Join Club

The Nose That Knows: Decisions, decisions and an alluring recommendation

This column is written by the team at Arrowine & Cheese (4508 Cherry Hill Road). Sign up for the email newsletter and receive exclusive discounts and offers. Order from Arrowine’s expanding online store for curbside pickup or in-store shopping. Have a question? Email thenose@arrowine.com.

I’m trying not to bore you by getting too technical. But it is critical to your enjoyment of wine to understand how straightforward yet complicated wine-making is.

Something to keep in mind: remember, in grade school, the three reading groups? Accelerated, on-par, and the group needing extra encouragement and or attention? Let’s say you were born in the Village of Pommard. Of its 300 souls, the vast majority have something to do with the wine trade. If you are lucky enough to be landed and the offspring of a wine-producing family, guess what you will do as a career?

Now go back to my grade school reading group illustration and think about it. Wine-making is one of the world’s most complex occupations, and if “Jean-Claude” isn’t in the accelerated reading group, Mom and Dad may start to worry. They might decide to sell the Domaine. But there goes the “family legacy.” A legacy can be a burden.

Now back to decisions that must be made, often on the fly and under duress. The growing season determines everything. First, do you inoculate with a select strain of laboratory-cultivated yeast (a sure thing, but it imparts a “flavor profile”) or use the indigenous yeast from your vineyard?

If you work organically or biodynamically, you have been cultivating your native yeast population to the point that it should be healthy enough to carry the fermentation to complete dryness. But there are no guarantees. I think native yeast is more transparent and yields a more complex wine. If you bottle and have unresolved sugar, the wine could become “sparkling wine,” or the bottles might explode!

The all-important maceration time with juice on the grape skins isn’t something you can look up on Wikipedia. You have to make the call: too much extraction and the wine is coarse, too little, and it’s wimpy. So you want to pull the wine off and press at the sweet spot. Then off to your barrels.

Wine barrels (Photo by Vince Veras on Unsplash)

New wood is expensive, as much as $1,200 or more per barrel. Most of my folks are at a 20-33% rotation, meaning you replace that percentage of your barrels yearly. And not all barrels are the same. The forest dictates the kind of oak, the tightness of the grain, the porosity, and the actual “flavor” profile. You can even request a certain toasting level or degree of internal char. Decisions, decisions.

Most winemakers experiment with anywhere from two to five or more barrel makers until they are satisfied with the mix and the results. And you better be friendly with your barrel maker or broker, or you could end up with the barrels that were going to go to Outer Mongolia.

Once the wine is in the barrel, you monitor its progress through alcohol (we are talking about a fine wine here) and then malolactic fermentation. I will explain the difference at a latter-date.

So let’s see, you have many barrels in the cellar, 200? Guess what you will be doing? Tasting, topping off every barrel regularly, and being vigilant. You watch every barrel like a hawk, tasting, smelling, and testing for and fixing any problems.

Wine of the week, you asked for an Autumnal suggestion, and boy, do I have a delicious one.

  • 2021 Domaine Serol Eclat de Granite Côte Roannaise — $24.99

I adore this wine, and it will surely be on my Thanksgiving Table! With 1/2 hour of air, Eclat exhibits a super-sexy silkiness. Its 100 Gamay is an absolute joy to drink. It pumps out ultra-pure flavors of raspberries, strawberries, and mineral spice with a long palate cleansing finish. It’s brilliant!

Cheers,
Doug

Photo (top) by Vince Veras on Unsplash

Recent Stories

Take a tour of the Courthouse neighborhood and explore two local favorites of Sallie Seiy, your guide in the latest Neighborhood Spotlight.

Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

The Arlington County Board and the Human Rights Commission are at odds over whether commissioners had the right to request an investigation into possible human and civil rights violations at…

Expanded renovated 4 BR 3 bath with garage in Cardinal Swanson Yorktown pyramid

The Potomac Roasting Company is a local micro-roaster specializing in artisan coffee. We precision roast high-quality specialty beans sourced from small farms in Latin America that are owned and operated by women. Your coffee will be roasted the way you want it and delivered fresh.

As two former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Guatemala, we founded Potomac Roasting to pursue our passion for great coffee and purpose-driven work. In addition to ethically sourcing our beans, we also donate a portion of our profits to Laila’s Legacy Animal Rescue, a DC-based nonprofit that finds homes for homeless dogs and cats.

Our current roasts come from prime coffee-producing regions of Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. We will be adding new roasts soon. If you are local, there’s a good chance we can deliver to your door. Look for us at local farmers’ markets beginning this spring. In the meantime, check us out now for better coffee and good karma in a cup. You can use the code Community and save 10%.

Submit your own Announcement here.

🎉 Tonight, we invite you to the French Riviera, one of the most exciting places on earth – without ever boarding a plane! And celebrate Mardi Gras and the Carnival of Nice on French soil as we welcome you to a special evening at the Embassy of France!

From the elegance of classical French culture to the most celebrated Rivera nightlife of the 21st Century, experience a special evening of fantastic French food, wine, music, and ambiance.

Enjoy the flavors of Nice, Monaco, and St. Tropez in the beautiful and festive Maison Francaise at the French Embassy.

🍽️ On the Menu: Delicious French food

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Free Right-Sizing Workshop – How to Get Rid of Your…

Cody Chance and Dick Nathan of Long & Foster are hosting a free workshop on the topic of “down-sizing” at their office on Cherry Hill Rd. (formerly Lee Highway) in Arlington on Thursday, February 29 from 5:30PM-7:00PM.

Every great endeavor

Science Meets Judaism: Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Biases

The third program in our Science Meets Judaism series brings together Kol Ami member Jeremy Epstein, Assistant Director for Technologies and Privacy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Dr. Rebecca Epstein-Levi, Assistant Professor of Jewish

×

Subscribe to our mailing list