This past weekend Stefania and I racked and sulfured four of our 2009 wines. We have to wait until the secondary fermentation is complete before adding sulfur and that usually takes a few months after the wines have gone into barrel.
I think I'm just about to admit defeat when it comes to trying to take pictures on days we rack. I always start off with good intentions, but we end up working non stop and my hands are busy the entire time. I only took only two pictures. This was the first one.
An exciting picture of the top of the tank after I opened it. I was going to take pictures of each step, but we move so fast, and are so busy through everything that it's just not working to try and take photos. But this is the first step. Open the top of the tank. Otherwise when you start to pump the wine back into barrel you will create a terrible vacuum inside the tank.
Then we we are on to all the tasks. We filled barrels, cleaned barrels, sulfured barrels, moved barrels, emptied tanks, cleaned tanks, filled tanks, added Argon, checked pH's, added sulfur, cleaned pumps, cleaned hoses, cleaned bins, stirred Chardonnay, topped Chardonnay, cleaned the floor, emptied toppers, cleaned toppers, filled toppers, and tasted samples. Which is picture #2
I pull about a cup of wine out of each lot and Stefania runs acidity tests on them. Those are the instruments in the back. We also pour a bit of that wine into a glass and try them out. The acidity reading helps us figure out how much sulfur we need to add to protect the wine from bacteria. The higher the acid the less sulfur needs to be added.
In between all the cleaning we did get some notes down I've combined Stefania's notes with mine:
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Crimson Clover Vineyard, Santa Clara Valley
Alcohol : 14.9, pH 3.67
Dark and saturated with color. Heady nose of flowers, berry, and chocolate. Lush, fat and ripe with black fruit, berries, plum, and mocha. Complex, round and bold. Stefania noted the powerful and ripe tannins. We'll probably age this one at least 22 months in barrel. Very promising wine, this site is turning out some great wines.
2009 Syrah, Split Rail Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
Alcohol 14.4, pH 3.76
Garnet with purple hues, very bright. Soft nose with black olive, spices, cherry and berry notes. Cherry, Raspberry, wild berry and more olive and some smoke flavors. Great balance with a long finish. More serious than the Eaglepoint Syrah.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains
Alcohol 13.1, pH 3.89
The first blend is 85% Harvest Moon and 15 % Chaine d'Or. We will likely add more Chaine d'Or to get to a final blend, which should lower the pH and raise the alcohol slightly.
Deep ruby red. Wild berry, mint and spice on the nose. Stefania said "Heritage Berries, you know berries before they started breeding them for size." Super ripe tannins make the wine very soft and smooth with plum, and ripe berry fruit. No sharp edges on this wine. Not picking up a lot of wood notes yet, it's in 70% new oak.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Chaine d'Or Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
Alcohol 14.2, pH 3.67
Dark with purple hue, very deep color. Open fruity nose, with currants, berry and plum. Ripe round tannins. Getting the tannins ripe on the estate is a challenge, but we did it in 2009! Berry fruit with chocolate notes. Heady notes of spring blossoms, bright fruit and spicy wood notes. Great lift and finish, very fruity.
This is really the vineyard starting to reach it's maximum. Ours hopes for this wine are very high, best of the 09's at this point. Aging now in 75% new oak.
We're pretty hopeful on the 2009's. The pH's had us a bit worried, they seemed high, but the wines all show good balance and lift. The noses are very expressive. This will probably be a vintage I tell people to buy and drink while they age their 2008's. I little like 2007 or maybe 2005 with more concentration in the wines.