We went back to Crushpad the following week. The fermentation was over, the Brix number having reached the desired value of -1/-2, and it was time to press the grapes.
First, we had to choose a barrel in which the wine will spend the next 12 to 18 months of its life. We were proposed a 1 year old oak barrel from Burgundy which should add subtle yet complex flavors to the wine, in line with our original goal of producing an elegant and balanced wine.
We pumped the wine into the press and filled our barrel with the free run, which is the liquid that freely runs off the press without pressing. We also tasted the free run. The wine had some additional character since the week before. It was less sweet and a step closer to being a wine.
The free run coming out of the press.
Then, using buckets, we added the remaining must into the press and started pressing the wine. The hard press which is the result of pressing the must, was put in another barrel and will be used for topping off our barrel. We tasted the press wine and found it much more tannic and strong than the free run.
There is no wine left to press.
At some point, no more wine could be extracted from the must. We then left our wine resting in its barrel that will be its home for many months. The current plan is to bottle it around January 2006. In the meantime, we'll have opportunities to taste it in the barrel and monitor the aging process.
Our barrel is now full.
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