Posted by: ukiahhome | September 12, 2008

Vintage 2008: Smoke in the wine?

At our location and elevation, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes ripen early compared to those in the rest of Ukiah and Redwood Valleys. This weekend we harvested and crushed our grapes, as we often do in mid September. Immediately after crushing, as the must (fermenting grape juice with skins) began to settle down, I noticed that the Cabernet Sauvignon had a slightly odd aroma… a bit like burnt grass.

As an amateur wine maker, I’d have to guess that the summer fires (as I tracked in this blog) had some effect on the grapes at our specific location and elevation. However, our Merlot varietal seems fine so far… a puzzle since it’s grown adjacent to the Cabernet. One might conclude that the absorption of smoke is dependent on some precise characteristic of the grape itself.

What this means for 2008, we won’t know for some time. Like the toasting of the oak barrels in which the wine is stored, we can at least hope that it somehow adds to the character and robustness of the vintage. We’ll find out in 2010.

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