Monday, December 28, 2009

As 2009 finishes...so does the 2009 VELLUM!

It is easy to say each year, "This is the best wine we have made".

In reality, the past vintages of VELLUM have presented many challenges.

The 2007 and 2008 vintages had their share of struggles and miscues with the weather and the logistics of harvesting. However, despite these divergent paths, the wines in their own right are strikingly similar and equally outstanding.

Although winemaking is never easy, for 2009 there were few trials or difficulties, colder weather and the wine (as it would seem) - "made itself"! The result is a vintage with amplified depth, focus, length and very early integration.

I have never witnessed a group of wines which I have ever had the privilege to make come together so quickly. To fully appreciate the 2009 vintage, one needs to see the progression of our house style with the 2007 and 2008 vintages first. The wines of 2009 respect the restraint of its predecessors but exemplifiy the potential of our fermentation methods, cool temperatures and gentle but persistent extraction.

Now, the entire 2009 vintage sits on its heavy lees (sediment) and awaits its first racking in January. It has officially finished its secondary fermentation. This is where the malic acid in the wine is metabolised by the beneficial bacteria Oenococcus Oeni and converted into the more subtle lactic acid. This fermentation is vital in stablizing the wine and preventing it from devloping any off flavors or aromas.

Also, it is here that we mark the wine's beginning of its maturity. So, the 2009 VELLUM is ready for a long winter's slumber and as it rests we will go back to the 2008 vintage for the much anticipated task of blending...More on this next time!

I hope that everyone can take time out to look back upon what went right for them this year. At VELLUM we are thankful for everything that fell into place for us and for this much needed time for rest and reflection. Since 2009 is coming to a close, I want to take this opportunity to thank those who have gone beyond every expectation to help us meet our winemaking goals...There are too many of you to mention here but if you are reading this - you know who are!

Lastly, owing to a recent trip to England, I want to thank Johan Torgersen and Vegard Ellensen for helping me introduce VELLUM to their native Norway and to thank the charming literati, Miss Laura Hulley for her knowledge on the shared heritage of wine and literature. I was reminded that one cannot hope to create great wine without such a perspective. This afterall, is the core of VELLUM!

Happy New Year to all and I hope 2010 is prosperous for everyone!

- Karl Lehmann

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