Harvest has actually been happening for a few weeks, hence no blog posts recently. Things are starting to get a bit quieter now so I should have the chance to get you all caught up with what has been happening.
We have a few indigenous grape varieties out here, but the one that is most important for this blog is Arinto dos Açores. This probably accounts for around 85% of our production here and is likely to account for the majority of the wine I make for Cunning Anchovy.
Arinto is not a grape variety I was familiar with before coming here but it makes excellent white wines reaching good levels of sugar and flavour maturity (it will make a wine of around 12 to 13% alcohol normally) with an excellent balance of acidity which is particularly desirable in white wine.
I’ve also noticed, since we started crushing and destemming the fruit, that Arinto gives off a very pleasant and yet very delicate scent of roses as it is being crushed. As I say, it’s a very delicate aroma so we shall have to see if it remains in the finished wine. I have certainly been trying hard to preserve it…
A feature that enters into a lot of wines from this region is the salt wind that I mentioned in my previous post. This salinity persists throughout the winemaking process so that you end up with fresh wines having a very elegant mineral, salt finish.
It especially amazing in white wines and I was delighted upon tasting this effect here. For me, this is incredibly exciting. A lot of wine nowadays can have a certain similarity because of a standardisation of production methods and a spread of internationally recognised varieties. Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to really identify where a wine has come from. The wines we are making on Pico have an absolute, undeniable sense of place. They also taste fantastic and go great with roast octopus (my current favourite meal out here).
This saline finish fits perfectly with the theme of Anchovies so I’m glad to be making a white wine here. As this is a larger winery than the one I worked at in the Priorat (although it’s still tiny by most international standards), I have been busy overseeing all the winemaking here, not just a few tanks.
This has worked out well for me as the winery is very innovative and we have been experimenting with lots of interesting techniques on both white and red. At the end of harvest I will be making a blend from various batches to make wines for them in order to maintain their style from previous years and also to help them create a new premium white wine.
I have been making various tanks of white wine in differing styles, using varied techniques in order to have a large choice from which to create individual wines. Even small amounts of different styles can have quite a significant effect on the final wine.
In the next post I will describe “classic” white wine making so that then you can see the difference in some of the winemaking techniques we are using here.
Some of the techniques we have used are quite traditional such as destemming grapes by hand and crushing them with feet (mine to be precise). So, as a final treat, here is a picture of my feet!
Tchau for now