Halfway Harvest update!

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Today reaches the halfway mark with a big 7000 tons! Luckily our winemaking team still enjoys the endless days and long nights by doing what they love!

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Another week of Harvest 2017 has come to an end!

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We are at yet another Weekend! Which means another exciting week of harvest has come to an end! Up to date we have harvested 1445 tons of white grapes and 200 tons of red grapes! We look forward to week 3 with long hours and busy days ahead!

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Photo by Tina Hillier

The Start of the 2017 Harvest Season!

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Yip, we are at the end of our first week of harvest and also in February already! Although one week means only a glimpse of the harvest to come, we are glad that the week is over and that we could get back into making new, award-winning wines for all our fans out there. Thus far, we’ve harvested just under 400 tons of grapes – that’s only in 4 days!

 

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Pinot Noir – One the most versatile wine grapes in the world!

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Pinot Noir is often hailed for being utterly delicious, but it also happens to be one of the most versatile wine grapes in the world. This single red grape variety can be transformed to create not just red wine, but white, rosé, and sparkling wine as well. How on earth is this possible? It all comes down to the winemaking methods and the production processes that determine this little grape’s fate.

 

White Pinot Noir

If you were to cut open a Pinot Noir grape, you’d see that the flesh (the pulpy part) is actually a pale greenish yellow color. It’s actually the skins of the grapes that dye the juice a beautiful red hue, so if you want to produce a white wine with red grapes – the skins have got to be removed ASAP. This is the secret to white Pinot Noir (aka “Vin Gris”)

Of course, the red skins of grapes start dying the juice really quickly so winemakers work extra fast, usually opting to harvest on a cool morning and get the grapes to the cellar and pressed as fast as possible. The wine press used to make white Pinot Noir is a special pneumatic press (this style of press is used for white wine making) which crushes the grapes but filters off the skins and seeds. The remaining juice typically has a lovely, deep golden color.

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How White Wine is Made

See how white wine is made differently than red wine.

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Red Pinot Noir

Red Pinot Noir uses the red winemaking process.

Grapes are collected and put into grape crushers which drop the entire contents of the crusher into a tank (skins, seeds, pulp, and all!). Because Pinot Noir is such a thin-skinned variety, it often gets extended time with its skins (before and after wine making), in order to soak up as much of the red pigment as possible. In case you were wondering, these two processes are cold-soaking (before fermentation) and extended maceration (after fermentation). Some winemakers will even add the Pinot Noir stems into the fermentation to increase color extraction (it adds some bitterness but you get a whole lot more color and age-worthiness too!). After this whole process is done, you have a wine with a pale to medium ruby red color.

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How Red Wine is Made

See how red wine is made differently than white wine.

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Rosé Pinot Noir

Making Rosé is all about timing. The longer the skins are in the juice, the darker they dye the wine.

For Pinot Noir, this process looks a little like a combination of red and white winemaking. The grapes get crushed into a tank with the skins and seeds. Then the juice is monitored by the winemaker who takes samples every hour or so to check the color extraction. The moment she thinks the color is perfect, the winemaker strains the juice from the skins into clean tanks where the wine completes its fermentation. I’ve spoken with winemakers in both California and Oregon who say they’ve made rosé wines with less than 7 hours of “skin contact” time!

 

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How Rosé Wine is Made

Learn about the different methods used to create rosé wine.

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Sparkling Pinot Noir aka Blanc de Noirs

Start with white Pinot Noir and then ferment it again to make blanc de noirs.

This is the specialty of Champagne, including Jay-Z’s brand, Armand de Brignac, whose “tete de cuvée” is a special edition bottling of 100% Pinot Noir in a Blanc de Noirs style. To make sparkling wine, you essentially take a specially formulated wine (using perfectly underripe grapes that produce more acidity) and ferment it again in bottles so that the carbon dioxide can’t escape and it pressurizes the bottle, carbonating the wine. You can find Blanc de Noirs made all over the world, and almost always, Pinot Noir is the grape used for this wine (the other is a Pinot variant called Pinot Meunier).

 

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How Sparkling Wine is Made

Learn about the different methods used to create sparkling wine.

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Bad Riesling and the smell of unleaded petrol?

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Bad Riesling and unleaded petrol

Dave March CWM
11 Jan 2017

Aged Riesling has long been associated with the smell of petrol. Some might call it kerosene or diesel, whatever, it sounds scary to new wine drinkers and heaven to many devotees.

For decades this has been explained as a natural occurrence during the aging process, and for many a desirable sign that the wine is mature and nicely displaying varietal characteristics. Suggestions are that it is a breaking down of certain molecules over time or that it is molecules which were masked during a wines youth by stronger molecules which have diminished. Or not….

Science has revealed it to be caused by TDN, a compound consisting of some 27 letters and many numbers i.e. not to be troubled with here, but there is no doubt it gives Riesling its 95 octane aromas. Exposed fruit develops more TDN.

What is debated, quite strenuously, is whether TDN is desirable or, in fact, a fault.

“It’s a fault, of course it’s a fault”, says Peter Barry, owner, proprietor and winemaker at Jim Barry in the Clare Valley, South Australia.

Peter is in no doubt that it is caused by sunburnt grapes.Peter is not one to argue with, when he says something, you listen and like his “best mate” Ken (Forrester) he has more wine knowledge than you can shake a stick at. Peter muttered that Ken’s ‘FMC’ is “a ******* good wine”. Peter’s language is as uncompromising as he is.

He doesn’t support the theory proposed five years ago by Michel Chapoutier that the petrol note was due to poor winemaking, Peter says it occurs in the vineyard.

“Riesling is ten times more susceptible to sunburn than other varieties”, so that is why we pick it up mostly in that variety. “We can detect it around 600ppm”, says Peter, “but even if it is around 200ppm people believe they can detect it, they are looking for it”. Good aged Riesling should offer honey, musk, burnt marmalade. Mitchell Wines in Clare agree, good old Riesling should be “toast and bitumen”, they say. No petrol.

A similar story in the Eden Valley, where iconic label Henschke’s owners Pru and Stephen have banned their staff from using the ‘d’, ‘k’ or ‘p’ words. “We look for buttered toast in older Riesling”, says brand ambassador

Barossa winemaker, ex-Cape winemaker, half of the Radford-Dale South African wine brand, and surfing buddy to many current SA winemakers, Ben Radford, at Rockford, agrees that petrol notes are a fault.

But why, I ask Peter, if it is caused by sunburn, does German Riesling often smell so, when summers may not be that hot?

“Because in order to expose the bunches to maximize the sun, leaves are stripped back, developing berries are exposed and the fruit has no time to develop any resistance – its own sunblock – so even in cool climates they are vulnerable”.

“I hate it, absolutely hate it”, (with some generous Aussie language), says Peter, “and us Clare winemakers have agreed to have none of it”. His 2008 Florita Riesling displays layered sherbet, burnt quince, orange peel, the classic smack of lime; again, no petrol.

“I take the tip off of canes, forcing the vines to produce lateral shoots to shade bunches”, this gives them double protection, a chance to develop their own sunblock and extra shade. There is still plenty of ripening, “we know the balance”. Fruit is only exposed if it needs to be and when it is able to cope with the stress.

Peter is a winemaking enigma, he believes “we’ve got nothing broke, so nothing to fix, but we chase progress and technology”. He has a winery section just for experimentation and has top staff; even his cellar door manager is a qualified winemaker. “They are free to make any suggestions to improve my methods, but it must improve, this is not a school debating society, don’t just disagree with my thirty years of experience, add something or **** off”.

Riesling has a three day window of ripeness, says Peter, outside of those three days you lose any chance of optimum fruit. Picking at the right hour, not just the right day, is vital. “That’s why I machine pick and have three harvesters of my own, I can say ‘go’ when I know the moment is right, hand picking, or worse, sharing a harvester, doesn’t allow you that precision”. He still selects rows and parcels and vineyards in their picking order and calls their very moment.

Ben Radford believes in harvesting by hand, but agrees with the small window of opportunity with Riesling and says that the modern machine harvesters are so much kinder to the berries and vines, and have effective sorters on board too.

It is official then, petrol notes are a fault on Riesling, unless you want to argue with Peter.

 

Via wine.co.za

How to tell if Wine has gone bad

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Open for over a week? It’s past its peak…

As a general rule, if a wine bottle is open for over a week it’s probably gone “bad.” There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule, including fortified dessert wines (like Port or other wines with 18+ ABV).

Learn the secret to storing open wine for 2 weeks or more

How to Tell if Wine Has Gone Bad

An experienced drinker can tell almost instantly if a wine is past its prime. Question is, how do they do it? Well, this comes with a little practice, and here’s what to look for:

How it will look

Wines go bad when they are left open for too long. While some claim that open wines last for weeks, most will lose their luster after just a couple of days, so it’s wise to store open bottles properly. First thing to look at is the color and condition of the wine.

Wine is cloudy and leaves a film in the bottle
There are several wines that are cloudy to begin with, but if they start out clear and then go cloudy, this may be some indication that microbial activity is occurring within the bottle.
It will begin to brown and change color
A wine browns much like an apple does when exposed to oxygen. While ‘browning’ itself is not bad (there are several awesome “tawny” colored wines) it will tell you how much oxidative stress has occurred to the wine.
It may have tiny bubbles
The bubbles come from a second unplanned fermentation in the bottle. Yes, you just made a sparkling wine! Unfortunately, it’s not going to be delicious like Champagne, it’s going to be oddly sour and spritzy.

“Browning itself is not bad, but it does indicate the amount of stress the wine has undergone.”

What it will smell like

Second thing to observe is the smell. Wines that are “bad” could be for 2 different reasons.

  • A wine that has a wine fault. About 1 in 75 bottles has a common wine fault.
  • A wine that was left open too long.

A wine that’s gone bad from being left open smells abrasive and sharp. It will have sour medicinal aromas similar to nail polish remover, vinegar or paint thinner. These aromas are from chemical reactions from the wine being exposed to heat and oxygen which causes bacteria to grow that produce acetic acid and acetaldehyde.

What it will taste like

A wine that’s “gone bad” won’t hurt you if you taste it, but it’s probably not a good idea to drink it. A wine that has gone bad from being left open will have a sharp sour flavor similar to vinegar that will often burn your nasal passages in a similar way to horseradish. It will also commonly have caramelized applesauce-like flavors (aka “Sherried” flavors) from the oxidation.


Practice smelling bad wine

If you ever let a wine go too far and you know with certainty it’s bad, give it a whiff before you dump it out. Make note of the sour flavors and the oddly nutty aromas that you find and you’ll be able to pick them out with more accuracy each time. It won’t hurt you, so why not?

 

via Winefolly

Get to know Barbera!

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Barbera Wine Profile

 

 

FRUIT: Dark Cherry, Dried Strawberry, Plum, Blackberry
OTHER: Violet, Lavender, Dried Leaves, Incense, Vanilla, Nutmeg, Anise
OAK: Yes. Large neutral oak casks.
TANNIN: Low
ACIDITY: High
AGEABILITY: Traditionally enjoyed within 2-4 years.
SYNONYMS & REGIONAL NAMES:
Barbare, Barbera d’Alba, Barbera d’Aosta, Barbera Sarda, Barbera d’Asti, Barbera del Monferrato

 

 

 

 

The Taste of Barbera Wine

Mish-Mash Flavor Somehow Barbera wine tastes both rich and light-bodied. Why is that? Well, one reason is that it has dark staining pigments that dye the wine to near-black. However, the taste of Barbera has notes of strawberry and sour cherry: flavors synonymous with light-bodied wines. Light tannin and high acidity make it taste ‘Juicy’. Most of the Barbera you’ll find is from Italy which leans towards more herbaceous flavors, you can see the differences below.

 

Barbera Food Pairing

 

Complementary Pairing

Wines and foods that are single-noted can be made whole when put together. With Barbera wines try rich dark meats, mushrooms, herbs, herbaceous cheeses like blue cheese, higher tannin foods like root vegetables & braised greens. The idea here is that the bright acidity in the wine will make a rich fatty or high tannin dish complete.

Congruent Pairing

Match the flavors within Barbera to make them stand out. Try sour cherry, sage, anise, cinnamon, white pepper, nutmeg, citrus and the Morrocan spice blend called Ras el Hanout.

Regional Pairing

Monferrato’s regional dishes include: tajarin pasta, Guinea fowl and porcini stew and carne all’albese (a Piemontese version of steak tartare with parmesan, olive oil and rocket.)

Read the full article on  Wine Folly Sa

Wine Fruit Snacks

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Looking for something to snack on this holiday season? We found the perfect recipe for wine fruit snacks! ( For Adults only!)

via Thrive Style

wine-gummies-2-256x490Wine Fruit Snacks – Wine Gummy Bears (or Hearts—whatever shape you want to make them!)

1 cup wine
4 Tbsp gelatin (I always use this kind)
1/2 tsp stevia (optional)
2 -4 Tbsp maple syrup (I always use Grade B, but any kind will work)

Note: The amount of maple syrup you use will depend on (1) how dry your wine is and (2) how sweet you want your gummies! You’ll have to taste it as you go and add more as needed.

Also, you can double or triple this–it works just the same!

In a saucepan, warm the wine on low heat. I put a thermometer in it and made sure it didn’t go much above 90 degrees. Wine boils at 159 degrees F, and so I definitely wanted to keep it well below that so the alcohol wouldn’t burn off. You don’t need a thermometer though, just keep it on the lowest heat and don’t take your time with the process. Add the gelatin one Tbsp at a time, and stir very well before adding more. I stirred the gelatin/wine with a whisk and the white wine version got very frothy. This is ok! It still works, and the froth gels too–but if you want your gummies not to have a little froth on the bottom, you can scoop it off. After the gelatin has completely dissolved, add the other ingredients. Taste the mixture after adding each one—you’ll have to use your taste buds as a gauge for how much sweetener to add! I added 2 Tbsp maple syrup to each of my batches of gummies today (a pinot noir and a dry riesling). Also keep in mind that the more sweetener you add, the less you’ll taste the flavor of the wine! In my mind, these should be a little less sweet than a regular gummy bear—they are for grown-ups after all! …Sweeter gummies get eaten faster for me, and portion control is necessary for these–to avoid getting drunk :-)

Once your mixture is ready, either use a spoon to fill a mold or dump the whole batch into a pan (for square cut gummies). I’ve done it both ways—and although the hearts are pretty, I’ll make the square ones if they’re just for me (easier).

Put them in the fridge to set. You don’t have to do this, but it speeds up the process. They’ll be the texture of Jello jigglers pretty quickly–go ahead and eat them this way if you want to. But I recommend waiting! They get better! In fact, I recommend that you let them chill for at least 2-3 hours. They really do become the texture of gummy bears. I keep them in the fridge, but  you don’t have to if you want to pack them up and take them to a party. They won’t un-gel.

If you’re into essential oils, you could probably add a couple drops to the gummies—I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure I will the next time I make them! If you’re interested in chatting about essential oils, check out my essential oils facebook page. The only rules I have there are that you have to be nice, and you can’t solicit people! I use Young Living Oils, but my facebook group is open to anyone passionate about being oily (or anyone who wants to learn). Come and say hi!

If you like wine gummies, you’ll love margarita gummies too! Click here for the recipe.

 

#CelebrateBreedekloof – A Whole Month Of Celebrations and Wine

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For a whole month, the Breedekloof Wine Valley will celebrate all it has accomplished this year. Join us for #CelebrateBreedekloof and experience some of the best wines in the country! And what’s the best of it all – you will be able to taste Merwida’s wines from 10am until 4pm, on Saturdays!

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Red Wine Brownies

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Yes, we really mean RED.WINE.BROWNIES! If you’re like us, you are already on your way to your pantry to see if you have all the ingredients, well here it is, courtesy of CookieNamedDesire.com:

RED WINE BROWNIES RECIPE WITH DRUNKEN CRANBERRIES
Author: Amanda Powell
INGREDIENTS
  • ¾ cup red wine
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), plus extra for greasing
  • 6 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I used half and half)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small bowl, mix the red wine and cranberries together and allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour or until the cranberries look plumped
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degree and grease and flour an 8 by 8 inch pan.
  3. Mix flour and sea salt in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In a mixing bowl over boiling water, heat the butter and chocolate until just melted and mixed together.
  5. Remove from the bowl from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time. (If the bowl seems very hot, you may want to let it cool for about 5 minutes before adding the eggs).
  6. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix, then add the flour and mix well.
  7. Mix in the red wine and cranberries.. Fold in walnuts, if using.
  8. Pour the mixture in the baking pan and bake for about 40 – 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with only crumbs.
  9. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan about about 25 – 30 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.