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Wine with Natasha – The Choice

Wine juice delivery. Four men stand on or near a trailer loaded down with 55 gallon drums of wine grape juice and lug boxes containing wine grapes. The foreground is buckets and scales and things to divide the juice among a number of people.

I’m really feeling the maxim, “if you snooze, you lose” right now. I had been a little hesitant to launch this project, and when I finally decided to just commit…

The grapes I wanted were sold out.

I had to scramble to decide what to go with, as I didn’t really have a second choice lined up. I had been thinking an easy, fruity red for the project and Tom had suggested Lemberger for such a wine. Unfortunately, the Lemberger sold out while I was debating myself. None of the other grapes we had available seemed quite so approachable for a near-total beginner.

So, I went a totally different direction. I looked at our grape juices, and contemplated the possible white wines I could make. I have seriously enjoyed Gewürztraminer since I was introduced to it last year, and there’s nothing more delightful than a rosé* on the patio on a hot summer day. But Riesling can be delicious and is one of the latest grapes to ripen, which would give me more time to dive in and learn tons before I ever have to get sticky.

The Choice

In the end the crisp fruity notes of Sauvignon Blanc won out. It’s absolutely one of my favorite white wines; I’ve loved it from just about every region it’s grown. So why NOT try my hand at it?

I have to admit, I am a bit nervous. I don’t want to totally screw up something I like. But, unlike the Lemberger, I have had Sauvignon Blanc before, so the upside is that I’ll have a much better sense of how well I managed to make my wine.

Thus, it’s decided. I’m making Sauvignon Blanc and I’ll post about it here. Chip, who commented on the last post, is joining me.

Now, given agriculture (and my lack of wine grape knowledge), the Sauvignon Blanc grapes ripened and the juice arrived far before I expected. And due to a variety of other factors, I’m just now getting to share this announcement.

So, two things. First, within the next week, I’ll write up what is up with my Sauvignon Blanc and what yeast Chip and I used, and such like.

Second, since part of the goal here was to invite folks to ferment along with me, I thought I’d ask if anyone else would like to join in with different juice or grapes? I am considering making some of that Riesling, since I do enjoy it and it IS a late ripener. I’m *also* considering making Barbera, which I have never had before but will likely hit the same notes I was looking for when considering the Lemberger.

Both grapes should ripen in early October, so we have a little bit of time to decide. If you are interested in joining me, comment on this post, or on one of our social media channels, by October 1st 2020. But, since this is agriculture and the grapes dictate everything, please know that sooner is better for such a commitment. I could get unlucky again and have the grapes ripen faster than expected.

If someone does wish to make Riesling and/or Barbera with me, I’ll absolutely do some of the wine they are interested in fermenting. If not, I may or may not make more wine, but I won’t write up anything beyond the Sauvignon Blanc if I do decide to make something else.

No matter what, it’s bound to be interesting.


*Ok, technically not a white wine, but we’re selling it as juice, so that’s where it’s categorized.


2 thoughts on “Wine with Natasha – The Choice

  1. Sauvignon Blanc seems like a good choice. I have only made Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonney and Cab( well sort of, local grapes, not enough heat, bad wine).

    Of these, I found Reisling the most challenging. A very few vintages were divine, most were ok to “different”. I don’t think any of it was good before aging a few years. Some took 6 plus years to become a decent wine. Of course that could well be the winemaker not the grape. Beware Reisling that has been overcropped. This grape is prone to overproducing and absent good vineyard management, I think you run the risk of getting “unconcentrated” juice for which there is no practical amatuer and few professional cures. Crappy looking, even moldy fruit may not be a show stopper. Unlike Pinot, Reisling can look ugly but make great wine, especially if you have some noble rot botrytis.

    Good luck with your S. Blanc and whatever else you decide to make!! Unfortunately I can’t join you in making some wine.
    PS: Excellent year to make a “smokey” P. Noir! Fear not the Heartbreak Grape.

    1. Chuck, thank you so much for the thoughts! I’m very much looking forward to my Sauv Blanc. I’m glad I didn’t end up with the Reisling, given what you’re saying!

      I actually am going to end up making some possibly “smokey” Pinot this year; I ended up with some grapes. I have not yet started to document the process, but I am probably going to do so.

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