Today we tackled the Cabernet press and again, we were lucky enough to have Cousin John to help us. But that also meant two different presses as we are still in the throes of an interesting experiment. Andy and I are processing our Cab with UC Davis yeasts and modern methods. Cousin John, who we “paid” in grapes for his help with the crush, is defiantly Old Skool: sulfite-free, natural yeasts and keep the methodology as manual as possible. For instance, we use UC Davis college-educated yeasts for fermenting, while John trusts his grapes to leather jacket wearing, motorcycle riding, liquor store robbing wild local yeasts. (If you aren’t up to speed on this epic Battle of the Yeasts, read this.)
So our first task was to press Cousin John’s Cabernet, which meant dragging out all our old equipment including the old basket press.
Contrast that with our new Italian bladder press. A rubber bladder inflates with water and gently presses out the juice from the must, and conveniently turns itself off when the pressure is getting too much for optimal flavor.
Meanwhile back at the Old Skool, it’s a complicated series of tubes, funnels and lots of manpower.
At this point, we took time out to taste the two different wines. Not surprisingly, even though they are both made from the same batch of grapes, two wildly different flavors.
But, we had to agree, both wines promise to be interesting in their own way.
So with Cousin John’s wine in carboys and half our wine in a steel tank, we called it a day.
With a good day’s work behind us, we repaired to the barn for a well-deserved cassoulet. But first a check on the Mourvedre and Grenache blends we just put into oak.
Find more pictures of today’s activities here.