If you look at a bottle of "modern" rioja, you will see that some producers incorporate a splash of cab, or merlot into the blend. to see if modren beats out traditional, I am making 2 rioja blends...the first being traditional blend, the second being the modern adaptation. The traditional blend is 60% tempranillo, 20% grenache noir, 20% carignan. The second one swaps ut the grenache noir for merlot. which one wins? Stay tuned, we will be posting some tasting notes as they becpme available!
A client asked about the viognier from Chile, and if we recommend doing a malolactic ferment. Everything of course is a question of style, but my preference would be to not do a malo. The beauty of viognier is is gorgeous fruit nose, and every time I have done a malo, for all its benefits, I always seem to lose some of the great aromatics, regardless of teh strain of bacteria I choose. So my vote is not, but feel free to please your preferences. After all, that is the beauty of winemaking!
Looking for other opinion on blending wines from Spanish vineyards? Check out this page... a great winemaker working with grapes from near where we get ours. A great discussion on the thoughts behind blending, and how vineyard practices make a difference!
Today, I checked the tempranillo again, and the natural malo is still going through, though I estimate that there was not much malic acid to begin with, and this malo is nearly done. Tannins are quite strong, but there is a beautiful plum and dark berry fruit core. Acid level seems pretty good also. Mother nature seems to know best for this one!
several more days in, and the tempranillo has finished fermenting, and a natural malolactic is slowly grinding away. No reductive odors, and the wine tastes ramarkably balanced, though the tannins are rough around the edges. Will the malo bring the acid level too low? Only time will tell...
In the back of my mind, I read that tempranillo tastes best when fermented no longer than 7 days on the skins, so I am testing that option out now. Climbing the risk curve, I am electing to let the natural yeast do the fermenting. So far so good, the must was pressed after 7 days, and the ferment continues unabated, with s.g. down to 1.020 today. I can taste the tannins through the sugars that are still there, and it smells like blueberries and plums now. I will give it another week, and report back...
...has just hit Halifax! so far we are hoping to get the grapes into our warehouse on Monday, if all works according to plan. That will mean distribution next weekend, but things can change, so stay tuned..
Once again, Chile was kind to Grapemasters grapes. A fantastic assortment of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Carmenere have been quitely fermenting away, with exceptional aromas and flavors to be had. My favorite so far? Carmenere- dark notes of leather, soy sauce, dark berries and tannins that carry to a great finish. The chardonnay, one of my personal favorites broke in a new barrel for me, a great punch of oak to an already fruity and rich vintage. The viognier, and Sauvignon Blanc are also quite exceptional. In fact, I am taking some viognier from Chile and blening it in with Shiraz from Spain to copy a Northern Rhone classic.