Black Ankle News & Updates
Dear Wine Club Members,
Happy fall! As I write this we are heading to the end of our growing season and things ae humming along like crazy in the winery. I swear every year that I won’t jinx us by making predictions about the season and the weather until everything is in the winery door, but I just can’t help myself. As I gaze out onto this beautiful, dry, sunny fall day, it is hard to feel anything but optimistic. Life just seems a little better when there is the prospect of a delicious glass of wine at the end of the day (or year)!
I think making red wines is one of the most fun things that we get to do all year, in large part because it is the most active, messy process in the winery. When we make white wines, the grapes are pressed immediately after harvest, so only juice goes into the tank. The work of making white wines is mostly about protecting them from air contact and treating them delicately so that their aromas are preserved. It takes a lot of care, finesse and attention, but there is very little interaction between wine maker and wine.
Making red wines is a totally different story. For red wines, the whole berry goes into the tank, and a big part of our job as winemakers is to extract as much aroma, flavor and interest from the skins as we can. In order to do this, we spend a lot of time each day doing what we call pumpovers. This process involves creating a contained waterfall of juice, so that the wine splashes through the air and picks up oxygen to fuel the yeast which are fermenting the wine. The fermenting juice is then pumped through a hose to the top of the tank, and sprinkled over the top of the skins in the tank so that it trickles by the skins to pick up color and flavors.
I love this process. First of all, it is noisy; the wine is splashing around everywhere and I have the sense that you can actually hear the wine being made. Secondly, the air is filled with the aromas of the fermenting juice and from day to day, you can actually smell the juice becoming wine. Finally, it is visually beautiful. As the juice picks up more and more color from the grape skins, day after day, it becomes darker and more vibrant and it feels like you can actually see the juice becoming wine. Of course, we are tasting the wines along the way, but we get to spend a lot of our lives tasting – it is just for a few days each year that we get to tap into all our other senses making wine.
Below is a bit of information about some of our newest releases.
The 2016 Viognier is being introduced in our fall club. It is 100% viognier this year, and is full of light fruit flavors, floral notes, and a robust mouth feel. With just about 2 acres of viognier planted, our production of this wine is on the smaller side, with just 325 acres produced. Viognier goes great with spicy foods, a variety of seafood and shell fish, and other fun seasonally fall dishes!
The Passeggiata X (can you believe we have made 10 Passeggiatas?), is as fragrant, flavorful, and light as ever, dancing across the palate like our first vintage in 2006. As many of you know, this patio wine is known for very soft tannin (if any), robust fruity flavor profile, and a touch of vanilla or butterscotch on the nose. It is especially well-paired with turkey if you are looking for Thanksgiving wines.
Sarah (and Ed)