Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Maryland Governor's Cup

It does go to prove that with hard work and determination one will reap the rewards.

My 2007 Sangiovese won the 2010 Maryland Governor's Cup, the top prize for a Maryland wine in our great state. It also won best in it's class at the Winemaster's Competition held earlier in the year.

It was a very humbling experience to stand amongst my fellow Maryland wine makers an colleges in the wine business at the Maryland Wine Festival and accept this great honor.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Here is a video clip of the method we use for pruning our sangiovese, in order to control production we find cane renewal is a preferred method. Regardless of how many pounds of cane pruning we do, we still like to minimize the amount of producing buds we leave behind. This has good and bad results, the bad is that by minimizing the amout of buds the bunches will be larger and over crowd each other , the good is that everyone of the buds will produce.

The idea is to start right after the bloom....I would say between petal fall and formation, and start exposing the small bunches to the sun.....I don't necessary like to cluster thin at this time because if you do it increases the size of the bunches, however we are trying to position the bunches so they have equal amounts of sun, by removing leaves you should be able to achieve that.

This first picture shows what you don not want your sangiovese to look like. The bunches are over top of each other. I predict it would never go over 18 brix of sugar, with very poor color.

Sangiovese, like Pinot Noir happens to be the type of grape that has soft tannins that are very smooth on the palate and aromatic and the color of the finished wine should be brilliant but lighter red and the aroma is fruiter and elegant. I compare both of these wines to a very sophisticated aristocratic young lady who just came out of some of the best finishing schools in Florence.

the following pictures shows what a proper sangiovese should look like.

Notice how each bunch has the same amount of sun exposure ......Also notice the leaves are clean and free of fungus, the cane has beautiful wood for the following year.

This view shows how well balanced the vineyard is.....we are looking about aprox. 3 tons per acre versus 12 tons per acre if left alone......You have heard the espression that a good glass of wine is made in the vineyard, nothing could be more of a fact than when you are cultivating sangioves. It can be a very difficult desigsion for a grape grower that sells his fruit, simply because when you see that a vineyard wants to produce 12 tons per acre and you are reducing the crop to 3 tons per acre, and how many man power hours it take to achieve this goal, the designsion becomes even harder.....but to get the true fruit needed to produce a quality sangiovese wine production needs to be keep under control.....its alot more work but its a labor of love and if you happen to know what sangiovese should taste like it's worth the effort.

The 2007 sangiovese was harvested at 23 brix of sugar and a ph of 3.2 and a ta of .78 gram liter. It went through our crush and destemmer, with the cylinder wide open enough, so that it can actually remove the stems and barely crack the grapes open. It was feed into a fermenting bin, each bin holds exactly one and a half tons of grapes when filled 16 inches below the rim....and we can cold soak them for any amount of time, with only 30 parts per million so2 at a ph of 3.2,our calculations shows to reach 8 so2 molecular 21 parts per million free s02 is all you need.... by adding 30 parts per million we are extending the protection of the must during the cold soaking for a longer cold soaking, and I don't really worry ablout the extra s02 at this time because it will blow out during the fermentation.....after the cold soaking is complete we inoculate it with D254 yeast at aprox a gram per gallon, then we also add pectic enzyme and Opti-Red by the manufactures recommended dosage. We calculate the amount of yeast nourishment per one and a half ton of grapes and we divide that by three. We run alaysis to check and make sure the fermenting nitrogen is suficient ....."we have found in growing sangiovese for 10 years that we have never had to adjust the fermenting nitrogen".I like to use a third of the yeast nurishment at the beging of the fermtaition and one third at 10 brix and the final third at 5 brix. As soon as the cap starts swelling we punch down at the rate of every 4 of us will always remain behind to do the last punch down at 1am so......the morning man can do the 5am punch

As soon as the cap is totally down we remove all the free run juice and we pump the remaining mass into a bladder press, which is preprogrammed by a computer....and we press on a program which is not a servere press. All the juice gets blended together into a large 3,ooo gallon tanks. After we are totally sure that all the sugar is fermented we prepare this wine for the malatic fermintation. We bring the temperature up to 65 degrees fahrenhite then we treat the wine with Opti' Malo.....then 24 hours later we put in MaloStart and the malolactic culture.....and we watch the malolactic fermentation go to work. Hopefully the malolactic fermentation only takes a few weeks.At that time we pump the wine into wood barrels. We had 16 barrels of the 2007 sangiovese 8 barrels were hybrid from world cooperage the heads were made of French hybrid wood and the staves Missouri wood. The other 8 barrels were older barrels 4 American and 4 Hungarian oak.

January 15 2009 we racked all 16 barrels into a large tank where this wine is blended together. Ten barrels will bottled as sangiovese in the near future while the other will be blended to make the new Caronte, which will be 60% sangivese 30% merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Both of these wines wine be available when I say so