With the exception of one stubborn lot, The Merlots and Cabernet Francs are finished fermenting. We start our “two day tastings” today. Every two days Jonathan takes two samples of each bin we taste for the progression of tannin extraction by tasting the most recent sample along side the sample taken two days prior. We are looking for a positive progression both in mid palate density and tannin length. At the same time, we want to drain and press before the wine picks up bitterness and “gout de marc” (taste of the pomace).
The Cabernet Sauvignons and Petit Verdots are now in mid-fermentation. We have transitioned from daily pump-overs to twice a day punch downs. The Cabs are fermenting warm (around 29 C or 84 F), while the Petit Verdots are kept cooler ( 25 C or 77 F). Normally we are very hands off with Petit Verdot for fear of over extraction of rustic tannins, but this year the skins have some nice flavors and tannin maturity, so we may push it a bit.