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…spontaneously fermenting

Natural Wine Making in Piemonte Part IX – "Time to Press!"

Here you will find a transcript from my phone call to Jørgen in Italy (the leader of this project). I apologize in advance for this really looking like an exact transcript of our conversation (warning, this post gets a bit technical):

Igino Garberoglio next to the press

Igino Garberoglio next to the press

Friday & Saturday, November 13th & 14th 2009

“Analysis was done to check if fermentation was complete. Checked the skins. Not much flavor left nor color, so we decided to press and remove the good wine and free run juice. Only the free run juice will become the wine in our bottle. The last 150 liters from each tank will not be used nor will the wine from the press be used, approx 500 liters. The skin was quite dry after the free run juice was removed. The free run juice was placed in one cement tank of 4000 liters (this decision was made after speaking with natural and non natural wine producers). No pump-overs nor “racking” since the very beginning (except removing the free run juice). No “botti grandi” will be used because the tannins are very mature, not aggressive AND THEREFORE WE DON’T WANT TO EXPOSE THE WINE TO ANY UN-NECESSARY AIR. Because of good grape maturation, the tannins are sweet and good.”

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“The alcoholic fermentation is not totally complete yet, about 4 grams of sugar left and the wine is still fermenting . The lactic acid is at zero (the Malo is at 1.46, THIS IS QUITE LOW), so the malolactic conversion has not yet begun. The VA (Volatile Acidity) is at 0.26 which is very low and good.”

“The natural sulfur from the fermentation was analyzed (the analysis was done by hand in the lab to be totally accurate). If sulfur had been added during the wine-making process, you would be able to check this by machine, but since we didn’t add any, it must be analyzed by hand. The result was 26mg per liter where 12mg is free SO2”

“The wine has a very high extraction equal to 30.97 grams per liter. A good Barolo, for example, would be between 29-33 grams per liter. Remember that this wine will be bottled as a Vino da Tavola, not a Barolo!  Jørgen also visited Mr. Aldo Vajra (of Azienda Agricola G.D Vajra).  Aldo Vajra used to be a teacher at La Scuola di Enologia in Alba (The School of Enology in Alba, Italy). The analysis was brought to him because the PH and the total acidity levels were a bit low (PH 337 and total acidity is 6.3). Aldo explained that these readings were because of the very high measures of potassium (a salt, which lowers the total acidity level). When the cellar gets cold, the potassium with the tartaric acid form crystals which will fall to the bottom of the tank. When this happens, the acidity level will rise again as the level of potassium decreases. Since this is our first wine, we are analyzing more often then we will when we make wine next year. We are nervous about our first baby! Aldo also said “Sei appostissimo! Non ti preoccupare!” – translated means “Things are perfect!  Don’t worry!”

Irma Garberoglio tasting our wine

Irma Garberoglio tasting our wine

Tasting (drinking) of the wine: “it’s balanced and leaves the mouth very clean and fresh. High and mature tannins. A liter of wine was consumed this evening by Jørgen and the “Carussin” family  and the wine was fantastic!! The “Carussin” family were surprised that the wine was so clean. Even the color was deeper than expected.”

“The plan now is to (the tank is closed and still fermenting)  leave the wine alone until the malo acid converts over to lactic acid which could happen this week or in early spring as the air warms a bit.”

We have decided to bottle the wine (hopefully next year) using the same system as used for Moscato d’asti so as not to expose the wine to any air when bottling.”

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, natural wine (100% living wine), Natural Wine Making in Piemonte

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Natural Wine Making in Piemonte

Tomorrow I begin my adventure in natural wine making as I head to Piemonte to help make a wine from the noble Nebbiolo grape. Our flight leaves Oslo at a (way too early) 6:30 in the morning through Stockholm then on to Linate (Milano).  Our first stop when we finally arrive in Piemonte Wednesday afternoon will be of course to drop off our bags, then immediately out to the vineyards to taste the grapes. We need to see how they are doing!

On Thursday morning, October 1st we will be up at 4:00 in the morning (again!) to prepare the area of vinification by building a temporary roof (picture a tent if you will) and we will clean and prepare the tanks which at this point I have to assume are made of cement or steel (I will fill you in on the details once I know).  We will be harvesting and selecting the grapes  by hand  from two single-vineyards: “Felice” in Neive (harvesting to begin Friday the 2nd of October) &  “Basarin”  in Barbaresco (Friday the 9th of October).  We will crush and the fermentation will occur spontaneously.  We will do all of this and eventually bottle this wine without (hopefully) the use of sulfur.

I don’t know any other details other than the ones I have shared here. I am not the one who has organized this process, but have been fortunate enough to have been included in it. I hope to be able to update everyone on a daily basis with my natural wine-making process, but I can only assume that the farm we will be staying at will not have internet, and therefore my daily progress may have to be posted after the fact, which I intend to do, photo’s included!

Please check back here as I will try and post here as soon as technologically possible!

In the meantime, enjoy some photo’s of the “Felice” vineyard in Neive:

felicevineyard4felicevineyard3felicevineyard1felicevineyard2

Category: 1 WINE, 9 WINE THOUGHTS, Events, natural wine (100% living wine), Natural Wine Making in Piemonte

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Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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Joseph would love to hear from you! You can contact him by email at vinosseur@gmail.com