Bucking the no-oak trend, we are letting some nice Russian River chardonnay do its fermenting in French oak that has been used for previous wines. This allows for the benefits of traditional barrel fermentation without risking excessive oak flavors or aromas. And risking a slow (or stuck!) fermentation, we are doing this in a coldroom at 55 degrees in the hopes of preserving delicate aromatics that can blow off at high temperatures. Let's see how it all turns out - stay tuned.
After driving the truck back from the vineyard with a load of freshly picked pinot noir, Julie Lin hops down from the cab. Can't make the wine unless you can get the grapes! All of the Rockroom California pinot is now safely in the house. Fortunately Julie won't have to drive to Oregon for that fruit - the truck will be bringing it as soon as next week.
Our Russian River zinfandel went to press and then to American oak - our first (and probably only for 2011) move away from French oak barrels. Zinfandel is the "all American" grape (OK, I realize it really hails from Croatia) so thought we should use some Missouri oak. While this bold spicy oak might be excessive for pinot noir it should work just fine for the zin. Can't wait to find out.
Today we pressed a small lot of pinot noir produced entirely from biodynamically farmed grapes. Beautiful Van Der Kamp Vineyard sits high up on Sonoma Mountain. Here you see a photo from today's result - Luke the master of the wine press hugs a press barrel before it heads to the cellar for a well deserved rest.
Weekend at the winery is pretty laid back as we wait for our next pick on Monday: chardonnay from a new vineyard. Meanwhile we enjoy some summer tomatoes from an organically farmed vineyard and farm that we pulled fruit from last week. Van Der Kamp Vineyard - a very exciting source. Cheers.
founder of the Rockroom Winemaking Cooperative, [aka: organizer, winemaker, bottle washer, cork soaker, winepress operator, and blog editor]. For income I have worked since the early 90's in venture capital & private equity. I am also a recovering engineer.