What do you do with a bursting barrel?

Monday, February 22, 2010

This past weekend, I visited the Hopewell Valley Winery in Pennington, New Jersey.  While there, I noticed one barrel whose staves were heavy with the color of the wine, indicating leakage.  I mentioned this to one of the proprietors, Violetta Neri, and she went over and inspected it, even noticing a drying puddle on the floor.  At this point, she said that she needed to tell here husband Sergio, the winemaker, and then she and I started to opine what could be done with it.

You see, in a case like this, it's potential that some of the wine has went because of too much contact with air.  Now, this doesn't mean that by default that the barrel is bad, or that is isn't, so I wondered what could be done with it.

My first suggestion was to turn it into a sparkling wine, but being that it's Chambourcin, a dry red wine, that might not have been the best thing to do.  Then, remembering something that I have had before, I proffered the pureeing of berries, and then adding that to sparkling Chambourcin.  This, I think, is a great idea.

The next idea was salad dressing, which could be done nicely.  There are some dressings based in wine [and not wine vinegar], and I plan on making some myself.

Following this came the idea of a sorbet.  Again, pureed fruit would need to be added, but it might be an interesting summer treat.  An extension of this would be to make popsicles; there is a guy in D.C. that does that.

And as I was thinking of the title of this article, the old song/mantra popped into my head, "what do you do with a drunken sailor?"  Now, give me a couple of glasses of good wine, and I might even come up with a song to this one.

As you can tell from these ideas that I came up with, this article is a precursor to some other crazy things that I will be doing shortly.

Now, for those of you with a bottle of wine that has actually went bad, I really have no suggestions for you whatsoever.  Sorry.

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