While we can’t be sure the exact cause: the warm summer, rain late in the spring and possibly warm winter all contributed to our El Dorado own-rooted Chardonnay vineyard being ready to harvest this past week. Half was picked in July and half in August. (July 31, August 1)
Flavors were more developed than I was expecting. The two days had .5 degree difference in brix with PH staying basically the same. Seeds were brown and both the minerality and musque components showing nicely.
We pressed with two people pitching, one sorting and one helping fill the press. It took 5 loads making for a long, slow day. Today, two days, later, we filled our fermentation barrels. We do this to separate out gross and fine lees in tank. After a few weeks, we will add the fine lees to the barrels. The gross lees were tossed.
The slow processing on Friday allowed us to more fine tune our usage of the press. Last year we massively reduced the number of turns. With our wood basket, we would fluff 3 times at most. No reason to turn 3 times between each increase in pressure.
On Friday, we discovered that the about of time holding at 1.6 bars (23 psi – so something like an under-inflated car tire), does not measurably increase yields. The rough graph shows that holding the pressure doesn’t increase yield.
As the harvest season goes on, we hope to really fine tune the press and get the exact results we would like.
Happy Harvest 14