Catching up with SOG

GRAB SOME COFFEE. MORNINGS ARE FUZZY DURING THESE LONG HARVEST DAYS

It’s been a hectic wrap up to the 2011 Harvest. Things are finally tapering off so I thought I’d give you a brief recap of what went on at Scherrer Winery the past several weeks:

THE AUTHOR DOING MORNING PUNCH DOWN. A GREAT ABS AND ARMS WORKOUT

AT THE HEIGHT OF FERMENTATION THINGS GET QUITE ACTIVE

A quick abbreviated rundown of red grape fermentation:  pick grapes, usually destem them into a fermentation bin or tank, you can cold soak them for extraction for a few days or maybe inoculate them a day or so afterwards (to avoid the botrytis mold from growing, this was a good year to inoculate quicker).  The fermentation is a curved process that starts slow, builds to an active peak and then tapers off. As the fermentation starts it gives off CO2, causing the solids to rise to create that “cap.” It also creates heat because the yeast are in a feeding frenzy ‘eating’ the grape sugars. You add yeast nutrients about a third of the way into the process to give the yeast Nitrogen and other vitamins.

The punch downs help dissipate the heat and wet the cap. Otherwise, the cap also becomes a microbial playground. Usually, you punchdown two or three times a day during the peak, monitoring cap temperatures as well. Too much heat will kill the yeast. There’s more to all of this but…anyways…back to our story.

HERE IS ONE WAY TO ACCLIMATE THE YEAST TO THE JUICE TEMPERATURE. AVOIDS SHOCKING THE YEAST

AFTER ACCLIMATING YEAST, POUR INTO A CORNER AND LET THE POPULATION GROW

A HEARTY BREAKFAST WAS IN ORDER AFTER DOING 16 PUNCHDOWNS!

After fermentation and maybe a few days to more than a week of post-fermentation extraction and polymerization, you dig out the grapes (pomace), sending the free-run juice to a clean tank/bin and putting the pomace into a press:

KERRY DIGS OUT THE GUNSALUS PINOT NOIR TANK

THAT BOTTOM BIN WILL BE DUMPED INTO THE PRESS

I DO BELIEVE SHE'S SAYING NO MORE FRIGGIN PHOTOS, AP

A REDUNDANT SCENE - BUT, I LOVE IT. RED PRESS

After pressing and blending the good press fractions with the free-run juice, you let it settle for a day or two and then drain it off of any more solids (this is called racking) to another clean tank. Then you can send it to barrels to await the beginning of Malolactic Fermentation:

SEND IT TO BARRELS. FRED BARRELING DOWN THE 2011 OLD AND MATURE ZIN

A few other happenings in the waning days of 2011 Scherrer Harvest:

LAST OF THE PINOT NOIR HARVEST. FRED TAKES IT TO A FERMENTOR

THE FINAL GRAPES OF 2011 - KICK RANCH GRENACHE FROM HIGH ABOVE SANTA ROSA

WE STILL HAVE ORDERS TO PROCESS AND A FEW WINES TO PRESS AND BLEND...

Always a sad sight for us interns, but a more relaxed time for everybody, including Fred, who worked some monster hours during the Halloween season.

TANK ROOM CROWD JUST ONE MONTH AGO

...BUT YOU CAN SEE A LOT MORE OF THE FLOOR IN THE ONCE CROWDED TANK ROOM

Only a few more episodes of “Season of Growth.” Stay tuned. I will post a few more fun things that happened towards the end of this year’s harvest.

 À bientôt…

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Lovely Lolita

MARTINELLI'S LOLITA VINEYARD LOOKING EAST FROM THE SYRAH BLOCK

As I mentioned in the “Preview,” we picked our only Syrah of the 2011 vintage on Monday. Lee Martinelli Jr. and his ‘energizer’ dog, Bolt, were there to guide the picking along with Fred.

BOLT OBSERVES FRED AND LEE OBSERVE THE PICKING OF SYRAH CLONE 877

THE STEEP SYRAH BLOCK IS BORDERED BY PEPPERWOOD TREES, REDWOOD, OAK AND MANZAINITA

LOOK AT THE TOP OF THIS PHOTO TO SEE JUST HOW STEEP IT IS. THE TRUCK WITH BINS IS BELOW

THE PICKERS DILIGENTLY CULLED OUT ANY BAD CLUSTERS OR BOTRYTIS ROT

There were some breathtaking views from Lolita Ranch Vineyard.

SUROUNDED BY FOREST MEANS LOTS OF WILDLIFE

PINOT NOIR AND CHARDONNAY DOWN BELOW

OVERLOOKING SEBASTOPOL, FORESTVILLE AND SANTA ROSA

This forested property was once owned by Guiseppe and Luisa Martinelli back in the 1890s. Lee Jr reaquired the property from Bob and Lolita Young in 1999 and began planting in 2000. Some of the cuttings are from Guiseppe’s original Jackass Hill Vineyard.

JACKASS HILL. MARTINELLI MAKES A FAMOUS ZIN FROM HERE!

There won’t be much Syrah from Lolita Ranch, a ton maybe, but the Martinelli crew made sure we got only quality fruit.

PRECIOUS FEW BINS OF 2011 SCHERRER SYRAH!

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Preview: Lolita is here!

HIGH ABOVE FORESTVILLE, NOT FAR FROM SCHERRER WINERY...

...EARLY MONDAY, FRED AND I MET LEE MARTINELLI, JR AT LOLITA VINEYARD

Coming soon:  More on this spectacular site near Jackass Hill off Martinelli Road.

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Sleeper: Hallberg Ranch

THE SLEEPER...KEEPER OF 2011 = HALLBERG RANCH PINOT NOIR!

SCHERRER WINERY RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY PINOT NOIR 2011

I Finished work with a tasting of the Scherrer 2011 Pinot Noirs-in-progress. They were so amazing that I drove a few miles or so down Highway 116 to Emeritus’ Hallberg Ranch and took this picture. The D-block is off in the distance. Pinot Noir Elite and Dijon 828 clones make up most of our Russian River Blend. It will be unbelievable! Really exciting!  I’m glad I was a part of this because the overall vintage talk from others is very negative. Not so here in the apple orchard!

We received Hallberg Ranch Pinot on Thursday, September 22 and Monday, September 26 (in the early morning no doubt). The rains came October 3 – a week later. Fred knows viticulture – he keeps up with the weather, samples grapes in the vineyard and calls the pick.

(Rangers struggle early but finally come through in the 9th to win Game 2. Rangers 2 Cardinals 1. World Series tied 1-1. Back to Texas).

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Artist

EASTSIDE ROAD , RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, OCTOBER 19, 2011

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Save the date: Library Teaser

AT MY DESK TRYING TO COME UP WITH SOME CONTENT FOR THE BLOG

HELLO! Look at the color of that almost decade old Cabernet. It’s Scherrer Vineyard 2002 from Ed Scherrer’s (Fred’s Dad) Vineyard in Alexander Valley. The family farm is closer to Chalk Hill than to the warmer Cloverdale area.

Structure. Great Cab flavors with a backbone of acidity and tannins that will probably hold up for years to come.  No milkshake here. This wine does have good fruit but also includes some nice subtle savory herbal notes to it as well.

HOW ABOUT THIS BIG BOY FROM YEARS GONE BY. 3-Litre '97

I LOVE FILM NOIR. THESE TWO BRUISERS FROM 1993 AND 1996 IN 3L

KERRY AND I WERE DOING THE LIBRARY INVENTORY WHEN I DUSTED THIS '93 OFF

THAT WAS EXCITING UNTIL I FOUND THESE TWO GEMS! 1991 WAS FRED'S DEBUT VINTAGE!

Scherrer Winery is not the new kid on the block. He’s been making wine since the 80s. Dehlinger. Fort Ross. He even helped out with some projects for Sonoma-Cutrer when they asked for his help. Fred’s not the new “cool & groovy” bad boy from UC-Davis…oh wait…he did go to Davis…way back in the day…and he does play guitar. Anyways, what I’m saying is that this is “that” winery you say you want to find:  Tiny. Winemaker’s always there. Hand-crafted. Down to earth. Quaint. Some of the equipment is homemade or antique.  Smokin’ wines. Truly Unique!

Try to visit the Scherrer Open House in November. There will be a selection of wines from the Library. (not necessarily the ones pictured above)

new episode under “The Months” section

<disclaimer. I did not receive any of these wines free (damn it all), nor am I being compensated by Scherrer Winery for writing my blog (double damn it all)
. I like the wines and I like to blog…I usually don’t critique wines in my blog.>

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Cab On The Horizon

AS THE SUN SETS SLOWLY IN THE WEST....

...BEAUTIFUL SCHERRER VINEYARD CABERNET, SAMPLED ON SEPTEMBER 15, IS NOW READY!

THE OLD VINE CAB BLOCK IS ON THE UPPER LEFT

SAME CAB BLOCK VIEWED FROM THE HILL ZIN BLOCK. BEST OF THE BEST!

ED SCHERRER, FRED'S DAD - FAMILY VINEYARD SINCE 1899. BEST FRIEND TRIXIE

1899. That’s how long the Scherrer family has been farming in the Alexander Valley. Ed, now in his mid-80s, still does much of the vineyard work himself.

The Cabernet block above was planted in 1989.  The “young vines” to the right were planted in 1993.

Ed didn’t go with the popular opinion of the time, which was to plant on AXR1 rootstock. He preferred to stick with what was working well – St George rootstock.  Viticultural history shows that AXR1 was susceptible to the vine louse phylloxera which decimated many California vines in the late 80s and early 90s. So, Ed’s Cabernet vines are older than many Cabernet vineyards in Napa or Sonoma.

ED STILL HAS TIME FOR THE GARDEN

Tomorrow morning, October 15, 2011, as you are reading this, Cabernet from Fred’s family vineyard will be arriving at Scherrer Winery!!!

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