Monday, November 10, 2008

Merlot press 10-2-08

I took a ton of pictures. Here's a slideshow:

You can see we used a mesh bag to keep things neat. Pressing starts off easy, but by the end you are using your whole body and bracing yourself to muscle the ratchet back and forth. The juice that just runs through before we press is called the "free run", which was over 70% of the juice we got. The rest is the "press wine". The press wine has more character from the skins, being richer and more complex. It's character graduates with the pressure applied to extract it. It's important to taste as you go, as you may reach a point where it is no longer a positive addition. The latter end can be harsh and astringent.

Here's my tasting notes:

Free run
Harsh, acidic, some tannin and heat, olallieberry, has the tart rustic character of cherry plum skins.

Early press
More of a pure blackberry taste, smoother, lighter.

End of press
Firm, but pleasant tannin, Merlot fruit, lemon juice.

I'm glad there's no raisiny taste. The harshness is a little disconcerting, but it's a fairly normal feature at this point.

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