Wednesday, October 6, 2010

All this Wine Needs Is a Good Bleeding

Some of our bins of crushed Zinfandel and Syrah have been inoculated with yeast, and they're now fermenting outside the cold room. Before the yeast was added, we bled some of the juice and dumped it down the drain.  This raises two questions: One, why waste some perfectly good juice? Two, why bleed the must by removing some of the juice?

Let's consider Question Two first: Red wine is made by ensuring that the juice is constantly in contact with the grape skins during fermentation. If that doesn't happen, you end up with rosé. To ensure that you have the right juice-to-skin ratio, it's often necessary to remove some of the juice. This means that we'll get some nice, concentrated wine with dark red coloring -- maybe even a little purple.

As for Question One, that's a tough one. We just don't have enough juice to make a good batch of rosé. It would be nice to do it, but we'd need a separate tank (it's usually aged in steel), a different bottle, a new label, etc. And since rosé gets no respect in this country, it's not very profitable. In France, however, they're serious about their rosé.

It reminds me of an incident that happened at a restaurant a few months ago. My wife and I were having dinner and a woman at the next table said something like, "Ah rosé, I remember those years!" I should have asked her if she was new to wine because her comment was condescending and ignorant, but I think I just smiled politely. If rosé is good enough for Joël Robuchon's Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, it's good enough for me. I just wish we hadn't dumped a barrel's worth down the drain.

Bye bye!

FYI, if anyone is curious, we bleed anywhere from 20% to 30% of juice from the must. That means that if we process 3 tons of grapes (1 ton = roughly 150 gallons of must after de-stemming), we'll bleed as much as 135 gallons of juice.

1 comment:

  1. I love that I'm reading this with a glass of rose in my hand. Yum!!