We are picking red grapes for rosé today and tomorrow. Today is rain delayed. This is the first rain since harvest started. I’m hoping that we get less than an inch and things dry out quickly. We will go ahead and pick once the radar tells us ‘all clear’. Radar access is perhaps the greatest technological tool that has advanced the quality of Linden’s wines since we started in the 1980’s. In this case I am not worried about a bit of dilution as the grapes have potential alcohols of over 13%.
We will pick several blocks designated for rosé production. These are blocks where the grapes do not show even ripening and include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. We will also do a ‘corners’ pick. In several blocks there is a soil change from granite to greenstone. The vines growing in greenstone have not produced good red wine, so we pick them early for rosé so the they don’t compromise the greater blend of red wine.
The rosé from this picking will be intentionally lower alcohol and higher acidity than one would like for a balanced wine. It will be blended this winter with rosé made from bleeding red fermenters just before they start to ferment. We will pump out anywhere from 5 to 20% of the juice to concentrate the red wines. This increases the ratio of skins to juice in the fermenter. The percentage will depend on berry size, tannin quality, and any dilution that could come from rain just before harvest. This bled juice is very high in potential alcohol and low in acidity. Hence the earlier picking strategy.
The rosé usually ferments in our concrete egg and old barrels. We have found that the rosé doesn’t like tanks where it often produces off aromas.