Adventures in Wine-Making: A Super Teaneck

It’s my first vintage. I’m calling it a Super-Teaneck. Teaneck is where my parent’s porch and my cellar are located. It’s a blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. IMy best guess and I confess it is a real approximation is that the wine is 51% Sangiovese and 49% Cabernet Sauvignon. I bottled the wine today with my bottling machine and corker. Unfortunately, I used too much wood. My small (26 lit) barrel is made of new American oak. Italians would say that my Super-Teaneck tastes like a “vino da falegname” or a carpenter’s wine. I hope the wine will improve with age. If it doesn’t many friends will be receiving Christmas presents of cooking wine. My winery is called I Due Gatti. I must say that through this process, I have gained even more respect for wine makers and all of the small nuances that make the difference between “Two buck chuck” and a fine wine as well as all the wines in between.

I began my wine making odyssey last year by buying grapes at Corrado’s – a paradise for home winemakers in Clifton, New Jersey, www.corradosmarket.com. Corrado’s sells grapes and juice. They also sell everything under the sun that you might need to make wine. Last year I bought grapes and hand pressed them. This year I was too late and had to buy pressed juice. The grapes are shipped in from California.

I go to Corrado’s about once every three weeks. I am endlessly forgetting to buy something I need for my wine – yeast, potassium metabisulphite, bottles, corks, labels, capsules. I am now the proud owner of a press, a filter machine to rack the wine, a bottler and a corker. Next year I might spring for the de-stemmer. These are the most expensive bottles of cooking wine that I have ever made but I do recommend a little home-wine making for all. I love Corrado’s because it is filled with Italians who miss the old country even though they have been here for 40 years. Max, a lovely Sicilian, always helps me to find what I am looking for and often dissuades me from buying the latest and most expensive equipment. His approach is a more organic one, although like many Italians he wouldn’t define it as such. He doesn’t believe in all the filtering and yeast. For my second vintage, I have followed his advice. I will be bottling again in about three weeks. I look forward to my next trip to Corrado’s.

There are a number of places where you can make your own wines in the Tri-State area. The few that I know about include MYO WINE in Elmsford, New York. www.myowine.com. I made wine there last year with a wine group. The events are fun and if you get a group together you can buy a barrel. This summer another place to make and bottle your own wine is expected to open in New York City. It’s called Citywinery. Check it out, www.citywinery.com. In Connecticut, M&M Family of Wine has a school of wine making located in Hartford. I met the owner at a trade show at Mohegan Sun last fall. He was very personable and seemed to be very knowledgeable.

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