Friday, 11 February 2011

Blending Grand Chai 2010

During the blending of the 2010 JMS Sauvignon yesterday I tasted every barrel of the Grand Chai Sauvignon and I decided it was ready to rack them to vat NOW and blend with the cool vat fermented Sauvignon to conserve the exact aromas and body of today. This will however be only one part of the final blend as the Semillon and Sauvignon Gris need a bit longer in barrel before they join the others for the final blend.

Big job ahead so we started at the crack of dawn this morning, Denis had his beloved cones straight out front of the Chai to slow down the speed crazy Friday commuters (the majority getting to work early in order to leave early for the ritual weekly long weekend!)

With Denis in charge of barrels and me taking care of the large vat transfer we were did a simultaneous racking. This meant whilst I was going through the bottom tap to conserve dissolve carbon dioxide (for freshness), Denis was busy racking the barrel wine whilst avoiding taking the 'gros lies’ (heavy sediment) over the top via the vat chimney with the end of the hose out of the surface of the wine to avoid air being bubbled into wine between barrel changing. The photo is not a newly discovered extraterrestrial world but how it looks inside the vats from a vat chimneys point of view!

The ‘gros lies’ have been kept in the barrel since ferment to give weight to the wine and are now no longer desirable where on the other hand the relatively clean wine (due to having been already racked a number of times) in vat had some very aromatic fine sediment (fine lees). Once I had reached the bottom of the vat it was time to open the door and inspect and most importantly taste and smell the gloopy sediment!

The ‘fine lees’ had settled perfectly with a layer of compact sediment sticking to the vat floor and on opening the door the fine runny lees poured off the top. The aroma and taste of the fine lees was incredible and was collected by dragging them out with the ‘lees scraper’ into a tub which I’ll put back into the blend to help the aroma before a further racking when the final finished blend will be made.

Denis however was rolling each empty barrel to collect the now no longer wanted thick lees as we must declare these to customs!

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