Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We check on the wine harvest

We have been curious about when the vendemia or grape picking takes place so today we decided to go for a drive. As we passed the vines we could see that some had been picked but most of the vines were obscenely heavy with huge bunches of red grapes. We spotted some people picking the grapes near Mas Llunes cellars, where we had visited previously. Stopping at Mas Llunes we asked the lady, our tour guide from the previous visit, about the harvest. We were in luck. The tractor had just arrived with a huge trailer of grapes and we were welcome to watch the grapes go through a machine that stripped off the leaves and stems, and then into the crusher. Removing the stems makes the wine stronger and darker in colour. This was different from the way we used to make wine with our Italian friends, where everything went into the barrel.

The crushed grapes go into huge steel vats for twenty days to ferment, making that wonderful smell. At that time the rappa or skins are removed and combined with the stalks to be distilled into grappa. Our guide, sensing our enthusiasm asked if we would like to taste some of the fermenting wine. This was always fun when we made our own wine, tasting it through all the stages from grape juice to full bodied wine. We took the glasses out to the muscatel, which was put in the vat on August 29. The tap on the vat was turned and out poured lovely creamy coloured muscat twelve days into the fermentation process. It tasted quite nice at about three per cent alcohol. Soon it will begin to taste a little bubbly.

As we said our good byes we were asked if we wanted to taste more wines but we declined. I'd like to come back in a few weeks to taste the granache that was being harvested today. Mas Llunes also makes it's own olive oil. The olives are still on the trees right now. Hopefully, we can visit a frantoia to see the olive oil being made.

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