The Year of the Dragon begins at 6.24pm, February 4th 2012: To which the Wandering Palate draws a line in the cellar/tasting-notebook and presents a retrospective account of the standout wines of the drinking year – the 2011 lunar drinking year – Year of the White Rabbit. Read More >
Part 7 of the series
My time here in Burgundy has exposed me to many new ideas and debunked many of my initial beliefs about how wine should be done. Burgundy is indeed a land which does things contrary to most wineries I find in the new world.
Day 19: 14/10/2011 The Finale for Moi
Shalom recounts the last day of his vintage experience at Undhof Salmon. He is now heading for Burgundy and will continue his blog as he travels the region, which I am sure will make for continued interesting reading…
Day 16: 11/10/2011 The Rain is gone!
Today is a beautiful day. I know I said that last week but after 5 days of rain, it was good to see the sun was up, the sky was blue and the chill was gone.
There was nothing much going on today except for 10 bins of Riesling from the kögl vineyard coming in this morning. We did an average sugar measurement on the grapes and it was an average of 19.5 KMW which is about 13% alcohol. The bins of grapes went straight to the press. More aeration was being done today.
We also spent some time re-bottling the 1969 WiedenGrünerVeltliner and 1968 Goldberg Grüner Veltliner & Müller-Thurgau blend. It gets really frustrating with the old bottles when the cork breaks while taking them out. I had to clean up the black, greasy mold that has seeped into the sides of the mouth of the bottle. Wine and grease don’t mix well together. I can now understand why some people insist on decanting old wines because time in the underground cellar does impart a stench to the wines.
It was really fascinating to taste the kögl Rieslings and get a better look at them. Having skipped breakfast, I spent a good amount of time eating the different coloured grapes. If without self-restrain, I would have continued chomping down a significant part of the 2011 kögl wines. I noticed that the grapes from there came in three different colours.
The first is purple which means that the grapes are affected by botrytis. Not all botrytis grapes taste bad. If they are quite desiccated, they have a sweet raisiny taste to them. If they are not desiccated, they are sour and foul to taste.
The second is green. The green grapes have high acid and taste sweet. To tell if the green grapes are ripe, I would put them against the sunlight. If the light is able to penetrate through the berries, it gives me a hint of their sweetness. The berries that can’t get any light penetration taste very acidic.
Lastly are the yellow-coloured berries. I was told that the berries are yellow because of sunburn. This is sometimes frowned upon by producers because sunburn can potentially produceperceptible amounts of TDN (1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene) in grapes, which imparts kerosene and overly-toasty characters to young Riesling wines.
Recalling my time spent in the vineyards, I remembered that the grapes that were mostly yellow tend to be on the outer rows of the terraced vineyards rather than the inner rows. The inner rows were more sheltered from the sun compared to the outer rows. Upon tasting the yellow berries, I noticed that they had more sweetness in there and more flavor.
I love Riesling that were yellow rather than green but it is not ideal to make wine from just yellow Riesling grapes. Riesling needs acid and the green ones have more acid than the yellow ones. I think that it is best to have some yellow, some green and some good purple ones in the pressing of the grapes. The concept of balance between sweetness, acidity and flavor ripeness begins in the material going into the wine and will be reflected when it finally goes into the bottle.
Day Twelve: 07/10/2011 Rain, rain, Go away!
The cold has set in and the miserable weather has begun. This is the first dark and gloomy day I had in Austria since arriving here two weeks ago. Temperature was as predicted, which was 12 degrees Celsius. Read More >
Day Eleven: Dry Ice Wonderland 06/10/2011
It was a very busy day. Early in the morning, a tanker filled with grape must rolled up at our doorsteps. The grape must has been bought to be used for the supermarket wines under another label. This wine will be sold in the UK and Poland. The must taste considerably of lesser quality in terms of flavour compared to the ones Dr. Bert brought in from his vineyards.
Day Ten: The Coming of Autumn 05/10/2011
Autumn has already arrived. You can tell be the falling of the leaves from the trees and the browning of them on the vines. It is starting to get cold too and harder to stay out of bed.
As part of the routine, I made my way to the winery and tasted each tank to check for any off-odours from the wines. I also took the usual alcohol and temperature readings. A few bins of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling came in today.
Shalom has his first experience of re-corking old wines from the deepest part of the Salomon cellars, and 1969 Grüner Veltliner. This brings back memories of when Bert Salomon showed up at my place in Melbourne for my 40th birthday with a case of 1962 Grüner Veltliner!
Yes, a whole dozen, as he was not sure how many people were coming!! I will never forget Bert’s generosity and true friendship in this wonderful gesture. Oh, the wines was brilliant, very sound, complex, provocative, showing a lot of development although not falling over – like the birthday boy.