Today we bottled the 2008 Viognier. I mean, Colin and I really bottled it. David Bull showed us with the first bottle, then we took over. I filled the bottles from the little pump, and Colin put the argon (gas to replace the oxygen) in the neck, then pulled the cork machine and inserted the corks. We proudly brought home 51 and a half bottles. We’ll try the half bottle tonight, but the rest we will treat like liquid gold. Here’s the bottling process when it’s done by hand:
This was especially memorable for us, because we picked the grapes ourselves on April 19th, 2008. It was just coming on to rain, and there was a little botrytis in the grapes, especially under the pines. We rushed them over to Larrikins (Larry McKenna at Escarpment), who grimly asked where the rest of the crop was.
Yes, we only had 100 kg, and everyone thought we should put it in with the Syrah, but we wanted to see what our vineyard would give us. Two days later we basket-pressed the 100kg into 50 litres of juice, at Oak House.
The PH was 3.33 (natural!) and it smelled like white peaches on a hot summer day. Exactly how Viognier should smell. The brix was 24.1. John Porter innoculated it with Eleganne yeast and on May 25th we took it to David Bull’s place. It was still fermenting, and it turned out to be a long, slow ferment which we halted two weeks ago, after tasting it several times and declaring it just right.
I was going to have an AFD today (alcohol free day) but somehow that’s not really appropriate. Anyway, I’ve been bottling and stewing nectarines all afternoon, and Colin’s been toiling away on the pig pen all weekend, so we deserve a treat. Can’t wait to see what the viognier, the first James Viognier, tastes like.