So my white and rosé wines have been bottled, corked, labeled and color coded PVC capsules have been applied. I have placed them on my basement wine racks, as they begin a period of rest and bottle aging. Actually, I have already started drinking them. The simplicity of these wines is that essentially once they are bottled and allowed to rest for a few weeks to ensure any bottling shock has dissipated, they are ready to drink and really won't improve much over time. In fact, it is best to drink them young.
My dry red wines are still developing and being oaked. They are going through the beginnings of what can be a very long period of maturation; which is termed by the French as élevage. Élevage is defined as raising up or nurturing — as a parent raises a child to become an adult. In the case of red wine, it is allowing it to develop, trying not to be overbearing in its development; but intervening when it is absolutely necessary. This is why you taste, taste, and taste your dry red wines along the way; as I mentioned in my last blog. So with the above in mind, I have now entered a very quiet time in the wine cellar.
So now what? Well if you are into winter sports, the Northeast is the place to be this winter. We have received quite a bit of snow this season. This is good for the grapevines, by the way, as the deep snow provides them some additional insulation above what was provided in hilling them up with soil. This will help protect them from the sub-zero temperatures that are becoming so common here in the Hudson Valley. Ah, the Polar Vortex. But what if you're not into winter sports? Do the next best thing. Make beer!
Yes, make beer. But, do wine drinkers drink beer? I certainly do; as do most of the wine drinkers I know. There is a time, place, and food/meal that calls for a specific wine or a specific beer. It's about drinking what you like and what suits your mood. Winemakers can be excellent beer makers as well. I know a number of them. I have to admit, until very recently I had never made beer before. If you think about it, however, most all the equipment and processes are common and very similar to winemaking. The only real adders for basic beer making is a large pot, a good long probed thermometer, a long stainless steel spoon, and maybe a wort chiller....