Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Racking the 2006s

The 2006 harvest has been in barrels for 14 months now, the wines are tasting good, full of fresh fruit flavours, and so I’m planning to put them in bottle relatively early, probably before Christmas.

Traditionally Burgundy was bottled barrel-by-barrel, but since no two barrels ever taste quite the same most producers now prefer to blend, and thus bottle a single homogeneous lot. Hence I’ve spent today racking the wines from barrel to the stainless-steel tanks from which I will bottle in a few weeks time.

The racking needs to be done extremely gently; the wine is crystal clear (since it hasn’t moved for 14 months) but the bottom of the barrel is covered in a thick sludge of dead yeast cells (called lees) and the lees can all too easily be stirred up, making the wine cloudy (mostly harmless but quite unattractive!)
Rather than use a pump I use the device pictured above to ‘push’ the wine gently out of the barrel. Compressed air is pumped into the top of the barrel (via the lower hose) creating a positive pressure which pushes wine from the bottom of the barrel up and out through upper hose. I find this a much more gentle and controllable method than even the slowest pump.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Berry Bros

Just a quick post to let you know that UK readers can now buy my 2005 vintage online from Berry Brothers & Rudd...
Click here to visit their site.