A sommelier friend once said, “Drinking wine should be about the emotions you experience as the wine crosses your lips; glides over the palate; slips down the throat and says farewell.” I have always enjoyed tasting wine and the emotional experience that comes from each sip and appreciate the nurturing care and emotional structure the Vintner crafts into each bottle.
In the Walla Walla Valley, a couple of Vintners allowed me to tag a long one fall evening as they tended their vats of fermenting grapes. Harvest had just begun and I was giddy with the excitement of what I would see and experience by this unexpected adventure………
As the winemakers performed their punch downs of the grape vats, the CO gases were released and replaced by heady aromas of grapes and yeast working together.
Slipping my arm into a warm vat of fermenting grapes, I could feel the yeast and grapes working together to create the foundation of the perfect nectar. A small cup in hand allowed me to siphon off some of the fermenting juice. This was wine in its infancy and my first time tasting it at this stage in the process. I loved the unsullied taste of the grapes and sediments.
There were still round grapes that had yet to open but as I popped one into my mouth the intense flavors gave a rush that can only be experienced. I compared it against tasting grapes strait from the vine and these grapes had already been affected by the winemaking process and held the greatness of what was to come.
The warm wine was tossed out of my glass and quickly filled with freshly pressed chardonnay juice. Nothing can prepare you for this unbelievable flavor and taste. I have had numerous fruit juices in my travels but freshly pressed chardonnay juice is the very best of all juices.
I walked through the racking room where the barrels were staged and ran my hands over the smooth wood, wondering if the wine stains were from the wine seeping through the wood. The Vintner was kind enough not to laugh at me but said it was spillage from over filling the barrels.
The adventure was too short lived but it brought back the words of my friend and it re-affirmed why I get that emotional rush and pleasure from drinking wine. Till next time...Cheers! LD