Journal | February 4, 2018

Hardscrabble Journal

KS, The Evolution of a New Wine

This week was white barrel topping week. Once a month we top off all barrels. Because of evaporation through the oak staves, each barrel loses about a half a liter of wine (angel’s share). To prevent exposure of air to the wine’s surface, we fill each barrel’s head space with the appropriate wine. Next week we do the same with the red barrels. Topping day gives us the opportunity to taste, as every barrel will be “un-bunged”.

This week Jonathan methodically took  lots of samples. That afternoon in the library, we did an organoleptic evaluation of each barrel (fancy phrase for ‘taste’!). Our main objective was to wrap our heads around a new white blended wine that for the time being we are calling KS, or Kitchen Sink. This is not an inspiring name, but it is the best we could come up with in the middle of harvest when it came time to label the barrels.

Vintage 2017 presented us with many small lots of unusual and very intense white wines. We made last minute picking and crushing decisions based of the quality of the grapes rather than having a particular wine or wine style in mind. Now comes the job of figuring out how all the pieces can come together. We have a very concentrated dry Vidal from Hardscrabble, an already blended Viognier/Chardonnay from part of a parcel at the Boisseau Vineyard, some Hardscrabble Semillon and perhaps some Petit Manseng. This eventual blend will be a reflection of the vintage: high alcohol and lots of density and intensity. A white Chateauneuf-du-Pape comes to mind.

In any case, this week’s tasting was only food for thought. We have a month to contemplate, then in late February we can hopefully put a blend together. Not sure when we will bottle. Seems that the wine will need a fair amount of time to marry the components. We are in no hurry.

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Hardscrabble JournalJim Law