go through basically the same steps, but under a completely new set of circumstances. Weather (i.e. Mother Nature) is the major prognosticator here, but aside from the obvious - hot/cold, dry/wet, she can impact schedules at a moments notion. In short, that round peg of what you thought you learned last year will most likely not fit so easily in to this years square hole.
Anyway, I digress - I have been making (and learning) about red wines from the beginning. So with a white wine and our first, Rose', I find myself looking up at the steep section of the learning curve. That said, it really is a lot of fun - a whole new criteria, if you will for things such as acidity, mouthfeel, finish, texture and so on. Like I said, "fresh and hungry".
More from our blending trials next month.