Birds&Bats Wine Productions - Wines of Momentary Destination
Well, this is a little embarrassing, as we promised you a regular blog, but we've been a couple of useless ***** and not got round to it.
In our defence, we have been extremely busy and very sociable over the past few months and when you finish work on Monday, wake up and find out that it's Friday, it's difficult to muster the brain energy over the weekend to do anything apart from nurse the hang over and amuse ones self with colourful moving images...
Anyway, excuses out of the way, what's happening with the wine?!
Well, it's fermented now, you'll be (un)surprised to hear. In fact, we stopped the fermentation a couple of weeks ago. We've had a few dramas, we cannot lie. Crazy fermentations, reduction and subsequent pump-overs; removal from barrel, returning to barrel, then changing our mind and removing from barrel again; and then film-yeasts to top it all off....It's been mildly challenging and not at all conventional, but we were never heading out to be anyway. The smalls issues were enough to keep us thinking and using our instincts, but not so much that we got all stressful. Apart from when Birds thought she'd killed the yeast....
We had three separate ferments. One in stainless steel, about 450L, one in an old 1000L barrel and one in a smaller 225L barrique. The 1000L barrel was transferred to stainless steel because we weren't happy with the fermentation and despite our best efforts to control it, we decided it would be better to put it in steel. We removed this ferment from the barrel as it was becoming reduced...we couldn't really be sure what was going on. The yeast were obviously stressed, but we didn't know if was from yeast already present in the barrel, fighting with the Torulaspua delbukeii (Td), or a lack of nutrition for the Td to feed on. We added some nutrient, just in case, and returned the ferment back to the barrel. It seemed to do the trick.
But after a few days the reduction returned. This time it was worse. We waited until we inoculated with the Saccharomyces, to see if that would make a difference, but in the end we erred on the side of caution and removed it from the barrel completely. The ferment was much happier in tank, although the reduction remained throughout.
It has since disappeared now we have added sulphur and stirred up the lees a bit (something we were told would happen by the big boss man "You are caring so much for the wine, you will kill it." ! How do you respond to that??).
The barrique ferment tasted fantastic. In fact, following Birds' initial doubts, it was decided to remove the 225L that had been fermenting for about three weeks and blend that in with the old barrel/new tank wine, and put some fresh ferment from the old barrel/new tank into it. We did some rough blending of all three and the barrique flavour really hits some high notes.
The original tank had no problems whatsoever, in fact, it tastes bloody incredible.Birds&Bats are pleased one baby made it all on its own.
As previously mentioned, we did not de-acidify the juice prior to fermentation. This is because we wanted to see how much of the total acidity would drop out during the process. The acidity is still pretty high and although we want a fresh 'racy' Riesling, we still need to drop it a bit.
This is our next process and Birds&Bats have been discussing the method and process for a while. It's a bit if a faff to be honest, so to reduce the amount we mess around with the wine, in terms amelioration, we are also trying to work out how best we can do it without compromising on the quality levels. This should happen before Christmas and if not, then soon after. Riesling needs a good rest after fermentation, so there's no real rush.
In the other mean time, we have gin! GIN! Did we mention we're making gin? We're making gin. Yay!
All of our spices arrived last week, and we are working out how much lees (dead yeast cells and sediment from wine fermentation) we need to distil to get 50L. No small feat, and we are reliant on the big boss man to really help us through working this out. So to make it more fun, we are now working on the recipe and infusing small amounts of alcohol with our spice mix to see what tastes best and develop our final recipe! It's pretty damn cool.
Here are some photos.