Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fire and Wine

I am sure many of you have heard the news that Grape Inspirations Winery in Carmel burned down last week. I cannot imagine where you start after having your whole business reduced to ashes. I suppose you start out by designing a new building and getting it built. That would shoot a year at least. Then you would probably find another winery where you could start making wine again, under their license, so you’d have product when the new building was ready. Maybe the ATC (state) and TTB (federal) agencies would allow you to use a temporary building to make your wine, but the hassle of setting up such a facility would most likely lead you back to finding another winery where you could work.

Problem is; how many Indiana wineries have space to handle such a process? Every winery I have visited is pretty tight on climate-controlled square footage, although I know a few have helped some new wineries get started before they had a building. So it’s possible, I guess. I hope we never have to face that problem!

What’s new at the winery? We bottled our “Nouveau” style red wine this week, which we will release next Friday (11/26) as our salute to the French Tradition of releasing their new wines on the third Thursday of November. For those wine enthusiasts among us, that is this Thursday (18th) and I am sure many local wine stores will have a batch to sell. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:

“Beaujolais nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular 'vin de primeur', fermented for just a few weeks then officially released for sale on the third Thursday of November. This "Beaujolais Day", or "Beaujolais Nouveau Day" sees heavy marketing from the producers, with races to get the first bottles of the vintage to different markets. Beaujolais Nouveau is a purple-pink wine that is particularly lightweight, even by the standards of Beaujolais. The method of production means that there is very little tannin, and the wine can be dominated by fruity, ester flavors of bananas, figs and pear drops. These are enhanced by the frequent recommendation to serve the wine lightly chilled, at approximately 55°F.”

Last year we had several of these new-style wines, but this year we have only a small batch of some Indiana-grown Chambourcin that we handled to be drinkable at this very young age. I am very pleased with the result, as the grapes were picked on September 18; the fermentation began on the 19th and completed (for-the-most-part) by the 28th; then we left the new wine on the skins for two weeks; then pumped off the free-run; and pressed the skins on October 9th. So the wine has only been tanked for five weeks or so and out of the vineyard for two months.

So what does it taste like? Hard to answer, because I have been riding this wine almost daily, watching and tasting. I feel its got a strong Chambourcin flavor, with overtones of ripe fruit, blackberries and currants. I drank about 500ml of the unfiltered stuff left in the hose and filter housing last night and was very pleased. I want to try it well chilled and see how that impacts the flavor. I am quite happy with the color of the wine, although there is a noticeable “muddiness” as you might expect with a young, naturally made wine. Well anyway, stop by on BLACK FRIDAY and enjoy a taste of this new wine. Have a seat and rest your feet after slogging through the malls, enjoy a glass of wine and some Indiana-made cheese.

By the way, last spring I said I would do three things: (1) paint the house; (2) install the new background music system; (3) finish the downstairs trim and paneling. Ok, well the music works now, OK, but its not the end of the year yet, I might still (haw-haw) get some carpentry work done.


  1. So you're saluting a tradition of releasing wine on the third Thursday in November by releasing new wine on the fourth Saturday in November? I don't get it. Plus I was thinking of visiting this weekend, so of course I think you should do it then! =;-) Marco

  2. Oh wait a minute after re-reading you're releasing your new wine the fourth friday in November not saturday, my bad, of course i'm not sure that makes anymore sense as a tribute to the third thursday tradition. - Marco