I went down into the winery/cellar this afternoon to top off the zinfandel & syrah barrels and pull some wine from the apple and oaking chardonnay to taste their progress. First off, both batches of the apple wine are tasting great! There isn't a lot of obvious difference between the two at the moment (only change was the yeast strain in the fermentation). The second batch that was fermented with 71B-1122 yeast seems a little rounder & fuller in the mouthfeel, which is what I'm wanting since 71B is known to metabolize some of the malic acid to lactic acid.
The chardonnay is also tasting very nice. I racked it off the bentonite treatment on Jan 10 and added a couple sticks of French oak medium toast spirals for some added complexity from the oak. Not as vanilla, buttery, & soft as I'd like so I'll leave it on the spirals for a couple more weeks.
Now this is where I started to get exasperated. I needed to top off the chardonnay & apple carboys to prevent air oxidation of the wine. However, I discovered that my current stock of chardonnay is extremely low! Only 4 bottles of commercial chard in my entire cellar! So I decided to grab the 2007 Sandhill Crane Vineyards Chard for topping off, only to discover that it smells like massive brett invasion. Disappointing--that went down the drain. I next grabbed a 2005 Firelands Isle St. George Barrel Select chard. To my dismay, that bottle was noticeably brown and smelled like sherry. Also went down the drain. Two for two! I've never experienced this rate of bottle failure before!
I really don't want to break into my other two bottles for topping wine since they're rather expensive. So, I'll head out to the liquor store before dinner tonight and grab a bottle or two of inexpensive oaked chardonnay for topping off.
Who'd a thunk?
a MA Winemaker
p.s. Completely forgot about the reds! The syrah is just like ink with big notes of pepper & bright fruit. The zinfandel is also yummy. Big, opulent dark fruit flavors & high alcohol! Both of these have only been the barrel for about a month so there's a long way to go. Stay tuned for further updates.