Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Vilafonté Harvest Blog 2006, Monday Feb 13 Day 9

Today we are bringing in one of our loveliest blocks, Block Z Merlot. It is a sensitive block; if you get it right, in the vineyard and winery, it is wonderful; dark, rich palate, black fruit aromas. But equally if we get it wrong it can be tart and lean. It is a building block for the 'Series C' and I sweat bullets over this block every year.
What is the magic "ripeness", anyway?? A computer model for it would be quite complex, and it would take into account:
Vine: color of leaves, shoots and stems. Can it continue to ripen its load?
Clusters: deep purple color. Good condition. Equally ripe across the block.
Berries: purple black color, brown seeds not green, thin skins, flesh pulls away from seed; a 'melt in your mouth" texture, soft tannins, not astringent; nice flavors and balance of sugar-acid.
Chemistry: good balance of potential alcohol, acid and pH.
And then there is experience and intuition, plus…what do you want to make with these grapes anyway? Style? Flavor profile?

But personally, after all the visual, flavor, texture and data input; it ends up…what does my gut tell me? On Saturday, Block Z Merlot said to me: "pick me Monday"!
Zelma Long
PS These photos show the sorting table process of removing of poor quality grapes, stalks, raisins and any MOG (material other than grapes).