2011 Vintage Almost Here
The 2011 vintage is in the U.S. and on its way to the warehouse for distribution in early June. I tasted the 2011 this past January while visiting Mendoza for the blending of my 2012 wines. The wines are very complex with deep flavors and a strong finish. They reflect an excellent growing season and the gradual maturing of the vines. If you enjoyed my 2010 wines then you will enjoy even more the 2011 vintage.
We are working to expand distribution of my wine in restaurants and wine shops here in Boston. Currently Lucca Back Bay, a fine dining location with excellent food and service near the Prudential Center is the first restaurant to stock my wine for diners. A few weeks ago I was privileged to pour my wine for a couple who ordered it and spend some time chatting up wine with them. Now, that was a lot of fun!!
If you are interested in ordering some of the 2012 vintage, go to my online eshop. As soon as the wine arrives I will ship it out to you (weather permitting). If you have any comments on the 2010 vintage, please send them along.
Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
Featured Photo Courtesy of Don Guerwitz Photography – Akha Woman. Kengtung, Mynamar (Burma)
Report from the Field – Malbec
Below is a recent report from the field sent by my friends at Vines of Mendoza. The report explains some of the processes followed in making my Malbec wine.
This season we have seen unusual climatic conditions. We have had more rainy and cloudy days and colder temperatures compared to previous years. Due to these conditions we have observed that the Malbec vines have easily obtained a desirable sugar concentration and ripeness, but have had a slightly slower ripeness of the polyphenols (tannins) and the berries are a bit larger due to the water content that results in less concentration.
Still, Pablo Martorell (winemaker, right in photo) is pleased with the quality of the grapes and believes we will have a very good year for Malbec. We expect wines with a better natural acidity. There is an incredible amount of heterogeneity across the vineyards this year, so we are working each Malbec tank differently in the winery depending on style and range desired.
On Tuesday, April 23 we hand-picked your Malbec grapes to make your Malbec in 15 kg bins, and after brought them to the winery for cluster and berry sorting. We then de-stemmed and placed the berries in a stainless-steel tank. We are currently performing a cold maceration in tank at 10 C | 50 F which will last between two to seven days. We are expecting to have many shorter cold maceration periods for the Malbec this year. The purpose of the cold soak is to increase the extraction of primary aromas and color. Bleeding – extraction of juice – will be done at about 10% of the total volume.
Aromas of Plums and Cherries
The color of the must is dark purple and your Malbec is already displaying nice aromas of plums and cherries. After the cold maceration is complete we will raise the temperature in the tank to 28 – 30 C | 80 – 86 F, which are slightly higher temperatures this year to make sure we don’t have any green aromas. We will inoculate with selected yeasts to start the fermentation. During this time the sugar from the grapes is converted to alcohol. Throughout the alcoholic fermentation process the wine cap is closely managed by doing punch downs / pump overs in your tank up to six times per day.
Managing the wine cap (skin and seeds forming a cap in the tank) helps us obtain the best varietal expression. Because of the characteristics of the Malbec this year, we will perform most punch downs / pump overs at the beginning of the fermentation, and reduce the intensity of this activity by the end of the fermentation.
As soon as the alcoholic fermentation is complete and the wine is dry (without sugar), a short post-fermentative maceration will be carried out before the wine is pressed. By leaving the skins in contact with the wine we can obtain a better color stability and tannin structure as well as improve the concentration of the wine. This maceration will last only two – three days to prevent the extraction of green tannins.
After these three processes are complete we will press the wine using a small hydraulic press, enabling a gentle extraction of skin and seeds and put the wine into oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation will happen in the barrel, lasting from 20 to 40 days. During the barrel aging process, we will perform monthly tastings to assure the wine is evolving well and we will perform batonage – stirring of the lees inside the barrel – to obtain a better mouthfeel and body. This is a year that the barrel work will be essential to obtain a better mid-palate and boldness in the wine.
Source: Vines of Mendoza