Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That's A Whole Lotta Chianti

Yesterday I finally found the time (and worked up the nerve) to tackle bottling the huge 6 gallon carboy full of Chianti. I estimated I would need approximately 27 bottles and corks so got those prepared. I didn't really know how to get the corks ready so searched the Internet, and like many other things, there were 100 or so recommendations. Everything from "dip them in bleach water", "boil them for 20 minutes", to "whatever you to...don't get them wet". I decided to do what made sense to me, knowing that whatever I did would probably work just fine. I definitely don't want to soak them in any kind of chemical. But soaking them makes them easier to insert. Not possessing manly gorilla strength, soaking sounded like a good idea. And boiling water would kill most germs. So I brought some water to a boil, removed it from the heat, added the corks, stirred them around, and placed a lid on the pot. There. That should do it. Here are the cast of characters for today's drama. The Chianti carboy, the sanitized bottles, the corks, and the double lever corker.

I chose to fill the bottles inside a large Rubbermaid container, which was a good call as this is a messy job (at least the way I do it).

The part I was most worried about, seating the corks, was the easiest. You just place a cork into the slot on the corker, line it up over the top of the bottle and press down on the levers. I sat the bottles on the floor and steadied them between my feet. Really, really easy. And here are the fruits of my labor. I got about 29 bottles all told. 26 to store and 3 decanters worth to enjoy now. I'm sure it will be much better after aging a bit but it is totally drinkable now.

My husband designed the labels but I did the rest, start to finish. I'm quite proud of myself. The bottles have to remain upright for 3 days, then they need to be stored on their sides to keep the corks from drying out. I have 3 more wine kits to make, which means I'm gonna need LOTS more wine racks. I almost forgot, I racked the raspberry melomel this morning. This one is going to be high octane.

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