St Anthony’s Way

St.-Antonius-Weg
St Michael Eppan
iPhone SE2, built-in 3.99 mm lens, 1/800 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20.

St Anthony’s Way, Autumn. Two tiny terriers snarl ferociously at me when I stop to take the photo, defending their territory against all-comers. It’s good there’s a sturdy fence between us, or they’d tear me to shreds. Or I’d tred on them without noticing.

Kellerei St. Michael Eppan Cantina

Some notes on wines made by St. Michael-Eppan, a co-op winery located an arduous 600m walk from where I live. They have a large selection of wines across several ranges, of which the Sanct Valentin wines are the top of the range, and the single vineyard wines are the middle. The quality seems generally excellent. 

2020 St Michael-Eppan Schulthauser Weißburgunder
Colour
: medium(-) lemon-green
Nose: medium(-) intensity, secondary, youthful, clean. Fresh and stewed pear, heritage apple varieties. Lemon, lemon peel. Lemon curd. Apricots. Wet stones. Some leesy richness. Just the slightest hint of cedary French oak.
Palate: medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol (13,5%), medium bodied. Medium(+) intensity, medium(+) length finish. Fresh and stewed pear, heritage apple varieties. Lemon, lemon peel. Lemon curd. Apricots. Wet stones, saline, minerally. Some leesy richness. Just the slightest hint of cedary French oak (15% is barrel fermented). Bracing, fresh, lithe, stoney.
Conclusions: very good to outstanding. Can drink now, but suitable for ageing or further ageing.
Seal: DIAM5 cork.

2019 St Michael-Eppan Sanct Valentin Chardonnay
Colour
: medium(-) lemon-green
Nose: medium intensity, secondary, youthful, clean. Lemon, lemon curd. Peach, nectarine. Passionfruit, pineapple? Cedar, hazelnut, walnut, vanilla. Honeycomb. Butter, leesy richness. 
Palate: dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol (14%), medium(+) bodied. Medium(+) intensity, medium(+) length finish. Lemon, lemon curd. Peach, nectarine. Passionfruit, pineapple? Cedar, hazelnut, walnut, vanilla. Honeycomb. Butter, leesy richness. Some glycerolic richness, smooth mouthfeel. Good example of a rich, riper, medium(+) bodied Chardonnay. Richness and alcohol are nicely balanced by the acidity. Don’t serve too cold!
Conclusions: very good. Can drink now, but suitable for further ageing.

2019 St Michael-Eppan Lagrein Riserva
Colour
: intense purple
Nose: intense, secondary, youthful, clean. Mulberry, bramble, black plum, prunes. Blackberry fruit leather. Pomegranate. Cedar, nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee. Earthy, autumnal. 
Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium(+) tannins, medium alcohol (14%), medium(+) bodied. Medium(+) intensity, medium(+) length finish. Mulberry, bramble, black plum, prunes. Blackberry fruit leather. Pomegranate. Cedar, nutmeg, cinnamon, coffee. Earthy, autumnal. Good on a winter’s evening with a nice steak.
Conclusions: very good. Can drink now, but suitable for further ageing.
Seal: natural cork

2020 St Michael-Eppan Sanct Valentin Sauvignon blanc
Colour: medium lemon green
Nose: medium(+) intensity, secondary, youthful, clean. Starfruit, maybe cape gooseberry. Elderflower, gooseberry. Passionfruit! Green snap peas, grassy. Redcurrant? Biscuity lees, touch of old oak.
Palate: dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol (14%), medium(+) bodied. Medium intensity, medium length finish. Starfruit, maybe cape gooseberry. Elderflower, gooseberry. Passionfruit! Green snap peas, grassy. Redcurrant? Biscuity lees, touch of old oak, sweet spice. Some creamy, glycerolic mouthfeel. 
Conclusions: very good. Quite distinct from either NZ or Loire Sauvignon. This was a noticeable step up from their single vineyard “Lahn” Sauvignon, and I think the oak added a bit of extra complexity. Can drink now, but suitable for short-term ageing.
Seal: natural cork.
Notes from a half bottle.

2020 St Michael-Eppan Sanct Valentin Gewürztraminer 
Colour: medium lemon
Nose: pronounced intensity, secondary, youthful, clean. Lemon peel, lemon cordial. Lychee, pineapple, banana, honeysuckle. Ripe pear. Rose petal. Cream. 
Palate: off-dry (6,5g/L residual sugar), medium(+) acidity, high alcohol (14,5%), full bodied. Medium(+) intensity, medium length finish. Lemon peel, lemon cordial. Lychee, pineapple, banana, honeysuckle. Ripe pear. Rose petal. Cream. Rounded, oily, creamy mouthfeel. Almost seems dry, especially for a Gewürztraminer — sweetness is balanced by acidity & hint of bitterness. Very aromatic.
Conclusions: very good. Drink now, likely not suited for ageing.
Seal: natural cork.

2018 St Michael-Eppan Sanct Valentin Cabernet Merlot
Colour: medium(+) purple
Nose: medium(+) intensity, secondary, youthful, clean. Blackcurrant, red and black plum, mulberry. Strawberry. Charred oak, woodsmoke, cinnamon. Touch of earthiness?
Palate: medium acidity, medium(+) tannins, high alcohol (14,5%), medium(+) bodied. Blackcurrant, red and black plum, mulberry. Strawberry. Charred oak, woodsmoke, cinnamon. Touch of earthiness? Quite restrained despite the higher alcohol: not a full throttle, full bodied Cabernet by any means. 
Conclusions: very good. Can drink now, but suitable for further ageing.
Seal: natural cork

Christmas wines

A few nice wines for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. All were drinking beautifully. The Beaune blanc was a little more oxidative in character than I’d guessed it would be, but I don’t think this was a case of the dreaded prem-ox. It was a beautiful wine, and an interesting interpretation of an otherwise exclusively red wine terroir. The Chablis was beautiful, a good mix of Chablis austerity and fruit richness. It would be interesting to see how it aged. The Cornas was lovely, with some delicious aged, savoury character. The cork fell apart on opening, but had kept the bottle perfectly, and well past the winery’s suggested 10 years.

2016 Domaine Clos de la Chapelle Beaune 1er Cru “Les Reversées” Blanc

Colour: medium(-) gold

Nose: medium(+) intensity, tertiary, developed. Lemon, lemon peel, lime. Starfruit. Heritage apples. Ripe apricot and nectarine. Glacé quince, poached pear. Honey, lanolin, beeswax. Touch of cedar and sweet spice? Mealy, bran, biscuit, burnt butter.

Palate: dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol (13,5%), medium(+) bodied. Medium(+) intensity, medium(+) length finish. Lemon, lemon peel, lime. Starfruit. Heritage apples. Ripe apricot and nectarine. Glacé quince, poached pear. Honey, lanolin, beeswax. Touch of cedar and sweet spice? Mealy, bran, biscuit, burnt butter. Quite rich and round, full. Slightly oxidative?

Conclusions: very good. Drink now, not sure about its ageworthiness

Seal: natural cork

2018 Domaine Daniel Dampt et Fils Chablis 1er Cru “Fourchaume”

Colour: deep lemon

Nose: medium intensity, secondary, youthful. Lemon, lemon peel, lemon curd. Nectarine, peach. Orange blossom. Apricot pastry. Butter, brioche, sweet pastry, sweet spice. Touch of steeliness/flintiness.

Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium alcohol (13%), medium bodied. Medium(+) intensity, medium length finish. Lemon, lemon peel, lemon curd. Nectarine, peach. Orange blossom. Apricot pastry. Butter, brioche, sweet pastry, sweet spice. Touch of steeliness/flintiness. Good balance between citrus, ripe fruit, and Chablis steeliness. Opens up with a bit of air.

Conclusions: very good to outstanding. Can drink now, but suitable for ageing. Just don’t serve too cold!

Seal: natural cork

2006 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Cornas “Les Grandes Terrasses”

Colour: deep garnet

Nose: pronounced intensity, tertiary, fully developed. Blackberry, blackcurrant, bramble. Maybe black plum. Elderberry. Raspberry, strawberry. Brown sugar, caramel. Forest floor, earthy, leather, black tea, soy sauce. Cedar, cinnamon, nutmeg, biter cocoa.

Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium(+) tannins, medium alcohol (13%), medium bodied. Medium intensity, medium(+) length finish. Blackberry, blackcurrant, bramble. Maybe black plum. Elderberry. Raspberry, strawberry. Brown sugar, caramel. Forest floor, earthy, leather, black tea, soy sauce. Cedar, cinnamon, nutmeg, biter cocoa. Quite rich and full, with a touch of jamminess, but also quite savoury. Delicious!

Conclusions: very good to outstanding. Drink now, probably not suitable for further ageing

Seal: natural cork

Two budget-friendly Italian wines

Two very nice, budget-friendly wines from opposite ends of Italy. The Lugana region is near Lake Garda in northern Italy, and the Appassimento is from Puglia in the far south. Both were drinking beautifully, and both might age well for another few years. Excellent value, and well worth looking out for!

2019 Cà Maiol Lugana

Colour: clear pale lemon

Nose: medium intensity, secondary , youthful. Lemon, lemon peel, green apple. White flowers. Passion fruit, underripe pineapple. Bitter almonds? Biscuity lees character.

Palate: dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol (13%), medium bodied. Medium length finish, medium intensity. Lemon, lemon peel, green apple. White flowers. Passion fruit, underripe pineapple. Bitter almonds? Biscuity lees character. Lithe, lots of fresh acidity, but lots of fruit character and some richness.

Conclusions : good. Drink now
Seal DIAM5 cork

2019 Emporium Appassimento Salento IGT

Colour: deep ruby , hint of brick red

Nose: intense, secondary, youthful. Red and black plum, blackberry jam, stewed tamarillo. Dried orange peel, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, cedar. Coffee. Dried moscatel grapes? Leather, earth.

Palate: dry to off-dry, medium(+) acidity, medium tannins, high alcohol (14,5%), full bodied. Pronounced intensity, medium(+) finish. Red and black plum, blackberry jam, stewed tamarillo. Dried orange peel, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, cedar. Coffee. Dried moscatel grapes? Leather, earth. Lots of rich, ripe, fruit sweetness that’s balanced by the minerality, the drying tannins, and the fresh acidity, that’s just enough to keep it in balance. Aims to be a ‘vino di meditazione’, and pretty much managed it. Very good value for money.

Conclusions: good to very good. Can drink now, but suitable for ageing.
Seal natural cork
Blend of primitivo and negramaro grapes

A Bordeaux and a Burgundy

Two very nice wines for a birthday dinner last night… and there were no clashes, despite one being a Burgundy and the other a Bordeaux! Both represented very good value, especially the Clos de Myglands.

Good Mercurey 1er crus represent something that is increasingly rare in Burgundy: good value for money. This particular wine was drinking very nicely, despite obviously still being very young. (If you’re wondering about the odd name… it’s apparently a corruption of the English ‘My Land’, the name given to the site by an English dignitary). It was fresh and lively, with plenty of crunchy fruit, but also has the structure to age. Highly recommended.

The Sauternes was simply delicious and drinkable. Age has given it some added complexity, but really it was just beautifully rich and sweet but balanced. A dessert in a bottle. Lovely!

2016 Faiveley Mercurey 1er Cru Clos des Myglands
Colour: medium(+) ruby

Nose: medium intensity, secondary, youthful. Sour cherry, black and red cherry, strawberry, red plum, cranberry. Rhubarb? Beetroot? Cedar, baking spice, maybe bitter cocoa.

Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol (13%), medium bodied. Sour cherry, black and red cherry, strawberry, red plum, cranberry. Rhubarb? Beetroot? Sappy. Cedar, baking spice, maybe bitter cocoa. Good balance of fruit, spice, and savouriness. Live, lithe acidity, and firm, dark, spicy, structural tannins. Really nice!

Conclusions: very good. Can drink now, but suitable for ageing or further ageing.
Seal: natural cork

2009 Château de Myrat Sauternes

Colour: deep gold

Nose: medium (+) intensity, tertiary, developing. Pear, apricot, orange marmalade, preserved quince. Barley sugar. Hint of earth and white mushrooms? Cedar, baking spice.

Palate: luscious, unctuous, rich. High acidity, high alcohol (14%), full bodied. Medium(+) length finish, medium(+) intensity. Pear, apricot, orange marmalade, preserved quince. Barley sugar. Cedar, baking spice, vanilla. Very rich and full. Very sweet, but balanced.

Conclusions: very good (esp given the price!). Can drink now but suitable for ageing or further ageing.
Seal natural cork. Notes from a half bottle.

WSET Level 3 tasting notes, Brisbane: Sessions 1, 2, & 3

I am reposting my notes from CellarTracker for my first day of WSET Level 3 here.

WSET LEVEL 3, SESSIONS 1, 2, & 3 – Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (14/1/2021)

This was the first day of my WSET Level 3 course.

Note: I haven’t studied with WSET before, so I am just getting used to their systematic approach to tasting wine — so apologies if I make mistakes with the tasting note format as I learn.

Course Induction and Tasting Technique

Wine bottles from session 1

We tasted a few different wines to begin to attune our palates, and to calibrate them to align with the tutor’s palate and the classes’ palates. I was surprised that I wasn’t keen on the Rioja, as I normally love aged Riojas — but for me this had an odd character on the nose (window cleaner??) that I found off-putting.

  • 2017 Parini Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie – Italy, Delle Venezie
    Appearance: clear medium lemon
    Nose: lemon, lemon peel. Pear, apple. Flinty. Simple. Clean, light, primary, youthful. Medium(+) intensity.
    Palate: lemon, lemon peel. Underripe nectarine? Lime. Flinty? Dry, high acidity, medium alcohol, light bodied, medium flavour intensity, primary, short flavour intensity.
    Assessment of quality: Acceptable.
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing.
  • 2016 Foxeys Hangout Chardonnay White Gates Vineyard – Australia, Victoria, Port Phillip, Mornington Peninsula
    Appearance: clear medium lemon
    Nose: lemon, lemon peel. Peach. Butter, cheese. Walnut. Oak: vanilla. Flint/sulfur? Clean, medium(+) intensity, developing, youthful.
    Palate: lemon, lemon peel. Pineapple? Biscuit/brioche. Touch of flint. Peach. Butter. Walnut. Oak: vanilla. Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol, medium bodied. Medium flavour intensity, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: Very good
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, but has potential for further ageing.
  • 2018 Barton & Guestier Beaujolais-Villages – France, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages
    Appearance: Clear medium purple
    Nose: raspberry, cherry/kirsch, cassis, plum, cranberry. Confectionery. Cola. Clean, medium intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: Red cherry, strawberry, plum, blackcurrant. Cola/medicinal. Confectionery. Whole bunch character? Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium(-) tannins, medium alcohol. Light bodied, medium flavour intensity, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: acceptable
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing
  • 2006 Urbina Rioja Reserva Especial – Spain, La Rioja, Rioja
    Appearance: clear medium garnet (aged?)
    Nose: Cranberry, cassis, cooked black plum. Cherry. Liqueured cherry. Dried herbs, mushroom, leather, earth, tobacco, savoury. Prunes. Oak: vanilla, nutmeg. Cola/cough syrup. Tomato leaf? Clean, medium intensity, tertiary, fully developed.
    Palate: Sour cherry, black plum, cassis. Blackberry. Black tea? Leather, earth, tobacco. Oak: vanilla. Savoury, earthy. Mint. Dried herbs. Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium tannins, high alcohol. Medium(-) body, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: Very good.
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, has potential for ageing or further ageing.

The Natural Factors and Human Influences in the Vineyard

The idea was to guess the grape variety, based on descriptions of several key varieties. I guess Cabernet Sauvignon, but assumed I was wrong because it seemed too simple and I normally get these wrong. IT was Cabernet Sauvigon.

  • 2019 Les Domaines Paul Mas Cabernet Sauvignon – France, Languedoc Roussillon, Vin de Pays d’Oc
    Appearance: clear deep ruby
    Nose: cassis, blackberry, black cherry, blueberry? Confectionary. Tobacco, maybe green bell pepper. Black pepper? Cloves, cedar? Clean, medium(+) intensity, secondary, youthful.
    Palate: cassis, blackberry, black cherry. Medicinal, tobacco. Green bell pepper??? Oak: cedar. Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium(+) body, medium alcohol. Medium(+) intensity, secondary, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: good
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing
  • 2016 Stonestreet Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyards – USA, California, Sonoma County, Alexander Valley
    Appearance: clear deep ruby
    Nose: black cherry, blackberry, cassis, blackcurrant, black plum. Green bell pepper?? Tomato leaf?? Oak: cedar, nutmeg. Biscuit? Clean, medium intensity, secondary, youthful.
    Palate: black cherry, blackberry, cassis, blackcurrant, baked plum? Green bell pepper??? tomato leaf. Oak: cedar. Dry, medium acidity, medium(+) tannins, high alcohol, medium(+) flavour intensity, secondary, medium(+) finish.
    Assessment of quality: very good
    Level of readiness for drinking: Drink now, suitable for ageing or further ageing.

The Human Factors in the Winery that Influence Style, Quality and Price

A final flight of wines at the end of the day. Everyone was rather tired at this point, but I liked the La Crema Chardonnay.

  • 2019 Zilzie Chardonnay Selection 23 – Australia, Victoria
    Appearance: clear medium lemon
    Nose: grapefruit, lemon peel. Pear, pear drops. Pineapple? Oak: cedar. Smokey/sunburnt grapes. Clean, medium(-) intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: lemon, pear, melon, pineapple. Unripe nectarine. Cedar? Dry, medium(+) acidity, medium alcohol. Medium intensity, primary, medium finish.
    Assessment of quality: acceptable
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing
  • 2018 La Crema Chardonnay Monterey – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey
    Appearance: clear deep lemon
    Nose: lemon. Underripe necatarine, peach. Passionfruit? Lees: biscuit, bread dough. Oak: vanilla, toast, cedar. Clean, medium intensity, secondary, youthful.
    Palate: Lemon, lemon peel. Melon? Underripe nectarine, peach. Lees: bread dough. Oak: cedar, toast, vanilla. Dry, medium acidity, medium alcohol. Full body, secondary, pronounced intensity, long finish.
    Assessment of quality: very good
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, suitable for ageing or further ageing
  • 2018 First Creek Wines Shiraz Harvest – Australia, New South Wales
    Appearance: clear medium ruby
    Nose: blackberry, raspberry, red plum, red cherry. Simple. Cedar? Clean, medium intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: strawberry jam. Red plum, raspberry. White pepper. Cedar? Simple. Dry, medium(-) acidity, medium(-) tannins, medium alcohol. Medium(+) bodied, medium(-) flavour intensity, primary, medium(-) finish.
    Assessment of quality: acceptable
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, not suitable for ageing or further ageing.
    NOTE: wine details on CellarTracker are currently wrong, the name should be First Creek Shiraz ‘Harvest’, and it is not a Hunter Valley wine — ‘Australia’ is the only region mentioned.
  • 2018 Head Wines Syrah The Contrarian – Australia, South Australia, Barossa, Barossa Valley
    Appearance: clear deep purple
    Nose: bramble. Black cherry, black plum (cooked and fresh), blackberry. Black pepper. Liqueured preserved fruit. Dried herbs. Medicinal. Oak: vanilla, nutmeg. Clean, medium intensity, primary, youthful.
    Palate: strawberry jam, black cherry, black plum, bramble. Fig? Oak: cedar, chocolate, vanilla. Dried herbs? Black pepper. Dry, medium acidity, medium tannins, medium alcohol. Medium(+) bodied, medium(+) flavour intensity, primary, long finish.
    Assessment of quality: good
    Level of readiness for drinking: drink now, potential for ageing or further ageing

All-in-all, it was a good start to the course, and a great chance to try some wines that I usually wouldn’t. Three sessions down, twelve to go!

Posted from CellarTracker

“To occur at all, festivals, celebrations, civilizations must be constructed; sustained by contribution” — M. John Harrison

Roman ruins, Vienne, France, 17 May 2019 14:21
Pentax K-x, 10-24mm lens @ 14.4mm, 1/50 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100.

“The humanity of the world is maintained only through constant effort. If you learn to grow flowers as a child — if you understand how quickly they die without water — you become a better adult. People think of love as a given. Love is made. Maybe it does come out of nowhere but it can’t support itself here, and it would soon go back there if we let it. To occur at all, festivals, celebrations, civilizations must be constructed; sustained by contribution. The nightmare of this novel is that among its characters nothing is being constructed. The only alternative to inertia, animalism and paranoia is magical thinking. Nothing practical is being done. The curve of humanity bottoms out. From here the only way is up. Where its author sites herself in relation to this understanding is uncertain.”
— M. John Harrison, “Imaginery Reviews” in You Should Come With Me Now

Tasting note: 2011 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay

Colour: translucent cherry red, fading to brick

Nose: strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate. Cedary oak. Sweet spice. Forest floor, mushroomy, warm mulched earth. Rose petals. Perfumed. Balsamic vinegar.

Palate: strawberry, pomegranate; sweet red berry fruit. Forest floor, earthy, leafy. Cigar box, cedary oak, sweet spice. Fresh strawberry-like acidity; very smooth, fine grained tannins; both well beautifully integrated. Earthy and savoury, showing good development. Fruity but savoury. Initially it seemed a bit simple and one-dimensional, but it opened up with a bit of air. Maybe lacks some of the complexity and length of his 1er crus, but that’s not unexpected I guess. I suspect it’s at the end of its drinking window. Really, really nice, very drinkable.

Medium bodied, 13% alcohol. Seal: natural cork.

Gavin Duley, 2nd October 2020
2011 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay

Two Burgundies

A couple of tasting notes of two more reasonably priced Burgundies. The crémant was particularly good value, and while it no doubt lacks the complexity of good Champagne (I don’t drink enough Champagne to comment!), was very drinkable.

Two bottles of Burgundy
A bottle of Cremant de Bourgogne

NV Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne Brut

Colour: medium straw

Nose: strawberry, raspberry; beurre bosc pear, apricot, lemon. Waxy, honeyed, nougat. Pineapple?

Palate: strawberry, raspberry; beurre bosc pear, lemon, pineapple. Russet apples. Waxy, honeyed, nougat. Quite rich, but with linear, brisk acidity. Crunchy and fresh, but with some richness. Quite oxidative, I guess. Lots of persistent bead, overflowing when first opened. Maybe not as complex as some (bearing in mind that I’m an infrequent drinker of sparkling wines), but very nice. 12% alcohol. Seal: cork capsule.

DAY 2: left open overnight (& not properly sealed), now at (winter) room temperature (ie about 15°C). Still has some bead left, just. Rich, oxidative flavours are accentuated, eg mandarin, lemon marmalade, fleshy lemon, pineapple, russet apples, lemon curd. Still very nice, actually. Lovely, rich, oxidative style, run through with a lithe, persistent acidity.

A bottle of Chorey-les-Beaune

2014 Domaine Michel Gay et Fils Chorey-lès-Beaune Vieilles Vignes

Colour: translucent cherry

Nose: sour cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry. Balsamic vinegar. Tobacco, earthy, cigar box. Old oak. Green apple? Fresh, lively.

Palate: sour cherry, strawberry, pomegranate, cranberry, maybe plum. Balsamic vinegar? Tobacco, earthy, cigar box. Old oak. Green apple? Fresh, lithe, linear acidity; smooth, fine grained, moderate tannins, slightly drying. Fresh, lithe, but with some earthy complexity. Medium to light bodied, 13% alcohol. Seal: natural cork.

DAY 2: hasn’t really improved overnight. There’s still quite a lot of sour cherry, pomegranate, and some leathery earthiness, plus a touch of green apple (malic acid?) in the background. Better yesterday. Fresh, lithe, and linear. Pretty decent, but perhaps with a bit less complexity than you’d hope for a village level Burgundy?

Growing and roasting coffee

I haven’t had much success with growing grapes here in sub-tropical Queensland, but I have had some luck with coffee. I have a few vines in the garden, but I’ve never got more than a few grams of grapes per year. However, I also have a few coffee bushes, and this year one of them produced a decent amount of berries. I’d made coffee a few years ago, using berries harvested from coffee plants in a friend’s garden, so the process was one that I’m not unfamiliar with.

A short search with Google found some instructions, which I more-or-less followed. Some things, of course, did not go to plan — but then, they never do.

Fermentation

I left the coffee beans overnight in water to soak, and it was subsequently easy to separate the beans (the endosperm) from their fleshy coating (the pericarp).

Removing the pericarp of the coffee beans
Removing the fleshy outer pericarp
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/25 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200.

One of the first things to mention is that the article linked to above doesn’t discuss selecting for over-ripe or under-ripe berries; this is crucial if you want good-tasting coffee. This is simple enough since these coffee beans will float in water, and these ‘floaters’ can be discarded.

Looking for 'floasters'
Note the ‘floaters’, which were discarded
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/17 sec, f/2.2, ISO 320.

The remaining good coffee beans are then left in another lot of clean water to ferment until they no longer feel slimy, but instead feel chalky. In theory, anyway. As sometimes happens with fermentations, this stopped part way for me. Instead, I rinsed them thoroughly and then dried them out under the griller for a few minutes, so at least they wouldn’t go mouldy.

Fermenting coffee beans
Fermentation
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/17 sec, f/2.2, ISO 320.

De-husking

The next part is the tedious part. The berries have a husk that has to be removed, and this took quite a few hours even for a small amount of beans. Eventually I got through it, and then put them aside till I could find time to roast them. I ended up having to throw a few beans out when they started to go mouldy (lesson: don’t store green beans in an air tight container when it’s hot and humid!).

Husks
The removed husks
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/33 sec, f/2.2, ISO 200.
Green beans
Green beans, after husking
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/33 sec, f/2.2, ISO 125.

Roasting

After a while, I finally found time, and decided to roast them. I decided to roast them on the stove top, using a pan with a lid. I found these instructions and these instructions, which I basically followed. Not having a colander, I put a pottery bowl in the freezer for a bit to cool the beans down after roasting. I roasted them over a high heat (or as high as the rather terrible old electric stove I have would allow), until they started to crack again (‘the second crack’). I then put them in the cooled bowl, covered it with cling-film, and left them in the freezer for about five minutes.

Coffee beans being pan-roasted
Beans being roasted
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/17 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250.

Then another tedious step — removing the chaff. I initially assumed that this was the same as the husks I’d already removed, but no. There’s another layer of chaff. This meant I’d roasted the beans a little more than I’d have liked, as they were quite obviously darker than anticipated once the chaff was removed. Oh well. Also, lacking a colander, I had to remove the chaff by hand. Tedious, but not as tedious as removing the husks.

Roasted coffee beans with chaff
Roasted beans and chaff
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/33 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250.
Roasted beans, sans chaff
Roasted beans
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~29 mm) lens, 1/17 sec, f/2.2, ISO 800.

At last, coffee!

Finally, of course, I had to actually try drinking the coffee. It was quite pleasant, but light bodied. Given this, it would have been better with a lighter roast, in retrospect (which is what I’d originally planned!) — it did verge on tasting somewhat charred. However, it was perfectly acceptable, and far from undrinkable. Not the best coffee ever, but okay for a first attempt!

Brewing coffee
iPhone SE, built-in 4 mm (~34 mm) lens, 1/17 sec, f/2.2, ISO 250.

Note: This project was undertaken during December last year, but I’ve been a bit slow to write a blog post about it!