It was my first day at the winery, and I was excited to get my feet wet!
I have decided to add a grape this year--Syrah. It is a natural choice as I head down the Rhone Road, but it is a trickly grape, for me. It can be a little intense and concentrated, so I want to be careful with how I treat it. My first decision was to leave the stems on, aka, whole cluster. What does that mean? Well, I hope that it means a lighter style wine.
Syrah is robust, all on it's own, and in the heat of California it can get pretty concentrated. If you like that style, that is okay, but I want to drink my own wine, and I prefer my Syrah a bit more subtle. Being that I am buying the fruit, I have to make some choices in the winery.
A note about this distintion between the vineyard and the winery: it is a balance of the two, full stop. It is commonly held that the real work happens in the vineyard, and there is some truth in that. If you have good fruit, you can make good wine; actually, without good fruit, you cannot make decent wine. That said, good fruit does not garauntee good wine. Winemakers have to treat the wine well, as does a chef with good ingredients. I am pleased that the grapes we got from the Sierra Foothills are beautiful. You know good fruit the way you do in the grovery store; it looks plup, fresh and inviting. Just as fruit that is too ripe looks tired and unappealing, right? You get this, and it is that intuitive.
The advice I got about syrah is that it should be a little bit shrivled, that lends to complex flavors, so I am giving that a shot this year. This process is like cooking, which is trial and error, but the main difference is that if my pizza does not come out right, I can make another quickly, but with wine, I have to wait a while before I see the outcome. So, cross you fingers, please.
So, whole cluster, slower fermentation and challenges in stomping, but hopefully a slower fermentation, and the outcome is a more carbonic style wine, lighter and fresher with more food friendly chracteristics. I will keep you posted!
This is me standing on the grapes beacuse me feet will not go in!