Thursday, September 30, 2010

'09 Elderberry Bottling 8/25/10

The next day Amit joined us to finish and bottle the elderberry wine. Burt likes a certain level of sweetness to his fruit wines, as that's what his friends and family expect. Some fruit wines taste great dry, but not this one. We've also found that in sweetening our fruit wines, there are two specific points of sweetness where they seem most focused and in balance. We add sugar at bottling time, where it's easy to do our halves differently. So, mine are usually off-dry or dry, and his are always sweet.

With this wine there was also a lot of suspended solids. Burt was concerned about sediment freaking people out, so he wanted to filter. Sediment doesn't bother me, and filtering can strip out complexity. But, the wine has a harshness from the skins (should've racked more often) that filtering might help remove. Since Burt was set on filtering, we did his half first, and I got the chance to compare before making my decision...

Dry, unfiltered.
Bone dry. A bit bitter and astringent. Signature raw elderberry. Firm. Dark, smoky, meaty, with notes of raspberry, red plum and apricot.

Dry, filtered.
Bright clean raspberry. But it seems more bitter in the balance. Seems to have stripped out much of the other fruit character.

Easy choice not to filter, for me.

Burt added 3 cups of sugar to his half, while I opted for 1 cup. Each half yielded 19 bottles.

Barton Orchard '09 Elderberry Wine Estate
A bit bitter - needs time to (hopefully) mellow. Sugar too low for drinking not, but should be about right when ready. Sugar addition made the raspberry more prominent.

We also somehow manage the time to suffer through a barrel sample of our group's Cab...

'09 Cabernet Sauvignon GarLind Vineyard (Santa Clara Valley)

Nose - deep black currant, vanillin oak spice, smooth, hint of smoke, mellow with lovely spiciness, marigold.
Deep smooth black currant, creamy, spicy, (Hungarian, says Amit) oak, vanilla, touches of blackberry and raspberry.

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