And the winner is…February 20, 2013
Thank you to all who joined us February 9th for our 3rd annual roll out the barrels at Still Waters Vineyards. We had a GREAT turnout with over 100 people and enjoyed every moment. With 30 barrels to taste we were happy to have so many palettes to help us in selecting the barrels for some of our top wines. The three top barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon will be used in our 2009 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon. The three top Merlot barrels will go into our 2009 Reflections and 2009 Clone 3 Cuvee. Be watching for these wines to be bottled in about a year and if that seems too long to wait, come by and ask for a barrel sample.
Here are some of the trends we found from the results posted below:
Barrels are all different, even if they are from the same year. We noticed that the same exact wine: meaning pick date, yeast, rack date etc., in a barrel from the same year had different number of votes. This is in part because of the way barrels are made. Wine barrels are made from Oak trees that are usually over 100 years old. They are cut into strips and left outside to dry exposed to the elements for at a minimum two years. If the staves were dryer, the trees older, or the growing soil different, the barrels can impart different flavors.
The fruit that was sorted before fermentation was preferred over the non-sorted wines. The reason to sort the fruit before fermentation is to remove any debris other than grapes, lowering the tannins and also vegetal flavors. It makes sense that this wine would be preferred due to its softer flavors.
On average, the later pick dates were more favorable. This means the fruit had a longer hang time resulting in higher sugar and softer flavors. Since our winery can only process so much at a given time, we have to stagger our pick dates. We are working to blend earlier pick dates with later pick dates to balance the flavors from the different dates.
FX10 was the more desirable yeast in the Merlot. The results of yeast were even in the Cabernet. The larger differences were location on the vineyard and if the fruit was sorted.
These results have given Paul the backing to go ahead and purchase a new crush pad system. Our new system which contains a sorting table, means all our fruit will have those softer, less vegetal flavors that were more favorable in the sorted Cabernet Barrels.
Let us know if you have any questions or would like to re-taste any of the barrels.