Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Racking 2013 Riesling and Stabilizing and Bottling More 2012

With winter finally easing, and spring approaching, I have a few tasks at the winery.  I placed 50 gallons of wine on a pallet and exposed it to the outside cold for four weeks.  The result was some dramatic clearing with a good amount of tartaric acid precipitating out.  I bottled half of the wine over the weekend, which came to a little more than 10 cases.  The rest should be bottled next weekend.  I also rotated the remaining fifteen (15) carboys from the 2012 Riesling out to the cold for two weeks at a time, and they seem to be holding clarity and crystal precipitate while stored at 55-60 degrees F in the cellar.  I should bottle these before the weather really heats up.  
I tasted the 2012 Riesling from several different carboys.  It has a bit of oxidation in the pallet (a hint of malic acid). I've been worried about the level of oxygen pretty much from the start when using the permeable plastic FlexTanks, but I really enjoyed what I tasted.  It was dry, with a Chardonnay-like quality.  It comes through to my taste buds more like a brandy flavor than apple.

I also racked the 2013 Riesling in the FlexTank and the wine stored in carboys.  After three weeks, the french oak chips were settled on the bottom of the tanks, which made it easy to rack the wine off the chips.  This is my first time giving the wine three weeks on the chips, having previously only given it one or two weeks.  I'm hoping the extra time will bring out the wood's character a little more.  After racking, I went to get my phone to take photos and I realized to my horror that the FlexTank was leaking from the taste valve cap.  Besides the top of the tank, the 80 gallon FlexTank has two holes.  One at the bottom for racking and one about a third of the way up for a taste valve.  I don't use the taste valve, but I found after my first racking that the taste valve cap must be removed and dried carefully or the metal threads will rust.  One issue is that the caps are easy to over-torque when tightening back in place.  I tried rubbing a little silicone gel on the outside of the cap, but the leak kept coming.  I ended up taking the cap off and quickly screwing in a replacement cap from another FlexTank, losing some wine splashing out in the process.  The leak was fixed.