Every quarter we ask Jacques to write up an update on the state of the vineyard and the winery. Our fall update is always a treat because Jacques shares his reflection on harvest and crush and his hopes for the vintage! Read on for the insider scoop on the 2016 harvest at Torii Mor from the winemaker's perspective.
As expected, harvest had a very early start, we started seeing picking bins on trucks at the end of August, mostly for sparkling and the younger vines. At Torii Mor we stretched the start of harvest to September 7 when Hoy vineyard next to Rex Hill, reached 24 + brix with good flavors.
The cooler summer (compared to previous years) and the cool down at the end of August and early September allowed for great flavor development, the sugar came in high. The last Pinot Noir grapes came in on September 23rd with Kolb vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Olson Vineyard was picked on the 20th, and the Olson Chardonnay on the 29th, which was our last fruit for Torii Mor.
We have almost finished pressing the Pinot Noirs, a couple fermenters have slowed down and needed some heat and TLC, and they are on their way to be done in a few days. All the Pinot Noirs have great flavor, a cross between the jammy 2012 vintage and the fresher 2014 vintage.
The harvest crew is still active, starting the last step of harvest, cleaning all the equipment before putting it in storage until next harvest. It’s time to button up the winery for winter.
The holidays will be here before we know it and generally, holiday parties mean opening up those hidden gems we have in our cellars: old wines. Whether you've aged them yourself or bought them years after they were released, this post will help you through three steps to successfully open your precious aged wine.
Ideally, the aged wine you want to open has been stored on its side in a cool, dark, humid environment for its whole life. If you bought a wine already aged, then you can bet it's been stored well. With an aged bottle you've just received, let it sit for a few weeks before opening it to let the sediment settle.
When you've decided on your event at which you want to open your wine, stand your bottle upright to let the sediment sink to the bottom. How long you do this depends on how old your wine is: anywhere from a few hours to a month. If your wine is less than twenty years old a few hours or days should do the trick. If it's up to forty years old, let it stand for closer to a month.
When you're ready to open your wine, you have a few options. Make sure the liquid in the bottle is clear; you can do this by shining a light (like a bright flashlight or a candle) through the bottle.
If your wine is under twenty years old you can still easily use a normal corkscrew with little trouble. If it's older, or you suspect the cork is degraded, use an Ah-So. This two-pronged gadget wiggles in between the cork and the bottle and gently lifts it out in one piece.
If the cork gets pushed into the bottle whole or the cork crumbles into the bottle, don't panic. Your wine isn't ruined and there is still a way to enjoy your aged bottle.
Depending on the type of wine you're opening, a great way to separate the sediment from the rest of the liquid is to decant it. Gently pour your wine into a decanter, shining a flashlight or candle underneath the neck so you're able to stop pouring once sediment reaches the neck of the bottle.
If you're enjoying a bottle of wine that is a less-tannic grape, it's advisable to not decant, as the extra oxygen could dilute flavors and cause the wine to flop. Old Burgundy are a good example of this. However, you can easily separate sediment from the wine without decanting. Strain the wine through unbleached cheesecloth if you have high amounts of cork crumbles or sediment, or it's a less tannic wine.
What bottles are you hoping to open this holiday season? Let us know in the comments on Facebook!
One of the perks of the wine club is the delicious recipes included with every shipment. We love to do wine pairings around here, so this is a great treat to inspire a dinner during the week!
This week I'm featuring one of the recipes from our September Club shipment. If you love this recipe and want more delicious wine pairings like this, join our wine club! You get wine four times a year, get incredible benefits (like discounts, special promotions, and events), and special treatment as part of the Torii Mor family.
On to the recipe!
Beet and Chevre Tarte Tatin - Pair with our 2015 Pinot Blanc
2 Large Beets
Creamy Goat Cheese (Chevre)
1 Granny Smith Apple
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let chevre sit out to come to room temperature. Take both large beets in a roasting pan lined with foil, and season with oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap and cover beets with foil, and place into oven for about 55 minutes or until knife tender, let cool.
Take the apple, and cut it into thin pieces. Place into water with a little vinegar, in order to maintain color, and set aside.
Take the beets, and remove the skins, slice into thin pieces roughly the same size as the apple.
In a small baking dish, lay down first the beets to cover, then spread a layer of chevre on top, cover with apples.
Take the filo dough and cut to the size of the baking sheet. Place the dough on top of the baking dish and bake until the center is warm and the cheese is runny. Gently take a knife and cut around the edges of the pan, and flip onto a plate so that the baked dough is on the bottom. Serve hot with a sharp knife.