I have been fining many of my wines this week, adding two or three egg-whites per barrel of red wine. I have been fining the 2003, 2004 and 2005 vintages. Fining using egg-whites is an ancient way of reducing some of the tannins in the wine; the protein in the egg-white combines with the wine’s protein to settle out; what nature would do if you had all the time in the world.
It is amazing how quickly it changes the wine. I would take a little wine out of the barrel with my wine thief (kind of like a glass baster that works on gravity) and then after adding the egg-whites and stirring vigorously I waited just a bit before removing another sample from the same barrel. The difference was immediate and amazing. The fined wine was a bit rounder and the fruit a bit more forward. The tannins were still there but less obvious.
Now I will wait for a week and then I will filter the wine gently doing what is called a polish filtration using less tight filter pads. This will, yes, polish the wine and make it brighter.
My big plan is to come up with a blended wine, a new Tramp Harbor Red (THR), and for those that don’t like that name, or that label, another label, Cuvee Rouge.
At the same time as I am blending a new THR I will be blending the new reserve wines from both the ’03 and ’04 vintages. I’ll use parts of them in the THR. I want to sell alot of wine this year. I think the new THR is going to be my best yet; virtually a blend of everything. And for the consumer, it will represent a terrific value. I hope to have it in bottle by mid-March.
At the same time I am getting ready to bottle the 2006 Pinot Noir, grown here on Vashon Island and the 2006 Chasselas Dore, also grown on the island.
These wines are exciting. I think they are great and I can’t wait to sell them. This time of year though is scary; it is rare to get an order for wine even though I know that people like my wine. It is just that there are so many wines out there. And really, why buy mine? And most of us, me included, are looking for $10. to $15. wines; great wines from southern France or Italy.
I know that I will sell my wine, especially during the season when people are out touring, visiting, or showing their parents the island. When they taste the wine, they almost always buy it.
I was just tasting the Pinot Noir after I racked it into a stainless steel barrel out of an oak barrel. I turned down the music (so I could taste better, really), opened the door to get some natural light so that I could see the true color of the wine, and breathed in the fresh air. Standing in the door frame, the wine smelled beautiful, like fresh raspberry…..but it was the yellow light that lit up the dark green grass that struck me. The apple trees next to the winery are barren of leaves and are dark mossy skeletons. But the light sang out that spring is right around the corner……..if I can just make it til then.
You see it is always like this, this time of year. I am cash poor and the bills keep coming in. It’s not terrible but its not fun, yet there I was looking out at the orchard, at that light, with a taste of promise on my palate and thinking to myself that I love, that I really love what I do.
I don’t try to make the greatest wines. I just try to make really good wines, wines that I like and wines that I know others like. There just aren’t enough of you and there are too many other wines to try and to enjoy.
I’m sorry for the bittersweet message but I don’t know how better to say it.
Look for the new Tramp Harbor Red in March or April and for the new Pinot Noir about that same time.
My summer concert series is taking shape. In early June, Michael Meade will be at the winery exploring the Bacchanalia and Dionysus of wine. He has a national following and I know this will be spectacular. July is open at this time but August is full. On August 2, Danny O’Keefe will be back for an exciting concert with a new CD. Danny is a crooner with a unique driving rythym. In late August, the 23rd, we will hold our first Folk Festival anchored by Larry Murante with help from Wally Bell. Then in September we go back to a poet, Samuel Green, Washington State’s first Poet Laureate.
I’ll be publicizing the concert and but please help by making early reservations.
This is going to be a special year.