Monday, May 07, 2007

A Little Validation or is it Support?

We're out on the road right now. Mostly vacation, our first week long one in a long time, but we're also visiting a few Pinot Noir makers in Oregon.

We're planning on making a little Pinot Noir this year, and next year we may have up to eight tons to make. So a little research was in order.

I'm picky about Pinot. I don't like Pinot to be heavy or jammy. I like Pinot Noir's that are silky and fragrant, with sexy noses that jump from the glass. I like the wine to finish long and clean with just a hint of oak. Chambolle-Musigny is the village in Burgundy I usually prefer. Noted for it's fragrant silky wines. Light, yet packed with flavor.

So we visited a few places, and wrapped up the day at Belle Pente, Stef's favorite Pinot maker. We quizzed the winemaker on everything he does. His wines are fragrant ans silky and packed with flavor.

Many of his tips, are things we do now or things we've heard from other Pinot Noir makers we like. Use gravity not pumps. Rack the wine as little as possible, don't settle the wine before barrel. 1/3 to 1/2 new oak, medium toast never heavy. It's very good to hear those things from winemakers you think are doing a good job, at least when they have those things in common.

It was also good to get some validation on things we do in the vineyard that not every one agrees with. We don't leaf pull, we remove secondary shoots and laterals. We also don't leave one cluster per shoot. We evaluate each cane and plant and then decide on one cluster or two.

Those things can be controversial, so it was very nice to hear that they do the same things, for the same reasons. A little validation we're on the right track.

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