Gil, Burt and I got together to bottle our most recent plum wine. Burt bought a floor corker, like the one we used for the '09 Cabernet, which is far superior to the hand corker we'd been using. Like last year's Elderberry, Burt wanted to filter his portion of the plum wine. First, we tasted our wine as it was, dry and unfiltered. Then we filtered his half and tasted again. Then sweetened to his preference level and tasted again. I chose not to filter, as I feel it strips the wine of some complexity. We also tried his version of the '09 Elderberry wine. I'll include my notes from my unfiltered version, tried two days later. Lastly, we sampled from our barrel of '10 Syrah, deciding it was reductive and in need of racking.
'10 Plum dry, unfiltered
Nose - bright and heady, with deep plum skin, black plum and raspberry, with touches of apricot and strawberry.
Quite tart. Intense flavors follow through. A touch of bitterness from the concentrated skin taste.
We're thinking that since the intensity of flavor is always so high, and that the '08 came out too acidic, that this year if the acidity is too high at crush, we can simply adjust it by adding water. Some of Burt's friends would prefer it less concentrated, anyway. (That would, of course, be done before adding sugar to desired brix level. I should also note that our desired acidity level for the plum is higher than just about any grape wine.)
'10 Plum filtered, dry
Cleaner, lighter, simpler. Plummy, more strawberry.
Burton's '10 Plum "Barton Orchard" Filtered
Sweetened with 6 cups of sugar to 7 gallons.
Nice round smoky plum, strawberry and raspberry. Good grip.
Barton Orchard '10 Plum "Estate" Unfiltered
Sweetened with 1 cup of sugar to 6 gallons.
More delicate, more strawberry, less sweet than previous off-dry. Nice.
I was planning to do this completely dry, but chicken out due to the minor bitterness. Then, after trying the Elderberry, which was quite bitter when bottled last year, I immediately regretted my second guessing. But I did do 2 bottles completely dry, in order to have something to check in on.
Burton's '09 Elderberry "Barton Orchard" Filtered
Nose - shy light red fruit, a touch meaty, musty, opening up with pomegranate.
Delicately sweet, light red fruit, a touch meaty, foxy/musty elderflower. Bitterness is almost completely gone.
Barton Orchard '09 Elderberry "Estate" Unfiltered
5/1/2011: Bitterness is pretty much resolved. Very fragrant and floral with lots of raspberry, other red fruits and elderberry, some astringency and a hint of bitterness. Good complexity and body. Should be better dry, or at least sweetening wasn't necessary after all.
Barton Orchard '10 Syrah "Coastview Vineyard" (Monterey County)
Nose - deep, touch of sulfur, classic dark Coastview Syrah, touch of smoked ham, soft expression.
Sulfur note, blackberry, smoked ham, good mineral, touch of mandarin.
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