It’s in the tank – Oregon update

Author: Brian Croser
Source: Tapanappa
Review Date: Oct 2010

It’s in the tank!

We picked Tunkalilla Vineyard Riesling on Saturday morning with the wind rising and the gloom enclosing from the Pacific Ocean over the hill.
5 tonnes of tart and floral Riesling grapes were under cover in our barn when the Arctic weather furies unleashed. The rain and wind were unlike anything we experience in Piccadilly Valley and for the next 4 days the Eola Hills were trapped in a growling cloud depositing more than 80mms of rain.

The local vintners had gone all out to pick all of their remaining grapes before the Saturday weather event, I say remaining because without netting they had been waging a shotgun fight for the rights to the crop against the Hitchcock like flocks of starlings and migratory birds in this latest of harvests. Up to 20% of the total crop is sill out there and the birds have defaulted the exclusive right to the dripping mouldering bunches that are left.

Tunkalilla Riesling has been whole bunch pressed to massage only the heart run juice to tank. It’s “winky” juice at 9 grams of acid and a pH of 3.0 but the sugar is respectable at 21.8% Brix and the flavours are delicate and floral.

On Saturday I will rack the settled juice to fermentation tank, add my home grown yeast strain, close the lid and go home.

In a couple of months the fermentation will finally expire after a long struggle in the refrigerator temperatures of the Cristom Cellar. I suspect we will be leaving a little more sugar to balance the tartness of the 2010 Oregon vintage compared the previous two vintages.

Job done, we return to the Piccadilly Valley early next week leaving this land of spectacular leaf colour and encircling winter to the emerging shoots of the Tiers 2011 vintage.


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