Category Archives: NW Wine Academy

My first Wine: Part 5

Well, after having racked both carboys of wine several weeks ago, I thought it was about time I ran some labs on them.

So I took some samples to school and ran SO2‘s, pH and TA (titratable acidity) tests, as well as doing a chromatography test on them. This test tells me whether the wines have converted malic acid to latic acid. Malic is a harder/sharper acid; think sour apple. Lactic acid is much softer. As I suspected from tasting as well as watching pH and TA’s go up and down, it looks like the Petite Verdot/Cabernet Sauvignon blend have almost completely converted to latic acid. The Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon still have a way to go.

Chromatography Test

After going through all the trouble of running an SO2 test on my wines, I realized that I had used the wrong strength of NaOH, so I’m still not sure how much free SO2 is present. So I decided I will run them again once they are through with malic/latic conversion. I won’t want to add any now anyway, since that would stop the conversion process.


My First Wine: Pressing the Grapes!

After finding a homemade press on Craig’s list, Ella and I press off the fermented grape juice. The large carboy gets the Sangiovese from Brad of Gecko Cellars, plus most of the Cabernet Sauvignon I obtained from Rob of Finn Hill Winery.  The Petite Verdot goes into the 3 gallon carboy with the remaining Cab. Sauv. Dexter helps out as well! Now that I’ve finally added some ML bacteria that I got from Scott Greenberg of The Convergence Zone, it can now do its thing for a few weeks. Boy, does it take a “wine village”! I’ve ordered some more oak chips and few other wine additive “goodies” on-line. Can’t wait to see what I ordered! Will have to post some more lab numbers next time!

Rioja Tasting @ SSCC

A World of Wine in a Single Spanish Valley Wednesday, October 20, at South Seattle Community College. Adrian Murcia, a Brooklyn-based writer and educator and frequent traveller to the region, lead us through a tasting tour Rioja‘s history, geography, and impressive natural endowment of soils and micro-climates, along with the area’s oddly harmonious commitment to both tradition and restless innovation–help explain Rioja’s modern-day multiplicity of styles.

Of the seven that were presented I will give you my personal top three:

  • Starting with Number 3: Lorinon: Bodegas Breton, Rioja Alta: Reserva, ’05, 85% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo & 5% Garancha. Aged 22 months in oak. Raspberry, black tea, dark cherry flavors predominate. $10.50
  • Number 2: Ondalan Crianza, 06, Rioja Alavesa. 80% Tempranillo, 20% Graciano. Aged 14 months in 75% american  and 25% French oak barrels. With licorice, cocoa and raspberry flavors. $15.
  • And finally Number 1: Beronia: Gran Reserva, ’01, Rioja Alta. 88% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 4% Mazuelo. Aged 24 months in French and American oak. Definately the big hit amounst the tasters I talked to that afternoon! With complex notes of earth, black tea, mushroom, saddle leather, licorice, and vanilla. And best of all I saw this one at the Kirkland Costco for $14.99! A total bargin!


Vintage 2010 NW Wine Academy Field Trip to Red Mountain!

Here’s a video of our class field trip to Wyckoff Vineyard to pick about 3 tons Chardonnay and Red Haven Vineyard on Red Mountain to pick about 1 ton of Petite Verdot.

I have some of that Petite Verdot at my house fermenting away as I type!