September 2012

Heart shaped must

by Serena on September 17, 2012

Given the lack of sleep during harvest, I was wondering if anyone else sees the heart shape in the grape must?

This is the stage after the grapes have gone through the sorting & destemming table.  The grapes are now considered “must”.  Must comes from the Latin words “vinum mustum” which means young wine.  The must is the grapes, juice, seeds, and occasional stems or whole clusters.  For Pinot noir we let the must cold soak which means we chill the fermentation tank/bin to encourage color extraction from the grape skin into the juice.  Cold soak is an important step because once the fermentation kicks off, there is very little color that is extracted from the skins.  Next post, I’ll tell you about yeast & fermentation. – Serena


The sorting table

by Serena on September 10, 2012

It is a brilliant piece of equipment.

Whether we are sorting one ton or seven tons, I am always happy to be on this line.  When the fruit drops into the hopper I get excited knowing that shortly I’m going to be looking at each and every cluster that goes into our wine.  The point of the sorting table is to inspect each cluster before the cluster get destemmed .  Usually what this means is that I’m removing grape leaves that fell into the pick bins and grape clusters that don’t meet our standards – maybe they have too many raisins or didn’t ripen evenly.   Because we do an initial sorting of the grapes while we are out in the fields standing on the tractor rail, our grapes come in very clean and we’re just picking out an occasional leaf or cluster. There is something about the rhythm of the table that is exciting and reminds me that soon the grapes that just left the vines will be cold soaking and shortly thereafter fermenting.  It kicks off an incredible period of change for the grapes.  – Serena


Drumroll please …

by Serena on September 5, 2012

Since 2008 we have focused on Pinot noir from the Russian River Valley, Mendocino Ridge, and the Anderson Valley.  We love making Pinot noir and it will forever be the grape that is front and center for Cartograph.  What you may not know, is one of the first grapes I started working with was Sangiovese.  Under Alan’s tutelage at Crushpad in San Francisco, in fall of 2008 I had the pleasure of making one barrel of Sangiovese with fruit from the Stolpman Vineyard in Santa Barbara County.  So, imagine my delight when Alan asked me to go look at the Upton Vineyard in Redwood Valley – it’s a sangiovese vineyard!

So, Cartograph Circle members will have the exclusive access to a very small production of Sangiovese in 2014.  It’s really fun to be able to come back to where I started and see what I have learned.   – Serena



Thanks For Visiting Us at Taste of Sonoma

by Serena on September 1, 2012

We loved sharing the food and wine culture of Sonoma County at the 33rd annual Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch with our friends new and old. Named one of the 10 Best Wine and Food Events in the United States by Celebrated Living magazine, the Taste of Sonoma was a coveted ticket and we had a great time with those of you who enjoyed the beautiful day with us. More information  – Alan & Serena