So now that the home vineyard is hilled up and made ready for winter, all my hobby winemaking focus has moved to the wine cellar. My wines have all completed alcoholic and malolactic fermentations – as appropriate – and are well into various stages of bulk aging or maturation. But how is it all coming – at least in my humble opinion? So far, so good. Let me break it down a bit.
This year, as I mentioned in my last blog, I am attempting to make my first real sparkling wines. I am making one from a blend of my home grown Vidal Blanc and California French Colombard. I am also making one from a bit of my Rosé wine. Things are moving along well and I am in the riddling stage. I mentioned in my last blog that I was utilizing the cardboard bottle boxes for this purpose. I really couldn't riddle properly in them. So I worked with a seller on Ebay to build me a wall mounted rack that gives me the flexibility to raise it off the wall so I can increase the vertical angle on the bottles. I wanted this to enhance getting the spent yeast and other solids to settle into the bottle neck. The seller worked with me in modifying his typical rack and did a great job. I am very happy with the outcome. Once riddling is complete, I will put the bottles back into the boxes, neck side down, and allow the solids to compact a bit more. I will then move forward with the process of disgorgement. Keep your fingers crossed!
This year, I made a blended table white wine from my homegrown Vidal Blanc and some California French Colombard. I chose the Colombard to blend with my Vidal due to its very similar characteristics. In fact, the blend tastes very similar to a 100% Vidal Blanc. Vidal Blanc, as I've mentioned in some of my other blogs, is probably one of the least problematic grapes to make a quality wine from. As long as you let it mature properly, the resultant wine is bursting with pineapple and pear, with a bit of a citrus finish. This year's wine is all that! I back sweetened to 1% residual sugar, versus 2% that I did last vintage. I find that the wine gets sweeter as it ages in the bottle. The 1%, I believe, is a good balance to the wine's acidity this year and really provides for showcasing the wonderful aromatic fruits. So after stabilization, polish filtering, and back sweetening; I am just allowing for a bit of bulk aging as I prepare for bottling....