Chapter 4: Changes

28th of September

´Now it is true: we are at the heart of the harvest, with white grapes arriving to the winery. This is a record in Pago del Vicario! Sauvignon blanc picked up between the 24th and 26th of September, when normally white grapes are harvested between the last week of August and the first of September. 
Inside the winery, the activity is very intense. Imma, our student trainee, and I, the first thing we do when we arrive to the winery early in the morning… wait because, have I already told you that the harvest starts at 6:00 am for the grape to be the freshest possible? At 12 in the night, grapes are still hot from the warmth of the day (like when you swim in a pool at that time; there is when the grape is at its hottest point). People talk a lot about night harvest but the truth is that between 6:00 and 13:00 grapes are fresher than in any other moment of the day.

1st of October



Susana has came to the office to pick me up. I did not expected her; it is after her email on the 28th of September that we have not spoken. She is going to pick up some samples of the grapes that are lacking. In note down here: Van a recoger muestras de uvas que faltan. Anoto:

Tempranillo 2.

It is right, tempranillo 2. This is the name of the parcel that will be employed to produce 50-50. Contrary to the previous tempranillo parcels we have harvested, this is a very mature parcel. In this way, the tannins will provide less greener flavours. I can experience grape changes from the last time I tasted tempranillo; the life of the grape is so intense! It is incredible how much these vary in such a short time period.

Now it present a more dehydrated aspect. The expected degree of the wines depends on the amount of sugar grapes contain. For  17,5 grams of sugar in a most liter, is translated in 1% of alcohol volume (1 degree). Susana confirms that the grape is ready. If the analysis are fine, the parcel will be harvested tomorrow.

Petit Verdot

What concerns to Petit Verdot,  while Susana pick the fruits and put these in the bag, she tells me a bit about its origin; this variety grows in France and its name comes from the fact that, in its motherland, grapes tend to be very small. In Spain, this grape type has addapted incredibly good and it size is a bit bigger.

Cabernet Sauvignon

We head to Cabernet Sauvignon parcels. Right after steping out of the car I can perceive a sort of green pepper smell. This is due to the pyrazines; this parcel needs more ripenning time for this aroma to turn into red pepper.

Tanks review

When we came back to the winery, I take the opportunity to review the tanks.

  • Yesterday Petit Verdot completely harvested. Now in the wnery there are 2 tanks of this grapes macerating. These are going to be pumped and we will see if grapes are ready to be bled.
  • Chardonnay; there are other 2 tanks. A sudden decision is taken for one of the tanks to be used for Corte Dulce wine. Thus, we need to bleed one of the tanks to stop the fermentation proces. We procede to cool the tank in an attempt to stop it.
  • Tomorrow, tempranillo 2 will be harvested, and it will be used to elaborate our red wines portfolio.
  • A bit of Graciano: a grape from Rioja, that in our land, it has perfectly adapted. It provides very fresh wines, with an intens blueish color, and diverse aromas, very differnt from the ones we are used to in the rest of our grapes: species, red berry tea notes, and blueberries.
  • We have harvested Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and part of Merlot too.

Harvest is reaching its end. I better rush to see all the process, including the operations at the winery, before it ends.

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