Here at Two Hands, we want each barrel of wine to develop its own distinct profile. For this reason we keep every vessel separate until prior to bottling.
The only time each parcel is removed from the barrel before bottling, is once malolactic fermentation is complete. Malolactic fermentation is a secondary bacteria fermentation, which allows the harsher malic acids to be converted to softer lactic acids. Once this process is completed, the winery team ‘rack’ the barrel to remove all deposits, then return the wine back to barrel for maturation.
In late June, with the wines all resting in barrel, the winemaking team and I began the mammoth task of the latest vintage barrel classifications. A bi–weekly process, barrel classification is where we blind-taste each barrel in the winery to discover the quality of the wine inside.
Tasting one hundred barrels a day is more difficult than most people would think. With each sample tasted, our team and I must both attribute a score from A+ to D; this grade will then decide where in our portfolio this barrel is destined to sit.
As each sample is tasted blind, we have no idea of what varietal or region is in each glass. This supports us in selecting the wines that make our Single Vineyard bottling; these are the barrels from the same parcel that rank A to A+ every time throughout the blind tasting process.
The team and I have been tasting together for so long that we very rarely disagree on a score, but if we don’t agree on a particular barrel, we will re-taste it together and decide whether the grade given should go up or down. We only disagree on a few, which is a great example of the special relationship we share after many years of working together.
PROPRIETOR & MANAGING DIRECTOR