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.
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.
About a month ago, I discovered that my wine had developed a terrible funk. The smell could be described as burnt match stick with a touch of smoke. This “funk” is often caused by H2S production or Hydrogen Sulfide. This can occur because grapes were sprayed with chemicals too close to harvest, or leaving the juice on the gross lees too long amongst other reasons. After doing a little research I decided I need to rack right away. And that did help, but the Sang/Cab. blend had quite a bit of “funk” so we racked again and that seemed to do the trick! Which is great, because that means I didn’t have to add Copper Sulfate or add more SO2. Few! I was worried that the wines were ruined beyond the point of no return!
Lab Numbers Update: As of 12-11-11, the pH and TA for the Petite Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon blend are 3.44 and 6.75 and the Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend are 3.25 and 7.2. It appears that secondary fermentation has taken place with the P. Verdot blend as the pH as gone up and TA down. But it’s hard to tell with Sangio blend because it looks the pH dropped and that doesn’t make sense. I will have to re-test pH, and TA in the next few week. Hopefully I will be able to test for SO2 content as well as run the wine through MLF (malolactic fermentation) chromatography.
That’s it for this update. Now to think of some names for the wines while they spend the winter in our new wine shed. Will have to post pictures of that soon!
Richard Kinssies presented sparkling wines from around the world; Here are some of the highlights of what we tasted:
Non Vintage Szigeti Brut Sparkling Gruner Veltliner (Austria) $18
Szigeti is the producer and Gruner Veltliner is the grape. Gruner is the most important white grape in Austria and it can make amazing wines both still (without bubbles)… and sparkling. This one is bright and fresh and though it is very dry it is loaded with fruit. The nose was fabulous as it reminded me of carmelisied popped corn! This was my personal favorite and was a big hit with the other “winos” as well!
Non Vintage Henri Abele Brut Champagne (FR) $29
This is real Champagne! Though it may not be the most famous Henri Abele is one of the oldest and most respected of the Champagne houses. The wine is dry with notes of yellow apple and biscuits.
Non Vintage Domaine Michel Juillot Blanc de Blanc Cremant de Borgogne $19
This is a sparkling wine from the Burgundy region of France. It is made almost entirely from chardonnay grapes and has the elegance and complexity that that grape imparts on sparkling wines. This wine could easily pass for Champagne.
Also, we purchased three bottles from their happy hour menu to try last night. The hands down favorite was none other than Richard Kinssies ’07 Yakima Valley Tempranillo $15. The nose had a lovely eucalyptus aroma and the palate was a sumptuous mix of berry flavored tobacco, menthol, cassis with an expansive, slightly tarry finish. This wine is both a great food and sipping wine! A great value!
And of course, what “Winos” evening would be complete with out stopping at Wine World! I picked up a Muscat De Beaumes de Venise, Domaine De Coyeux, ’03, a dessert wine from the Rhone valley. There are two types of Muscat planted at Coyeux – grains blancs and grains noirs. The latter, being darker, have more aroma and flavor. In the words of the owner, the dark berries give body and the lighter ones give elegance. I haven’t cracked this open yet, so here are the winemaker’s notes: The powerful and expressive nose shows aromas of white flowers, peach and honey. On the palate the wine is round and sweet, but not cloying, with a lively acidity. The total effect is fresh and elegant with good length and lots of charm.
This is my last post of the year, but stay tuned for next year’s posts where I will have an up date on “My First Wine“, video from Green Lake Wines, updates on activities with Vintage 2010 @NW Wine Academy and much more!