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Another Award-Winning Vintage
Dec 13th, 2013 by

The ribbons finally arrived.

The ribbons finally arrived.

It was another blue ribbon year for the RootsLiving wine cellar.

This time the chardonnay we made in the fall of 2012 took top prize in the chardonnay category at the Topsfield Fair. The Malbec we made in the spring of 2012 with grapes from Chile won third prize and received a white ribbon.

This was the second time we entered this contest. The first time in 2009, we won first prize for Zinfandel we made in the fall of 2008.

The ribbons arrived just a few weeks ago: better late than never. And although it’s nice to talk and write about wine, I’d rather drink it. Hic!

Micro-Winery: The Smallest Batch of Wine, Ever!
Oct 25th, 2013 by

Teresa and Frank sampled the homemade vino. The grape vines were planted along the fence in back.

Teresa and Frank sampled the homemade vino. The grape vines were planted along the fence in back.

My wine-making partner Teresa did the impossible. She planted eight grape vines in her backyard in Arlington, Mass., harvested the fruit and turned it into about 10 oz. of wine. It has to be one of the smallest batches of wine ever produced.

The grapes she used were Leon Millot, which are a red variety suited to growing in this New England climate. Her neighbor, Frank, had experience with vineyards in Italy and pruned the vines for her.

The wine had a deep, rich color.

The wine had a deep, rich color.

Teresa picked the grapes and then popped them open, using a spoon over a strainer, at her kitchen counter. The crushed grapes fell into a plastic container, stems, seeds, skins and all. She then covered the container with gauze (usually we use cheesecloth, but she didn’t have any on hand, and gauze seemed appropriate for this baby batch).

The grapes fermented for about three days (usually they ferment for about 10 days). The juice was then bottled in an air-tight glass container.

Teresa invited Frank and I over to taste the wine a few weeks ago. Ordinarily you’d wait, at least until December, before tasting the wine but Teresa grew impatient and was eager to test the fruits of her labor.

The wine was surprisingly good: a bit sweet and yes, a little young, but still delicious and made more precious because of how little there was.

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