Saturday, 2 October 2010

Wine Serendipity

Out of the blue, a friend called and asked: "Would you like some small black grapes? It's you or the birds".
I am sure he meant 'pigeons' and not the short-skirted locals.

The surprise was in the story.
Apparently the vine producing these grapes was over 70 years old, as it reputedly was planted before the war! WWII, that is.

Who ever gets an offer like this? Old vine grapes, 70 years old, ready for the vinery?

Sweet blue grapes picked 1 Oct. 2010
 We picked the grapes in a steady drizzle from the autumn rain, but the quality was impeccable and I had to tie Natali's hands on her back, as she started to munch them by the bunch: sweet, concentrated juice - just what you'd expect from an old vine.

There is only one tiny problem: we have no idea what type of grapes they are. They are larger than triomphe d'Alsace, smaller than Brant and could easily be a Pinot-variety.
Pinot is normally too difficult for the English climate, but as we picked them 1 October, i.e. late, and they appeared ripe (minus a lot of  un-pollinated grapes in the centre of the bunches), there is a good chance that it could be Pinot Meunier.
I need a specialist to identify the bunches and the leaves.

The result is now bubbling away in the vat, ca 8 litres incl. peels and pips, ready to be decanted into the demijohn in 3-4 days, but an initial taste has revealed an enormous concentration of fruit and sugar (21% according to the refractometer), all natural juices.
However, I did add a little sugar to the pulp, as well as 1g wine-yeast, just to get the process started quickly and to ensure that the relatively small amount of wort would not invite bacteria or thirsty flies to the party.

Pure serendipity - lots of expectation!!!

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