This past Sunday, my son and I checked the sugars and acids on the Aglianico fruit on my back-up vines. The pH was around 3.5 – 3.7 (but my pH meter was acting up) and the sugars were at 25 Brix (with the “mini light saber-looking thingy”, as my son called the refractometer when he first saw it).
The pulp was clinging to the seeds, but those were already brown and there was a good amount of shrivel, so after a quick call to Wes Hagen, we “pulled the trigger”.
This mini-harvest came about five and a half months after bud break occurred on these vines.
I had promised my son that this fruit would be his to make his very own batch of wine. He had harvested with me at Clos Pepe. He helped me with my 2010 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. He has helped in the vineyard. I’ve kept him involved in these two Aglianico vines by keeping them outside his window and encouraging him to check on them.
Now, I try to guide and advise him while he does the hands-on work himself. This is good bonding time for us and I feel that I’m teaching him some things that may (or may not) be useful to him in his life.
After he picked the fruit, he destemmed and crushed the fruit (see video below), put down some sulfide and started a cold soak on his very own 3/4 gallon of Aglianico. This evening, we’ll recheck the chemistry and pitch the yeasts.
The basement (errr… la cantina) is beginning to fill with the aroma of crushed, but not-yet-fermenting, wine grapes. It’s similar to, but subtler than the smell of puréed berries and sorbet that fills a Jamba Juice store.
And so, the cycle comes around again…