On this past Friday, we bottled two wines I am very excited about. Both are on going experiments.
First up, we bottled our yet to be named Botrytis Chardonnay. (If you have a name, you can enter our contest on Facebook.) We picked these grapes last year on November 30th. We were thinking of waiting until December 1 since we have never picked grapes in December before but a storm was looming.
The vineyard normally yields roughly 60 tons of fruit. It was all left to rot (Botrytis is rot) so we carefully picked the most infected 2 tons. Even with Botrytis, the fruit was not super ripe – just 22 brix. We gently pressed it, settled it and allowed a natural fermentation to occur. Eventually it stopped with some residual sugar and bright acidity.
In our past experiments, we tried to make sure our attempts at desert wine fully stopped using sulfur and/or filtering. In both cases, we didn’t like the results. This time, we just let it go. We bottled it into 500ml bottles. I expect it to have some spritz – if you leave it in the sun, it will have more. If you store it extremely carefully, it will have less. I think this might be a once in my lifetime wine.
Lily’s Cuvee was our second bottling. This is a Pétillant Naturel with 90% Anderson Valley Chardonnay and 10% Stone Crusher Roussanne. The roussanne is added for structure. It went into bottle around 2.5 brix. We would have preferred 2 brix but that wasn’t in the cards on Friday. Lily’s Cuvee is a pet nat using nothing but grapes. No fermentation controls, no additives and no SO2. It is a wild wine – hopefully it’s name sake will not be quite as wild.