Today we bottled a new Bordeaux blend at Amalthea; Europa VII, 33% Cab Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cab Franc. This has been in the barrel since 2007 - Licorice, plum and black cherry on the nose, it will be a powerhouse. We bottled 130 cases - give or take. Because we're such a small winery, everything is done by hand. Basically, we form a line, hook up the pump to a dispensing mechanism that fills 4 bottles at a time, and corking machine, (both of which have wonderful French names and writing on them, but don't ask me). The dispenser is calibrated by the bottle size. One person hands over 4 empty bottles for hooking up on the dispenser, and as they are filled, they are handed to the person manning the corker, then over to the wipers who wipe off any excess wine and pack them in the cases. I was a wiper today. By the end of the tasks, my hands were purple!
It was hot as Hades today and I was glad to be in the cellar where its always cool. What I really liked best was being part of something that will eventually become a work of art to be enjoyed with friends over a wonderful dinner. We took turns figuring out what this wine will eventually pair well with.
BTW - we got a profile in the Newark Star Ledger!1 http://www.nj.com/insidejersey/index.ssf/2009/04/vintage_jersey.html
Upstairs in the tasting room, it's been so much fun to see how the current vintages are evolving. The Merlot is just perfect, forming nice, spicy notes and a little leather and clove in the bouquet. The Cab Franc is at the mellow stage, nice balance of spice and strawberry. The Cab Franc Reserve continues to mature into one of the best Francs I've had....tons of strawberry and rhubarb with a slight spice just starting to develop (and this one is still a baby, only two months in the bottle - just wait until next year!). The Cab Sauvignon is all red raspberry, bright and fruit forward, but subtle. The Europa IV - 66% Cab Franc and 34% - has turned the corner and is ripening into what will be a wonderful vintage.
I was so beat when I got home, it was all I could do to throw together dinner, but I managed to grill steaks. I took Cindy's suggestion at Figs, Lavender and Cheese and put a smoked paprika rub on a couple of T-bones and grilled them, serving them with brown rice and steamed green beans. I paired it with a 2002 Llewelling Cab...perfect age, and mellow, raspberry, black cherry and tobacco......yum.
I'm catching up on old movies on TMC - a good night :)