Thin tasting merlot

Thin tasting merlot

Post by Hal Merril » Thu, 01 Aug 1996 04:00:00



Quote:

> Last October I bought 72 lbs of CA merlot, made about 5 galons with a
> Montrachet yeast. I racked a couple of times and added campden tablets. I
> tasted this wine a couple of weeks ago, and was very disappointed to find
> that it didn't have much flavor.

> It doesn't have any off flavors, the color is intense, but there's not
> much flavor.

> I think this is due to my storing the carboy in my apartment in nyc where
> it has undoubtedly hit 80 degrees several times. I know this is a bad
> idea, but is this high temperature storage what stole the flavor?

> Thanks

> David Cowan


David,

Storing the wine at ideal temperatures is important, but the
lack of flavor could also be a result of a number of other
factors:

- Time of picking.  The best wineries are timing their picking
  down to the hour, practically.  Some are picking at night
  to reduce deterioration between the vineyard and crushing.
  From California to New York, and under what conditions?
  Could have been over-ripe to begin with.  If they wait
  too long, the acid level drops too low.

- Climate.  California has 5 different general classifications
  of climate, and within these, many micro climates.  Merlot
  grown in a climate too warm will not have the flavor of
  that grown in the cooler climate.

- Soil/Growing conditions.  Lots of irrigation water will
  certainly increase yields but will generally result in
  a decrease in flavor.   And the same (generally) for
  fertilizers, after a certain point.

- Fermentation Temperature.  I've been finding out that
  higher fermentation temps will result in loss of flavor.
  I've also been reading about how most of the successful
  wineries are controlling their fermentation temps very
  precisely, with steel water jackets around the steel
  fermentation tanks.

Unfortunately we don't have much control over these first
three factors, but I'm thinking next time maybe I can set
my carboys in a tub of cool water to keep the temp down.  I've
had the same problem earlier this year, no flavor to speak
of, and i think it was from too high of a fermentation
temperature.  Something to learn every year.

Let me know if you narrow it down to a certain factor, I'm
interested.

Hal Merrill - Seattle, Washington

 
 
 

Thin tasting merlot

Post by Cowa » Thu, 01 Aug 1996 04:00:00


Last October I bought 72 lbs of CA merlot, made about 5 galons with a
Montrachet yeast. I racked a couple of times and added campden tablets. I
tasted this wine a couple of weeks ago, and was very disappointed to find
that it didn't have much flavor.

It doesn't have any off flavors, the color is intense, but there's not
much flavor.

I think this is due to my storing the carboy in my apartment in nyc where
it has undoubtedly hit 80 degrees several times. I know this is a bad
idea, but is this high temperature storage what stole the flavor?

Thanks

David Cowan


 
 
 

Thin tasting merlot

Post by Daniel Alfie » Fri, 02 Aug 1996 04:00:00


In article


 ...I tasted this wine a couple of weeks ago, and was very disappointed
to find that it didn't have much flavor...

Quote:
>> I think this is due to my storing the carboy in my apartment in nyc

where it has undoubtedly hit 80 degrees several times. I know this is a
bad idea, but is this high temperature storage what stole the flavor?

Quote:
>> Thanks
>> David Cowan

>David,

>Storing the wine at ideal temperatures is important, but the
>lack of flavor could also be a result of a number of other
>factors: ...

>..., but I'm thinking next time maybe I can set
>my carboys in a tub of cool water to keep the temp down.  I've
>had the same problem earlier this year, no flavor to speak
>of, and i think it was from too high of a fermentation
>temperature.  Something to learn every year.
...
>Hal Merrill - Seattle, Washington

I have no experience with Merlot and I would need to know more about the
process used before and during fermentation. But for the cooling: would
it work to place in the fermenting must some plastic containers full of
ice? It should be easy to fill these with water and freeze before use.
They can also be taken out when the must temperature reaches the desired
level. Other comments?
Giovanni.
 
 
 

Thin tasting merlot

Post by Hal Merril » Fri, 02 Aug 1996 04:00:00



Quote:
> In article



>  ...I tasted this wine a couple of weeks ago, and was very disappointed
> to find that it didn't have much flavor...

> >> I think this is due to my storing the carboy in my apartment in nyc
> where it has undoubtedly hit 80 degrees several times. I know this is a
> bad idea, but is this high temperature storage what stole the flavor?

> >> Thanks

> >> David Cowan

> >David,

> >Storing the wine at ideal temperatures is important, but the
> >lack of flavor could also be a result of a number of other
> >factors: ...

> >..., but I'm thinking next time maybe I can set
> >my carboys in a tub of cool water to keep the temp down.  I've
> >had the same problem earlier this year, no flavor to speak
> >of, and i think it was from too high of a fermentation
> >temperature.  Something to learn every year.
> ...
> >Hal Merrill - Seattle, Washington

> I have no experience with Merlot and I would need to know more about the
> process used before and during fermentation. But for the cooling: would
> it work to place in the fermenting must some plastic containers full of
> ice? It should be easy to fill these with water and freeze before use.
> They can also be taken out when the must temperature reaches the desired
> level. Other comments?
> Giovanni.

I would be very hesitant to introduce anything out of the freezer
into the must, as the freezer (even a clean one) is probably one
of the most contaminated places in the house.  I think a tub of
water surrounding the primary vessel (bucket) would be sufficient
as you could add cool water daily to maintain the temperature.
70's (F) for the reds and recently, 50's (F) for whites, and
some even lower.  I haven't tried this yet, so it might
want some more research.

As to the harvest, he might do well to contact some of the
growers upstate there (NY), and actually pick the grapes
himself.  There are some growers here (Washington) that sell
to home winemakers.  You can call them up and they will tell
you the sugar level and acid levels right over the phone,
and then you can decide when to pick.  Actually I think
picking is half the fun.

I'm afraid they will be in short supply here this year due to
the freeze.

Hal

 
 
 

Thin tasting merlot

Post by John R. Prath » Tue, 06 Aug 1996 04:00:00




Quote:

>Last October I bought 72 lbs of CA merlot, made about 5 galons with a
>Montrachet yeast. I racked a couple of times and added campden tablets. I
>tasted this wine a couple of weeks ago, and was very disappointed to find
>that it didn't have much flavor.

>It doesn't have any off flavors, the color is intense, but there's not
>much flavor.

>I think this is due to my storing the carboy in my apartment in nyc where
>it has undoubtedly hit 80 degrees several times. I know this is a bad
>idea, but is this high temperature storage what stole the flavor?

My understanding is that although Merlot is an intensly dark grape it is in fact
quite low in tannin and other acids.  Often Merlot can be a very flat,
uninterresting wine unless prepared properly.  Since there are no off flavors I
really doubt that you damaged the wine.  You just had some really boring grapes.

One vintner said he liked to add tannin to his merlot to give the wine a bit of
burgundy appeal.  Sorry, I have no personnal experience, just discussions last
year about the recent popularity of the grape.

It seems that the light flavor of the wine attracts many women.  The lighter
flavor linked to the beautiful, burgundy like, red color sells the wine.  I have
personally tasted Merlots that were almost flavorless.  Others closely resembled
a light burgundy.  The later possibly a host for the addition of tannin.