Rush Rhymes With Crush

Lugs of Pinot NoirThe title summarizes my emotions with my first crush. From the delivering of the grapes in large fruit lugs, the simple tasting of the fresh fruit and then the chemistry of measuring sugars, PH, Titratable Acidity, etc., unloading the grapes into the crusher-destemmers, pumping raw juice into tanks, and then the next day adding the yeast and yeast “food”, can only be described as a “rush”. The episode only ascended from there, the smells and visual inputs: yeast with fresh monosaccharides gives an atmosphere of a liquid bakery while the cleanliness and stainless steel provide a tingling that women have when in the presence of jewelry. I also had the opportunity to share these experiences with my wife, family, friends, and my high school, now esteemed wine judge, Maynard Johnston. I am prone to exaggeration but obviously not this time, I have a new set of images etched into my RAM, for recall now and later.

Now barrel fermentingAlthough I was not there at the time, Shawn sent pictures as the chardonnay and pinot noir were racked into the new French oak barrels. Obviously the photos don’t show the tremendous sensual rush and resultant goose bumps. All totaled, I was involved with the crushing of 21 tons of grapes while Shawn and David have now crushed twice that much with almost 15 more coming in. What fun, and, all the individuals we have talked to have said this will be the number one vintage year for Leelanau grapes, and this was confirmed by Doug Matthies and Shawn who feel that the dry summer and extremely long extension of summer into October, yet with the cool nights, will make this a vintage year to measure with those yet to come. Oh, we’ll have to get some of this product into glass — stop moaning — another blog awaits.

French oak barrels