Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Into the cider barrel

Each year around this time I take the cider wine out of the carboy(s), where it may still be fermenting a little, and siphon it into an oak barrel to age it for a few months and give it a slightly oaky taste. And so today I did that, with the wine still bubbling to the top a little. When I'm able to keep the carboys down cellar here all year the fermentation is very slow, which is good, stopping in the winter when the temperature drops below about 48 degrees F. In some years I add a bit of sugar when transfering it to the oak barrel, but when I tasted the wine it didn't seem to need any more sugar, either for further fermentation or for taste. I prefer it dry anyway, but not still--and with it still fermenting a bit, it probably won't be still at bottling time either. As with wine from grapes, the quality and taste vary from one year to the next. 2002, 2003, and 2004 were very good; 1997 excellent; 2005 and 2006 not so good. We'll see what 2007 is like when I bottle it in September, but so far I would say it's good, not very good, and not excellent.

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