Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Big Fiasco Fiasco!

I've always loved that winery aroma. Now our garage is full of it.

Last night we had un disastro, un catastrofo, un incidente internazionale stratosferico, It was a big fiasco, literally. That’s what these gigantic, fig-shaped, green glass flasks are. They are also thinner than I imagined in places. I learned this the sad way as we were racking (siphoning) the last of the wine that needed to come off its lees from the 54 liter (14.25 gallon) demijohns.

Because a full demijohn weighs 130 sloshing pounds, which is more than my back cares for me to lift from ground level, my procedure is to rack half the wine into its next home (another demijohn), then rack the rest into a smaller 25 liter demijohn, to be poured into the bigger one once it is lifted up back onto the shelf. All went well during the two back and hand cramping hours clutching the siphon tubes, and I’d lifted the last half-full 65 pound demijohn of rosato onto the shelf. Then I decided to adjust it an inch. Just and inch. Just a little nudge. It kissed the demijohn next to it, just touched, and suddenly fruity red rosato was gushing out and swirling like blood around our ankles. I was lucky I didn’t cut myself.

Sally had blinked and missed the glassy kiss. She started to cry. “What am I looking at?”

I was too numb to answer.

Luckily, I was able to pour what was left from the broken demijohn into the smaller demijohn and nearly fill it. We topped it off with two bottles of local rosato and a little bit of press wine from a smaller jug, then corked it with a fermentation lock and started mopping. Happily, we still have 150 or so liters of wine left (180 bottles). Even more happily, we tasted the racked wine, a red and the pink rosato, and found them both complex, fruity, and likeable, even for “green” wine.

I already have my New Year’s resolution: We’re fermenting the next vintage in stainless steel!

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