I have three different wines aging currently; Mourvedre, Tempranillo, and Zinfandel.
The Mourvedre was made from grapes grown by Bob Johnson at Colibri Vineyards. These were plump berries with good flavor and very few blemishes. I extended maceration on this, pressing after 14 days. I used a combination of D80 and Syrah yeasts, in two batches, and blended the batches together after completion of malo-lactic fermentation (MLF). Constant lees stirring helped complete the MLF, and also improved the body. I also added a touch of medium toast French oak from the Barrel Mills infusion spirals. These work great and allow you to easily remove the oak at the exact moment you reach the desired oak level. I may have waited a little long, as the oak is detectable, but the flavors go well with the varietal characteristics and still allow the wonderful fragrance to come through. I think time will mellow the oak and push it into the background.
The Tempranillo came from Mark Mayberry in Vail, AZ. The berries were a little small, so there was a good skin/juice ratio. I used a D254 yeast on this, and ran it through MLF with a mix of medium toast American and French oak (from infusion spirals). This has good varietal flavor, is beefy and has a good finish. I think this will make a very good wine after aging a bit more to allow the flavors to blend.
The Zinfandel was grown by Peter Lechtenbohmer of Sweet Sunrise Vineyards. This was Peter’s last crop before retiring. The clusters were huge and we got lots of juice from them. I used the same Syrah/D80 batching combination I used on the Mourvedre and innoculated with MLF after pressing. The infusion spirals seem to help the malo, giving the bacteria a place to hang out, but lees stirring was still necessary. I added Med. American oak spirals to this. The fruitiness still stands out, but there’s a hint of vanilla from the oak.
All together, I’m very happy with the wines this year. I managed to bottle 14 cases this year. They’re currently stacked in my spare bedroom, waiting for shelf space. I need more shelves.
Buying grapes is getting more expensive this year due to frost damage in the Elgin and Willcox vineyards. I look forward to having my own grapes to make wine from. Next year!