Friday, October 1, 2010

Pressing Matters

Adesso, sono un garagista! (Now I am a garagista!).

Yesterday (day 6 of the wine fermenting "on the skins"), I pressed the must, wringing every drop of savory juice I could from the skins and pulp with my trusty second hand torchio (wine press).
Now the fermenting wine is safely fizzing away in 54 liter (14 gallon) glass demigianne (demijohns). From right to left are: The "frivolous" rosato; the elegant day 5 salasso (drawn-off) rosso; the serious day 6 free run (unpressed) red, and the nearly black day 6 press wine red -- about 189 liters (50 gallons) of fermenting wine!

Going back over projections I jotted down last winter, I see that I originally planned on about 27 gallons of red and 7 gallons of white wine (about a bottle per vine) or a total of 128 liters. Despite the oidio, birds, deer, and hare damage, and thanks to the back-up grapes Elisabetta offered from ancient Pieve San Stefano, we overshot by 30%! Rather than the miserable 20% yield (37 liters) I was expecting, we threw a ton of grapes to the ground and selected only the best bunches and still have 236 bottles of wine (about 20 cases if every drop makes it) bubbling away! At least as far as quantity goes, I'd call that snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

What remains to be seen, or rather tasted, is the ultimate quality of my product. For now, I am happy to report that the juice that oozed through the slats of the press basket yesterday was a delicious explosion of cherries, with chewy but not bitter tannins, and reasonably bright acids. And of course the taste of yeast one expects in fermenting wine.

What kind of wine do I most want to craft? I would love to create an elegant, fruit-forward, terroir-driven wine that tastes like you've just kissed a pirate who's eaten a fistful of blackberries, with dark notes of violet, wolf pelt, and female musk sprinkled in. But more importantly, I want it to be a pure expression of this place and the effort I've spent here. I want it to show just how much of myself I am willing to pour into the task at hand.


  1. Just spent some time reading your blog after Eric's FB recommendation. I've enjoyed it very much! I am a NY painter and a lover of Italy. I look forward to more posts from you!

    Allison Munoz

  2. What an incredible process- thank you so much for sharing!