Time to Ride
I love summer. It is a great time to pull great wine from the cellar and share it with friends at cookouts, beach parties, and patio extravaganzas. But summer for me is more than warm weather and lovely wine. Summer is Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) season, the time where I focus on my training by cycling 70 to 120 miles every week to kick that cancer thing off the face of the Earth.
You see, this guy Billy Starr in 1980 had this crazy idea that you could use a bike event to cure cancer. That first year Billy and his small group of riders raised $10,200 for the Jimmy Fund, the charity arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
In 1985, I joined Billy and a few hundred other crazy folks who bought into the concept you can cycle your way to a cancer cure. Now here I am 28 years later still cycling for that cure. The PMC over all these years has raised more than $335 million for cancer researchers at the Dana-Farber, representing the single largest and most successful athletic fundraising event in the history of mankind. If you think this is hyperbole, use Google and look it up. Last year we gave cancer researchers $35 million to do their thing.
So starting next Friday with my own 80 mile Prologue from Boston to Sturbridge, MA followed by two more days of cycling over 192 additional miles, I will join over 4,000 of my closest and dearest friends and put my foot to the pedal to make cancer an insignificant curable or manageable chronic disease.
And for those of you who think cancer is winning, let me introduce you to Helen, Davina, and Art. If not for the researchers at the Dana-Farber and other places around the globe, they would no longer be with us.
Join the cause and make a donation. Every single dollar (100%) of rider donations go to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. And after you make that contribution, kick back and open that special bottle of wine. You deserve it for joining the PMC family. My dad, who left me 29 years ago when prostate cancer took him from me, will make sure the bottle isn’t corked but the best wine you’ve ever tasted.
Barry P. Chaiken, Proprietor
For the sake of a certain style, more and more winemakers are taking two of the most laborious parts of cellar operations- managing red fermentations and barrel work-and combining them.
Barrel fermentation is a winemaking method that’s growing in popularity for imparting silky tannins and a lush roundness to red wines, especially Bordeaux varieties. However, those who have made a commitment to the method say the added labor and lack of fermentation controls make it a process not suited for everyone.
There are essentially two ways to barrel ferment. One is to pop the head off a barrel, fill it with must and leave it in a vertical position. In this fashion, the barrel serves as a small open-top tank, and cap management is achieved with punch downs.
The other method is to fill the barrel the same way, replace the head and seal in the must. The barrel then can be laid on a rack, but it needs to be spun to wet the cap and achieve extraction. It’s through this more complicated and labor-intensive method of replacing the barrel heads and spinning-at least twice a day-that winemakers say they achieve the full benefits of introducing oak to fermenting must.
The laborious process of barrel fermentation often means that winemakers at smaller wineries use the method sparingly and only for certain lots.
Cabernet is often cited as the red varietal that most benefits from barrel fermentation because it has the flavors and structure to coalesce with new oak. Varietals with less tannin structure could be overwhelmed by oak during barrel fermentation. New oak is also vital.
Several winemakers said barrel fermentation just isn’t worth the effort unless you’re using new oak. Because the method is best used with robust Cabernet and new oak barrels, it’s not surprising that red barrel fermentation has found many proponents in Napa Valley and Sonoma County.
What’s The Impact?
What exactly is happening to the wine as it ferments in barrel is not clear. Dr. Anita Oberholster of the University of California Cooperative Extension has studied mouthfeel and wine aging. She said that while most research has gone into barrel maturation, not fermentation, a sensory study of the ellagitannins that could be extracted from new barrels found them to be described as “mouth-coating and astringent.” And while the oxygen moving through the barrel would be utilized by the yeast and not be available for polymerization, there could still be an effect. Wood tannins could induce polymerization on monomeric pigments such as anthocyanins, and the products of this can confer a finer astringency with an increase in the perception of viscosity. “The combination of these could be described by some as softer tannins and mouth-coating tannins,” she said.
Source: Wines and Vines