September 16, 2013 § 1 Comment
As you have probably found out developing a palate for wine can be very tricky; it takes a good amount of time and most of all practice. When people ask me how do you get blackberry, strawberry, or other aromas on the nose of this wine, I sometimes think they have not truly developed a nose to identify these different aromatics, because they haven’t smelled or tasted enough wines to build these profiles. Like anything in life when building a palate you have benchmark flavors that you can always indicate. To get benchmarked you have to have a lot of experience with the particular food or beverage.
I am currently trying to build a palate for grapes in the vineyard; this is extremely difficult because I can only practice tasting these grapes once a year for a two week span. On top of that the sugars are so high that your palate needs to really focus on the flavors at hand in addition to the texture of the skin and pulp. Ideally, one day I will be able to walk through a vineyard and taste for flavors and call the time to pick solely based on my palate. In the way we currently pick flavor is important, but what is even more important is relying on lab analysis such as sugar levels, PH, and titratable acidity.
In closing, the way that you build a palate for anything is not just consuming a lot of a product, but more significantly to put deep thought and memorization into developing an advanced palate to really understand what one tastes. Practice makes perfect, so experience can only help in developing a more refined palate. Here’s to great eating an drinking. Cheers!
September 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
PUTTING WINE INTO A BOTTLE
There’s so much that happens to wine before it goes to a bottle. To start, wine is a living thing, and as a living thing, it’s always changing and evolving. A lot of winemaking happens In the barrel, where wine breathes more, because the oak barrel is more porous and micro-oxygenation is more prevalent. While aging in barrel, there is still time to for me to make decisions such as make-up of blends, time in a barrel, and wine additions. Deciding when to bottle is a big decision, because once we bottle all micro-oxygenation is left up to what the cork allows in, which is minuscule. Timing is everything, because less oxygen in the bottle affects how a wine evolves and it’s important Kokomo wines to keep getting better with age.
Bottling is always a very emotional time for me to see my beloved juice that I’ve worked on so hard, for so long, go in to its final resting place at the speed of one bottle per second. Although bottling a fast process and somewhat mechanical, I’m glad that we are getting our product into bottle with as little oxygen exposure as possible. The decision to bottle and the whole bottling process are just a couple of things I’m really involved in. I also spend a lot of time researching and selecting the best wine packaging, so the final product looks as great as it tastes.
There’s more that goes in to packaging than people think. I see bottling as putting a face on a 40-year old vineyard, weeks of hard work in the cellar, and months of barrel aging from various cooperages. That face ends up as label on a wine bottle that the consumer takes away without perhaps realizing all that went in to the finished product in their hands. They don’t know many winemakers lose sleep worrying about the details, like making sure the label is not put on the bottle crooked or wrinkled. A crooked label reflects poorly on a wine, even though the wine has been been created from a 100-year old vineyard, that was farmed meticulously, and made beautifully in $1,000 French oak barrels. I’ve learned, regardless of my high winemaking quality, the final product is represented by the label put on the bottle, the glass used, and the closer (corks, caps) and many of wine’s great characteristics come after a wine has been properly bottled, so these things really matter.
We just finished up our big bottling for the year and it’s always a huge relief when the last bottle is properly packaged. I sleep better knowing all the time I’ve invested in packaging pays off and our wine can evolve and improve for 40 years. I also feel good knowing the quality in our packaging matches my high winemaking standards, and I can be proud of both. So, the next time you open a bottle of Kokomo wine, take a second to think about the hard work and dedication that went into bringing you a great bottle of wine. Savor the view and the finish. Cheers!