Yesterday we brought in just under three Tons of Chardonnay from Brosseau Vineyard. The grapes looked phenomenal and were the perfect crop to gather the whole winery and toast the start of the vintage. This is a tradition that has gone back hundreds of years, and certainly something that has been part of our Folktale story since our first harvest in 2015. After popping some bubbly and raising our glasses, the winemaking team got busy by gently pressing the grapes in our bladder press and racking the juice to tank. We’re planning filling 10 French oak barrels tomorrow with this juice to start its native fermentation. As promised, this is a wine we’re planning on making with no additions, so this is pure organic juice at the moment (honestly a delicious treat for kids or adults alike – just add ice and drink!). The fermentation will hopefully kick off by early next week and we will track it on its journey.
We’re making some new wines this year that we’ve kept under wraps a bit – but harvest is here and it’s time to share our plan. One of these wines is a style of wine called Piquette. This is essentially wine that came about for farmers and winemakers who wanted something to drink at lunch that didn’t put them to sleep in the afternoon. The name is derived from the French word for “prick” or “prickle”, describing the drinks slight effervescence. To make Piquette, you use the skins of white or red varieties after pressing them, add some water and yeast and cross your fingers. There is inherently some sugar in the Chardonnay skins we pressed yesterday, and the hope is the water will rehydrate the berries and extract some sugar into the water. We’re going to treat this bin as any red fermenter and start doing daily punchdown’s on this and eventually press the grapes again in a week or two. Piquette is a simple wine, and since there isn’t much sugar to begin with, is typically low alcohol (4-10%). It’s also usually a blend of a bunch of things and bottled slightly spritzy…a delicious combo. Our plan this vintage is to make Piquette when we have grapes that seem to fit the bill, and space allows for. Once the fermentations are completed, we will rack the wine to small tanks and blend things together – so our final blend is to be determined. It’s going to represent the harvest, and can’t ever be duplicated quite the same. I don’t normally ask for luck, but Piquette seems to be pretty finicky – so any good voodoo you can send our way would be appreciated.
Tomorrow my plan is to sample Pinot Noir in the Salinas Valley, stopping at Escolle, Tondre, and Brosseau. We’re expecting some warm weather (low to mid 90’s) this weekend, and will likely be the last push of warm weather needed for some blocks to fully ripen. The cellar crew is busy continuing to clean things and prepare for the fruit to start rolling through our doors.