what should wine smell and taste like?

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by cl » Fri, 08 Mar 2002 15:49:34



Hi all I'm attempting my first batch of wine and I'm at day 11. It is a
Cabernet Sauvignon kit. I was just wondering what it should smell and taste
like
at this stage. I know it's not drinkable but I wanted to get a feeling of
how wine should taste and smell at this stage so I tasted a couple of drops.
Needless to say it was very bitter which I expected. The smell of the wine
is very very sour grape. I'm just wondering if this is about right. Before
this I had only
ever had barrel tasting at wineries which was at least 4 month in to the
process. I just want to know that I'm on the right track since I did my
first racking tonight. Any advice would be great. -Chris
 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Trevor A Panthe » Fri, 08 Mar 2002 16:51:37


Forgive if I am a bit circumspect.
You are trying to taste far to early. You might detect some residual sugar
if fermentation is not finished, but it is really too early to even detect
if it might be going "off" --- which it will not be!
To total beginners my advice is to be meticulous in your cleanliness and
sanitising. With kits follow  the instructions letter by letter and above
all resist the temptation to "go into the pot" every other day.
Every time you remove the fermenttion lock you increase the chance of
infection! Especially after the vigorous fermentation has died to a trickle.
And to be honest it is the slow finishing off of fermentation that is
important in reducing residual sugars to a minimum.
--
Trevor A Panther
In South Yorkshire, England
This message has been checked for all known viruses.
Any views expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent
those of any associated organisation.

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by cl » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 00:57:10


Thanks for the advice. I have been very meticulous with the cleanliness. I
actually am following advice from many books more then the directions of the
kit. I am especially following the advice in Jeff Cox's book. Some books
even describe primary fermentation in open vats without airlocks and
vigorously stirring three times a day. What I did was stir it for 2 minutes
each day and then airlock it again. Anyway, I did my first racking last
night when the primary stopped at the S.G was at 1.008.

The reason I tasted it (which really wasn't a tasting more like putting it
to my lips and then tasting what was on my lips) was curiosity of the stage.
I like the quote in Cox's book "Sample it as would castor oil".

But for all the books I have read and info online, I have yet to read what
the wine should smell like at this stage if things are going right. I have
read alot about bad smells, vinegar, rotten eggs, geraniums, etc., which I
have none of. My wine smells very sour grape. I'm just wondering if this is
right at this stage?



Quote:
> Forgive if I am a bit circumspect.
> You are trying to taste far to early. You might detect some residual sugar
> if fermentation is not finished, but it is really too early to even detect
> if it might be going "off" --- which it will not be!
> To total beginners my advice is to be meticulous in your cleanliness and
> sanitising. With kits follow  the instructions letter by letter and above
> all resist the temptation to "go into the pot" every other day.
> Every time you remove the fermenttion lock you increase the chance of
> infection! Especially after the vigorous fermentation has died to a
trickle.
> And to be honest it is the slow finishing off of fermentation that is
> important in reducing residual sugars to a minimum.
> --
> Trevor A Panther
> In South Yorkshire, England
> This message has been checked for all known viruses.
> Any views expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent
> those of any associated organisation.

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Jack Kell » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 06:52:39


Quote:
> Some books even describe primary fermentation in open vats without airlocks
> and vigorously stirring three times a day.

There are two schools of thought expressed on this newsgroup about
this subject.  One school (of which I am a member) recognizes that
yeast need plenty of oxygen early on to propagate explosively from a
few hundred thousand cells in the batch to a few million cells per
drop.  Open vats, covered with tight-woven sanitized cloth such as
muslin, allow that oxygen in while presenting a reasonable barrier to
airborne contaminates.  The stirring need not be vigorous or
prolonged.  You just want to circulate yeast on the bottom upward so
they too can get some oxygen and go about budding as rapidly as
possible.  The other school doesn't want any outside air to enter the
primary and so they slap an airlock on top and deprive their yeast of
much-needed oxygen.  I think they are sacrificing rapid and healthy
propagation for unnecessary quarantine, but at least they are not
exposing their must to any bad bugs.

Quote:
> What I did was stir it for 2 minutes each day and then airlock it again.

You seem to have taken a middle road, quarantining your must under an
airlock and then breaking quarantine for two minutes a day to stir.  I
would think 20-30 seconds would be enough.

Quote:
> The reason I tasted it (which really wasn't a tasting more like putting it
> to my lips and then tasting what was on my lips) was curiosity of the stage.

No harm done.  You satisfied your curiosity but didn't learn anything
because there is really nothing to learn at this young stage except
the must is fermenting.

Quote:
> But for all the books I have read and info online, I have yet to read what
> the wine should smell like at this stage if things are going right.

Well, the reason you haven't read that anywhere is because there isn't
an answer.  The smell of fermenting must is as varied as there are
grape varieties, ripeness of grapes, vintages, yeast strains, and
temperature gradients.  Every batch is going to smell just a little
different, and if you get into making fruit, berry and vegetable
wines, the differences will increase dramatically.  There is no
"right" smell at this stage, and I echo Trevor's observation that it
is probably too early to even detect a bad smell as it will be masked
by the fragrance of fermenting must.

You have a good, inquisitive attitude.  That's good.  Hang in there.
The first batch is always the most nerve-wracking, but usually turns
out very well.  But for heaven's sake, let it age.  It is, after all,
a cab.

Jack Keller, The Winemaking Home Page
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by cl » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 14:58:17


Thanks for all your comments. Actually I'm going to be quite patient with
this. In fact I don't plan to follow the kit instructions of bottling at day
45-60. From everything I have read that seems crazy! I figure at least 8-9
months if not longer.

I just wasn't sure when you could tell if this are starting to go bad or
not. It sounds like I will not know for a while. I'm glad I found this
newsgroup, I have already learn much just by reading the last two months
worth of posts.

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Jack Kell » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 22:36:27


Quote:
>I have already learn much just by reading the last two months worth of posts.

That's what this newsgroup is all about.  Welcome to winemaking.

Jack Keller, The Winemaking Home Page
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Jim Mora » Sun, 10 Mar 2002 11:34:44


Speaking of all this, I have a similar question. My first kit wine is
approx, one month old, and I just completed step three of Brew King
instructions "stabilizing". I measured gravity before adding stabilizers and
"chitosan". Being a brewer, of course I tasted the sample from test tube.
What concerns me is this, the "dryness" of the wine at this stage. Having
never made wine, I'm not sure what to expect. OG was 1.079 and final was
0.089. Is this unusual?  And will this apparent level of dryness taste
"mellow" with some age? Seems kinda "puckerish" now.

I'm probably just worrying prematurely, but I'm still curious.  Cheers, Jim

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Trevor A Panthe » Sun, 10 Mar 2002 11:54:55


Yes you are worrying prematurely --     :-)
You dont say which wine it is but if it is a red then dont worry -- it's
meant to be dry and I often ferment out to 0.990 ( I presume you meant a
final SG of 0.989 )
Please do age it for as long as you can in bulk before you bottle -- and at
least 3 months -- by which time it will have mellowed out amazingly! If you
age it for longer ( as I do ) I would add further campden tablet ( 1 per
gallon )
--
Trevor A Panther
In South Yorkshire, England
This message has been checked for all known viruses.
Any views expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent
those of any associated organisation.


<snip> <snip>

Quote:

> I'm probably just worrying prematurely, but I'm still curious.  Cheers,
Jim

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Jim Mora » Sun, 10 Mar 2002 21:55:43


Thanks for the reassurance Trevor. I was misinterpreting my hydrometer as
you noted. Being a beer guy I'm not used to seeing the whole thing sink like
that. I'll try to keep in carboy as long as possible, before bottling. Are
campden tablets the same as the ingredients I added from kit? Sorbate and
metabisulfite?
Thanks again for the encouragement, Jim
 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Greg Coo » Sun, 10 Mar 2002 23:35:07



Quote:

> Thanks for the reassurance Trevor. I was misinterpreting my hydrometer as
> you noted. Being a beer guy I'm not used to seeing the whole thing sink like
> that. I'll try to keep in carboy as long as possible, before bottling. Are
> campden tablets the same as the ingredients I added from kit? Sorbate and
> metabisulfite?
> Thanks again for the encouragement, Jim

Campden tablets are a tablet form of metabisulfite

----Greg

http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/instruct/grcook/wine/

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Tom » Mon, 11 Mar 2002 03:55:21



Quote:
> Are campden tablets the same as the ingredients I added from kit? Sorbate
and
> metabisulfite?

Campden is sodium metabisulfite with some inert filler/binder.  They do not
contain sorbate.

If the wine finishes dry you don't need sorbate in it.

Tom S

 
 
 

what should wine smell and taste like?

Post by Jim Mora » Tue, 12 Mar 2002 00:04:06


Thanks guys.  Jim