Thursday, September 2, 2010

One Romance (26)

The Gew├╝rztraminer had finished fermenting, but something wasn’t right.

Where did the rose petal aroma go?

What happened to the hint of ginger?

Why did the new wine smell like the hard-boiled eggs that sat in jars that Nick remembered in the neighborhood bar back in Brooklyn?

He called Doug.

“So, Doug, I’ve got a case of H2S in my newly fermented Gewurztraminer. What’s the best way to handle this?”

Doug snickered a little, “Welcome to your first winemaking experience. You know that pump you took home with you when you left here? Use it to rack the wine into a fresh tank, but don’t blanket the wine with CO2; in fact, let it aerate nicely. If that doesn’t do the trick, well, let’s take it one step at a time. Oh, check the SO2. This is not the time to overdo that stuff either.”

Doug’s remedy worked. Now it was time for Nick to do some research. He called Doug again.

“Well,” Doug said, “your juice probably lacked the proper nutrition for the Steinberger yeast. Have you ever heard of DAP? You might want to look into using it.”

Nick had known about DAP (diammonium phosphate, a source of inorganic nitrogen) but he didn’t know enough so he did some research and wasn’t sure that he liked what he was reading. He understood the nitrogen deficiency in must that DAP is intended to fix, but he questioned the seeming prevailing belief that a dose of DAP before fermentation for every must was prudent—he felt in his gut that a dose of anything without testing first can’t possibly be a smart way to make wine.

Sure enough, there were people warning against indiscriminate DAP use, and the need for testing the must first, but the tests available had to be done at a lab and Nick was not set up for that.

For now, he decided to forgo indiscriminate DAP additions, but he made sure to keep tabs on the progress of the fermentations to follow.

Fred was scheduled to arrive for a visit in a few days. Nick hoped that his close friend would be there when the phone call for the next juice run arrived. He wanted so much to see Fred get his clothes and hands dirty—he’s the kind of fellow who thinks that gardening his Long Island property means paying someone else to come and do the job.

During their last phone conversation, Fred said that he had deadlines to meet at work so he couldn’t yet come up with a date for the visit but it was just a matter of days.

“By the way,” Fred asked, “have you looked over the label designs I sent? What do you think?”

“Let’s talk about them when you get here, Fred.”

“OK. As soon as I clean up some of the workload, I’ll let you know and we can set the date. When does harvest begin up there? I want to see that.”

“Harvest has begun and it will continue until mid October, so you will surely get to see it. In fact, I suggest you bring some work clothes with you.”

“Uh, work clothes. D’you have something in mind for me?”

“Fred, when I get a call to run over to pick up juice I can’t do anything other than get over to pick up the juice right away. The harvest doesn’t wait for us. So if I get a harvest call while you are here, I can’t think of a better way for you to see the harvest than to join me in picking up the juice. Can you?”

“Well, I suppose…”

“Don’t worry, Fred. The work isn’t that hard, and I’ll protect you from unforeseen dangers.”

Nick laughed aloud after he hung up the phone. Fred spends large sums on designer jeans and snappy boots--the image of his old friend slipping and sliding in grape juice was too rich.  

If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.


Copyright Thomas Pellechia
September 2010. All rights reserved.

4 comments:

Marcia Macomber said...

Luv it! OK, now I gotta go look up H2S and Gewurtz... Is H2S unique or common to Gewurtz fermentation or also with other varietals? Aright, I'll go do my own research...

Thomas said...

Hydrogen sulfide--common when nitrogen is lacking, which is connected to vine vigor, which can be variety-specific; site-specific; and/or viticultural practices-specific.

Marcia Macomber said...

Thank you! So this year's funky growing conditions could contribute to this problem popping up for more winemakers than it would under normal (temperature) growing conditions...depending upon vine vigor et al?

Vinogirl said...

Ooh, it's getting all very technical now...designer jeans and all that!