Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 2009 Merlot

The big news this weekend is the 2009 Merlot, which is not really a Merlot, but a blend of two cases of merlot grapes with one case of syrah grapes. I got the grapes at California Wine Grapes in Detroit proper -- one of my favorite stores.

This was a big advance for me in that it involved grapes and not grape juice as last year. My little grape crusher ground through the three cases pretty well, but the sorting out of the grape stems took a while. I have a little grape press on order. Hope it is here by next weekend. [My DW has a request in for hard cider.]

The  grape juice was sweet at 1.105 by density -- perfect. The juice did not taste satisfying though. The White Grenache juice for last year was like liquid heaven -- so great to drink. The Merlot will no doubt be better after fermentation since it is not so great today.

The recipe for the wine is:

72 lb California Merlot grapes
36 lb California Syrah grapes
1.25 t potassium bisulfite
10 gram of pectic enzyme

Allow to sit overnight

1 packet of Montrachet from Red Star

The plan is to ferment until Friday, then:

Malto-lactic bacteria

Press the grapes on Saturday, and move to the secondary fermentors, which are glass demijohns.

More: Grape crates have these kitschy labels that the growers must like. I save these crates and organize my basement junk with them. Here is the label from this year's Merlot.

December 30, 2010 Update

I tasted this wine, and it was too acidic in flavor. I tried to measure the pH, and my (cheap little) pH meter did not read correctly. I added 1 gram of potassium carbonate per 750 ml bottle, and allowed the wine to age. 

This showed a bubbly reaction as the salt dissolved, and the carbonate bubbled into the air as carbon dioxide. The potassium ion is supposed to precipitate with tarterate ion and settle to the bottom. The wine is less tart than it was.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Non-Fermenting Sugars

I am toying with making a Hard Cider or sweeting some part of my 2009 Cherry wine. While I think that Spenda, sucralose, is an interesting idea, it is shockingly non-traditional, and I don't really like the idea of adding chlorinated chemicals to my wine.  [Of course I add it to my coffee, but -- well never mind.]

Spenda would work because it sweetens, but yeast can't digest it, so the  wine will be sweet to the taste rather than extra hearty.

The common solution is lactose, milk sugar, which is at right. It is notable because about 35% of the world's adults can't metabolize it, but then yeast can't either. It also isn't that sweet. Lactose is at right.

Another choice is malto-dextran, which is the main ingredient in corn syrup. It has not been degraded enough to ferment.

An excellent resource is this site from Aussie Home Brewing in Brisbane.