Wednesday, October 6, 2010

2009 Lambert Ranch Petite Sirah in da barrel

Remember, eager readers, about the tale of the petite sirah that I started from frozen must earlier this summer? Amidst all the home improvement projects, I've been letting that sit on the lees while it underwent MLF. I was really hoping that it would finish as quickly as the carmenere MLF this spring, but it seemed to slow down and stop at about 100 mg/L. Chromatography showed just a whisker of malic acid still remaining, but the stuff had been sitting on the gross lees for about 3.5 weeks and I was getting worried about possible reductive conditions setting in.

Just about when that I was trying to carve out some time in my schedule to rack off the lees into another tank, I had an opportunity to buy a new barrel. Andrew at Salmon Falls Winery in South Berwick, ME had an extra 25 gallon Kelvin Cooperage American oak barrel that he wasn't going to use, so I made a quick road trip to investigate his microwinery operation (very informative) and pick up the barrel. I figured that racking into the barrel could only help the MLF to finish as wood barrels often contain resident populations of malo-lactic bacteria. After making sure the barrel was hydrated, I was ready to go.

Ended up doing a gravity fill instead of pumping the wine into the barrel. Took awhile, but less stuff to sanitize and clean! I was quite pleased that I only needed about 200 mL of additional wine to completely top off the barrel (used some of the 2008 syrah).

So the petite sirah has been laid to rest while it finishes MLF. I'll check in a week or so. Isn't that color just absolutely amazing? Still very young, but full bodied aromas of dark cherries. This should be good!



Anonymous said...

Noel, Glad to see the barrel has been put to good use - good luck!

MA Winemaker said...

Just had a wine tasting at the house and we ended up doing barrel samples... The feedback on the petite sirah was "O. M. G."! Licorice, dark fruits, tannic. Tasty now, but needs time to smooth those tannins. Folks were throwing around numbers like 6-8 years for aging. Not sure I can wait that long, but was pretty darn pleased with the results so far.