I have fallen in love with so many unique scents and sounds at Ed’s winery. Here are some of my favorites so far.
– The fruit in bins right before it undergoes inoculation with cultured yeast; it’s vibrant and darkly sweet and a little spicy to my nose. Even after day one of inoculation, it has a curious lacquer aroma like nail polish or Twizzler candy, which makes for a curious smell that really appeals to me. They will soon develop other aromas that will be less pleasant such as the rotten egg smell, but hey, you gotta get through the bad to get to the good, right?
After a few days in the bin, the lacquer aroma for the Peterson bins transformed into a kirsch cherry aroma with baking spices.
After a few more days, the aroma turned slightly pungent and off. I couldn’t help but be slightly intrigued by the aroma. It wasn’t rotten to me; instead it was akin to durian, the stinky fruit that’s beloved by local Malays. I remembered this from my time in Malaysia. The durian fruit is heinous, but makes a lasting impression that upon reflection is only slightly obnoxious, like a skunk’s spray. Anyway, this aroma comes from the sulfur that the yeast are giving off.
After several days of strong sulfuric aromas, the fruit returns to some of the former concentrated berry or kirsch aromas.
– When a new barrel is unwrapped and its faux bung pulled, you can dip your nose down into the hole to smell the interior wood staves fresh and free of liquid of any kind. The toast is present, but I realized, upon smelling a new barrel, that the toast doesn’t really come to life until you have had a vintage’s worth of wine in there and then steam it to prep for next year’s vintage. It’s as if all that woodsiness and toast is locked up in the staves only to be released by wine interactions and/or heat from steaming.
– As a bin sits in the sun with the scraped remains of dried lees and pomace baking to the sides, I love the sweet yeasty aromas it releases that is literally like fresh dough just beginning to bake in the oven.
– The smell of malolactic fermentation in wine made sense to me after Ed had me smell it from a steel topping keg. It had an under-ripe aroma akin to bananas and strawberries. (There are many young or cheaply made wines that can also hold this aroma for me.)
– As the pomace is scooped out from the press, the unlocked aroma that it emits is incredible – one of the most potent I’ve experienced at the winery yet. It holds an intense musky aroma (reminding me of mom’s favorite perfume, Cinnabar). Inhaling this aroma is like experiencing the heat of a slightly sweet whisky or even cough syrup. Experiencing that aroma was like encountering the ghost of what the wine might become some day.
– The sound of a bung being pulled from a freshly steamed barrel. Once you grip the bung firmly enough and work it out of the hole from all the suction from the steam, an amazing screech emerges like a train engine hitting its brakes against the wheels to suddenly stop.
– The click of the lever on the pump handle of a pallet jack as you flick it down into place to begin leveraging an object.
– The all-enveloping sound that the punchdown tool makes as it comes in contact with the cap and submerges dry grape skins into the juice. The sound of the skins rapidly absorbing juice is akin to hearing waves crash on a shore. (Taka says it’s the grapes talking to us, which is a nice thought, indeed.)
– The sound of fruit falling out of the base of the destemmer – it’s so akin to rain. And sometimes, it really does pour!