Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I watched a stewy must ooze up the inclines of the funnel-shaped hopper, seventy percent sure that it would trip the pump's automatic pressure switch before an embarrassing and costly overflow. I imagined I had personally selected the vineyard block, argued for its excellence to the check-writers, and finally declared it ready for picking on this date. The resulting wine would be a referendum on my instincts and ability as a winemaker. The level continued to rise and I wanted to switch the pump on manually, overriding the automatic sensor and interrupting the communication between the three separate machines performing the crush. Less than three inches to overflow now. My hand on the knob, my head turning to see who was watching. Beige foam reached the hopper rim and wobbled over the precipice just as a futuristic hum signaled the pump coming to life. A six-ounce trickle of magenta juice drizzled to the floor and then the must sank towards the hopper outlet, faster and faster, on its way to the fermenter tank as someone else's Malbec.

Recent notables:
  • Mountain View Zinfandel 2002: No, it's not from Lodi. It's from New Zealand and is the last thing I expected to find, much less find excellent, on the North Island. Dark but translucent the way a good Z should be, pleasant alcohol-heavy nose, all jam and spice and heat on the palate with some Pinot Noir-esque bright red fruit notes finishing con brio.

No comments: