A Blend of North Forth Pinot Noir & Merlot. No additives.
- 75% Pinot Noir
- 25% Merlot
- Whole cluster and stem
- 11% Alc. by Vol.
In a glass of course! For those adventurous types try it atop a New York Sour!
Into the Bottle
Being surrounded by farms, wineries and a few beloved breweries means our social circles consist of farmers, winemakers, brewers.. and of course, those creatives they work with -- the chefs and the drinks makers and the artists. The different tools (and obsessions) of these various trades has opened worlds to us. For instance, learning about oxygen or lactic acid bacteria from the perspective of a winemaker versus a brewer, and how very different those perspectives were from my own -- has lead me to push myself and experiment in ways that continually surprise me.
In 2020 we took on the challenge of producing a wine with zero added sulfur, zero added yeast or sugar -- zero added anything. Living along the North Fork Wine Trail as we do, this wasn't our first time with our hands in some wine. Making wine on nights and weekends, in barns and garages with solo cups of trapiste beer or biodynamic Austrian blaufranksih in hand is a pastime.
Back at the distillery we've been producing grape eau de vie's since we opened -- watching the fruit grow, harvesting by hand, taking the fruit over to the local crush facility to be pressed and then over to the distillery for fermentation, distillation and a nice rest before bottling. We always opted for wild ferments -- taking advantage of the yeasts present on the skins of the fruit from the vineyard. We never chaptalized, the process of adding sugar to bump up the resulting alcohol. We never added nutrients -- understanding that fertilizing one element of a metabolic process would throw others out of whack. We never added Sulfur -- because that's not a thing I had ever even heard of in the distilling world before. Preservatives aren't necessary -- when our ferment is finished, we distill it, lifting the alcohol and volatile aromatic contents from the decaying plant matter.
2020 would become our first solo foray into the winemaking process. We had called Macari early in the growing season to reserve a few hundred lbs of pinot noir to blend with a white wine to produce our first rosé vermouth. During harvest, the vineyard reached out to say their growing season had been stellar -- and they wanted to know if we could take on a few tons extra.
The fruit arrived in of yellow champagne harvest baskets one morning in late September. We emptied them into 4 macro bins -- open top containers that can fit 1 ton of fruit. Whole fruit clusters with stems into the bin. We gently pressed the fruit in the bin and sealed them up. Every day, twice per day, for the following 5 or 6 days, we would open up the bins, lightly press the fruit, and seal them back up. At the end of the 5/6 day maceration, we pressed the juice in Dolce, our beloved, vintage Italian wine press. The ferment still had a ways to go, so we were happy to get some oxygen into the juice to promote the natural yeast to reproduce. Out of the press the juice was poured into our 54L glass demijohns to finish primary fermentation. When primary was finished, and the solids settled, we racked the young wine into (very) used red wine casks. No big oaky flavors here!
A few hundred pounds of merlot fruit from the same vineyard had showed up on our doorstep around the same time the Pinot had. We put the whole cluster fruit into drum and sealed it up, where it underwent carbonic, whole cluster, fermentation for a few weeks before pressing, settling and blending into the single barrel of pinot noir.
The wine went through secondary, malolactic fermentation, in those topped up casks. We racked the wine once more time before spring, when we drilled into the cask heads and bottled Garden Party straight from the barrel.
75% Pinot Noir 25% Merlot
North Fork Grown