>> Hi Folks,
>> I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
>> about it than he is. Actually, I'm pretty annoyed. It pisses me off
>> that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
>> harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should. It doesn't hurt them
>> any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
>> the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
>> grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then). Okay, anyway, got
>> that off my chest.
>> I'm not a big fan of Rose', so I'm going to go ahead and try make my
>> normal red Bordeaux blend: 38% really underripe Merlot, 38% extremely
>> underripe Chardonnay, 24% totally unacceptably underripe Cab sauv (I'm
>> guessing the quality of the Cab sauv here, but it's a pretty good
>> bet). I've got the Merlot and Cab sauv in the freezer, and when I get
>> the Cab sauv next weekend, I'm going to crush and ferment them
>> together. Instead of pressing right off the skins and making a rose,
>> my plan is to ferment as per usual, but, as per instructions from
>> Thomas Henick-Kling of the Geneva Experiment Station, go for high
>> heat. I'm going to try to keep it at 90-95F for three or four days of
>> fermentation, and then, depending on taste, heat it to 130-140F for a
>> couple of hours before pressing. His claim, and my limited experience,
>> is that heating in this way will reduce/eliminate the grassy, green
>> vegetative flavor associated with underripe reds.
>> Given the high acidity on this must, and my desire for MLF, I'm also
>> going to knock the acidity back a lot. It's currently at 2.93 or so
>> pH, TA around 10 g/L, so I'm planning to knock it back 2.5 g/L. I'm
>> planning to chaptalize from its current 19 Brix to 23 Brix.
>> Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this plan, or
>> alternative plans? Thanks for any suggestions.
>I think the method in Bordeaux is to ferment the different varieties
>separately, as they ripen, and then blend them ("assemblage") next
>spring through a series of trials. Each year a different percentage of
>each variety in the blend will make the best wine, so they wait and see
>how they turn out.
Sorry about that. I should have specified that I blend pre-fermentation
because, generally, I can't afford to buy enough grapes and containers
for three separate fermentations, and am not willing to commit to a
single varietal of Finger Lakes red grapes. My usual hope is that at
least one varietal of the three I blend will be of good enough quality
to make up for deficiencies in the other two. No such luck this
year from this grower.
>I agree with your comments about growers and how they pick when the
>fruit is perfectly underripe and healthy. I've gotten around this by
>specifying in the spring of each year that I will have the final say in
>the picking decision since I am buying the fruit and am responsible, in
>the long run, for the wine quality. When it's agreed upon that far in
>advance, I haven't heard any objections. When I've tried to make this
>arrangement in August or September, I've found some tough resistance.
Yeah. Out here, it's a sellers' market. And in the tiny amounts I
buy for home wine production, no one cares what I want. I've heard
that there's quite the glut this year in California this year though.
Maybe you'll have more luck in future years.
>I have very limited experience with deacidification, since I'm making
>wine in California and we usually have to add acid (except in 98 and
>99), but I've heard that removing more than 1.3 g/L of acid can cause
>the wine to have a very high rise in pH. In your case, that may not be
>such a bad thing, but I suggest taking out a gram, maybe 1.25, and then
>seeing what your pH rise is.
Good idea. I'll do that.
>Also, I have heard that not adding SO2 prefermentation, having a hot
>fermentation with an extended post fermentation maceration period (up
>to 30 days) can do wonders for reducing vegetal flavors in Cab. I've
>never heard of heating the fermented must to 130F. I would think you'd
>get some cooked flavors in there, but then again, I have no experience
>with fruit getting above 104F.
I wasn't planning to add SO2 until after the MLF is finished (after
all, it's not like any mold is going to grow on these little rock-like
marbles they picked). And yeah, 130 may be too high. I'll see how it
goes. Heck, I'll probably end up with cooked (roasted) green pepper
Thanks for your suggestions.