Friday, September 5, 2008

Sugars Moving Fast

Today’s visit to the remaining ripening vineyards of Belle Colline, Silvaspoons and Mettler all confirmed the buzz in the wine industry: all the grapes are ripening at once.

We are shifting the source for one of our Syrahs to one of many growing in the Belle Colline Vineyard, so this morning was spent focusing on which to take.

This vineyard-on-a-hill features four clones of Syrah (1, 2, 383 and 470) planted on two different soil compositions, each as a separate block. The block planted lower on the hill benefits from irrigation water running down from the upper blocks. The upper blocks are therefore as much as a week or more further along towards ripening than the lower blocks.

I found nice flavors in the clone 2 Syrah in the upper block, but back at the lab we found sugars to be 27.3˚ B with pH a bit too high at 3.98. So we had to pass on that one.

Markus Niggli, the assistant winemaker at Borra Vineyards, our custom crush winery host, will join me first thing on Monday morning to make a final decision.

Other stats are:

Silvaspoons Mourvèdre – 21.2˚ B, pH 3.43, will need a few more weeks.

Belle Colline Petite Sirah – upper block 25.3˚ B, pH 3.70 with nice flavors could be ready this week, lower block 23.6˚ B, pH 3.55 may need two weeks.

Mettler Petite Sirah – 23.7˚ B, pH 3.78 nice flavors could be ready in a week and a half or sooner.

Belle Colline Syrah – lower block clone 470 24.2˚ B, 3.73 pH, may need a week and a half.

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