Wine! From the grape to your glass (PART 3)
By now I'm sure all of you are wondering how it's progressing. The still wine in the larger barrel has finished fermenting & the process of fortifying the wine in the smaller barrel is complete and will spend then next several months untouched. Both barrels were sealed on October 25th and have spent the past 2 weeks "relaxing."
Following the traditions from Portugal, I opened the larger barrel yesterday to sample the wine and see how it has progressed. The wine is raw, very young, fresh with acidity and is beginning the maturation process. I am very pleased with it's progress in the past month. The wine will mature at its own pace and should be ready to consume in 2 to 3 months.
As soon as the wine has matured enough for consumption, the wine will be "Racked." Racking is the process of moving the wine from one barrel to another, providing two key benefits. The wine is separated from the bottom layer of sediment in the barrel, which could negatively impact the final flavor. The wine also undergoes a bit of aeration to open up flavors and allow for further development.
Some examples of the changes that the wine will undergo are changes in color and in the flavor/bouquet. The purple and violet tints in the color are progressively replaced by a deep red color. The grape derived aromas fade and more complex and pleasing aromas develop. The taste of the wine also changes; bitter and harsh tastes are replaced by smoother, rounder tastes.
In the final stages of maturation the wine will be barrel aged for several months (until late summer) where it will then be bottled, that's if there's any left! The wine will continue to age in the bottle where it will become more complex and refined.
Patience is key! Once you have done your work, there's nothing more you can do besides let nature take it's course. And remember, the longer you wait, the better it will taste!