September 30th, 2008 | Uncategorized
Not only is my wife Angela a champion re-cycler (as you may know from previous posts), but she is also a great collector of things – some useful, and some not so useful. However, yesterday’s little discovery was a gem.
We have quite a large refridgerator in our laboratory, which is where we store yeasts and enzymes etc. during our harvest period. Angela also keeps and extensive collection of unfermented ‘must’ samples, really just for reference once they have been analysed. Yesterday, at the bottom of the fridge we discovered two samples left over from last year, and quite naturally, we were going to throw them out. However, when we opened the two small plastic screw-top bottles, there was a rush of CO2, and a steady stream of bubbles rose to the top of the bottle. The puzzle was that these ‘musts’ had not been seeded with yeast, so any slow fermentation that had taken place (12 months at 5°C) was completely natural. We tasted the fizzy liquid……
It was amazingly clean and fresh, with no hint of oxidation (bear in mind that no sulphur had been added to the bottle), with a zesty acidity. I should also say that the ‘wine’ was very sweet rather like Lambrusco, or a sweet Spumante from Asti. Amazing, a real discovery to give a little lift to our exhausting day.
Meanwhile back at the harvest, whilst we have been pleasantly surprised by the quality, it would appear that the quantity could perhaps be even less than in 2007. Despite the recession that looms on the horizon (or that is perhaps already on our doorstep), Bodegas are still, it would seem, keen to fill their tanks and therefore the competition to buy grapes is fierce. Indeed, hanging on to your existing suppliers can be a challenge, as competitors try to lure them away with the promise of higher prices.
Whilst our own vineyards have flourished in terms of yield, and emerged relatively unscathed, others have not been quite so lucky and have lost production either through disease, or through hail damage in recent storms.