Harvest 2014 is almost over at Ravines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are the last two grapes to be brought in, and we already have several stainless steel vats of each fermenting at Geneva.
After the grapes are crushed, the combination of juice, seeds, and skins is called must. The must is placed into fermentation tanks for anywhere from several days to several months, depending on the type of grape and the type of wine being made. Leaving the juice in contact with the skins helps extract extra flavors and aromas that are not necessarily present in the juice alone.
For example, Ravines' Pinot Noir is left on the skins for three weeks. The solids will naturally float to the top of the tanks, so we use two methods of mixing everything back up again: punching down and pumping over.
Pumping over involves pumping the liquid at the bottom onto and over the solids floating at the top. The grapes in the photo above have already received their first pumpovers.
Punching down involves pushing the skins back into the liquid. This can be done mechanically or by hand; we manually punch down our Pinot Noir twice a day. Manual punch down is more time-consuming, but is also gentler and gives us more control. In the glass, this gentle handwork translates into more delicate aromatics and layered, nuanced flavors.
These Cabernet grapes are used in making our Meritage. Our 2011 Meritage is newly released and is now available for tasting and purchase. This wine is an elegant Bordeaux-style blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with soft tannins and beautiful aromas of plum, cherry, French oak, and cloves.
Check back here for more updates as the grapes from harvest continue their journey toward becoming the wine in your glass!