We decided to bottle one of the barrels now in January, another in February and the last one in May. This will give us a spread of time that the wine has been in the barrels and how the flavour compares over differing time periods.
The devil is in the detail, so . . .
Five days prior to bottling,in mid January, I used four egg whites mixed with half a litre of salty water to pour into the barrel. This is to take down to the bottom any remaining sediment that may be in solution.
Used 4 crushed camden tablets (sodium metabsulphite) in small white bucket for corks to soak. Used 10 crushed camden tablets in larger white container to flush through the pump and then put water into bottle soaking bin. We are using the pump to transfer the wine from the barrel to a container that has a tap and can thus fill the bottles easily.
Used two crushed camden tablets in container with tap and put water in bottle soaking bin.
Rinsed bottles in sink using bottle brush then into black bin that has crushed camden tablets added. Soaked and rinsed bottles thoroughly, then into oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes. The bottles have then to cool down for 10 minutes or so and then go straight to have the wine poured in and corked.
Changed water in soaking bin after processing 100 bottles or so and used 10 crushed camden tablets each time.
Started bottling at 12.30 and finished at 6.30 having bottled 256 bottles from the barrel before the sediment came through.
We tasted as we bottled and found the wine to have a bright, clear and fresh burgundy colour, there is some nose which should dissipate and the wine has medium length and a fresh young fruity flavour.
Late February and time to prepare for bottling. Used exactly the method as previously.
Bottled 252 bottles, which took nearly 6 hours.
The wine has a bright and clear burgundy colour, this time with no nose and good fresh berry fruit bouquet and flavour.
Late April and time to prepare for last bottling of the 2010 vintage. Used exactly the method as previously as it has worked well.
Bottled 238 bottles, which again took nearly 6 hours.
This final bottling has bright and clear colour with no nose and fresh berry fruit flavour, but is a little dryer.
Next year we will go into stainless steel tanks as I want to have consistent flavour.