January in the Winery…more happening than you might think!
The recent news at Medicine Creek is all about the 2009 Wine! All the “cows are in the barn” as we say at this time of year. By that we mean the wine has been yeast fermented and then pressed off the skins into stainless steel tanks. To separate the wine from the skins and seeds we use a basket type press which is very gentle on the fruit and skins. Light pressure is also used during the pressing process to avoid thinning the flavor of the wine and avoid damaging the seeds. This attention to detail produces a higher quality, less tannic wine .
Although basket pressing is a slower method, basket presses are the traditional method of pressing wine and are still used in most high quality boutique wineries. Now that the wine has been yeast fermented it will spend about six weeks undergoing a bacterial fermentation known as malolactic fermentation.
A special bacteria is used by winemakers to further “soften” the young wine and add floral “notes” to the nose of the wine. Following the malolactic fermentation we will place the wine into French oak barrels for a period of twenty four months. The oak barrels give the wine additional body and mouth feel along with sensory “characters” such as vanilla and smoke. Micro oxygenation will occur which allows further “softening” of the wine and development of the wine to it’s full sensory potential.
Each month every barrel will be “topped” or in other words, refilled to avoid having an air space at the top of the barrel. Over a period of one year approximately ten percent of the volume of each barrel will be lost to evaporation. It is this ten percent volume loss that needs periodic replenishing. Sometimes referred to as “the angels share”, this constant evaporation allows concentration of the remaining wine as each “topping” addition is made.
Thus the big bold flavor and dark color of our wine reflects this additional step in creating fine our wine.Bottling and blending of our 2007 wines will be our next production step. Typically we start that process in late January. I will “fill” you in regarding bottling in our next article. Until then Cheers!
Jim and the Gang at Medicine Creek