Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Call It Aging, If You Will

Hours pass with seemingly small result; yet they are necessary hours.

Same way, months.

This past Sunday I spent time in kitchen sterilizing bottles, doing a little bottling of wines from their secondaries, and a bit of racking of other wines that were in less-than-gallon bottles. Martha was a little alarmed yesterday when looking at beer recipes to find that a porter she plans to make soon will take eight weeks. These wines I was moving from container to container were ones started in June, in July, in August. Since most of the source ingredients grew in our backyard, the timeline might be shoved back even farther.

Red currants seem to have grown in this area for what may be, in human terms, forever. When this house was built, around 1900, woods had more of a foothold; and hereabouts red currants are part of the woods. The plant from which we harvested was one we planted, though. We did so just to the west of the grapes, thinking they would be shaded in morning -- a consideration we are no longer sure was necessary, since for most of our backyard getting away from the shade of surrounding trees is more the issue. Since this is the first real red currant wine for us, it has been several years in the making -- if measured from our planning, digging and planting.

As a wine, though, it is only around its sixth month or so. Almost halfway there, to the wine-bottling mind. Yet all wines are drinkable after first fermentation, if perhaps not quite desirably so. Sitting down to a gallon crock of new wine would not be most people's idea of a palate-pleasing time. Aging works wonders, when the aging is done properly. Finding out what "properly" means, at all stages of the process, is part of the experiment.

And I think at times that this finding-out is a means to age myself more properly than I have managed to do at many points in the past.

Cheers ...

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