Monday, September 28, 2009

Ponderings and Rackings

I guess Fall fell today, with lower temp’s and gusty breezes. I noted the leaves turning, almost overnight, from green to golds and reds. I note new TV shows are also turning up, like those leaves I noted, even more old shows are starting new seasons. Yet I find my joy in the slippery goo I scrub from the bottom of my fermentation barrels. Yes, I did watch a bit of football and PBS’ new feature, The National Parks, by Ken Burns.

Both football and TV have their devotees and fanatics and those who do not share these affectations find it hard to understand the devotion, the obsession. I was asked Monday by a coworker at my day-job if I had a restful weekend and I laughed. I mentioned I had worked myself to exhaustion or at least to extreme tiredness. My day job is often more relaxing then winemaking and I like my job a good bit. But winemaking is my obsession.

As I pumped the new wine from barrel to barrel, it frothed and foamed. As the fermentation slows almost to a stop, a move into a new container injects some air and evident energy into the almost-wine. It reawakens the remaining yeast to action and the last bit of sugar contained in the fluid is attacked and transformed into alcohol and CO2. The almost-wine is a step closer to becoming what we hope it will be.

I revisited the barrels I had filled (racking we call it) a few days ago and opened the lids and stared into the still almost-wine. I took a few drops and set them on my tongue, the yeasty nature speaking the words, “Not yet, not yet!” Of course a wine newly fermented was not yet wine of a drinkable nature, but there is promise in those tastes.

Winemakers tend to be optimistic about new wine, we look for the good in the new vintage, --oh that we would do equally the same in our dealings with people. Every month for at least six months I will taste the almost wine and tracks its maturity and progress as it turns into a worthwhile beverage. Pride in our craft drives the hope that we have done something more then average, something that people will find pleasure in drinking.

This year I have an exceptional pride in our wooded Seyval Blanc, I feel it is more then just good and worthwhile as a serious wine. We have many wines I feel this way about, but I keep quiet when asked because that’s just an opinion, not a fact. Let the taster make his or her own judgment because in the end, it’s the taster’s opinion that counts.

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