Sunday, November 4, 2012

2012 Melbec & Cherry

The Melbec & Cherry starts with a disaster, which was the cracking of a 25 liter demijohn of 2012 Merlot, that leaked the vast majority of its wine on the floor. I am still sick about this, as the glass should not have broken when I tapped it so lightly.

Being too late to get more fruit, I thought I'd get juice to replace it with. I bought California Melbec juice because "Why not make a variety that I'd ordinarily never make from fresh grapes?"

After I got home, I measured the sugar content and it was very low. 15.9%! That would make a weak and watery 7.9% alcohol wine. Worse, the juice was watery tasting.  I think the processor, Regina, added water to the juice.

It is easy enough to add sugar to grape juice, but that does not fix the weak flavor. It would need 4.6 kg/11.2 lb of sugar for a hearty 14% wine.  I decided to add dried fruit after rejecting store-bought distilled spirit flavorings.

Raisin are the natural choice, but I don't like the over-oxidized "port" or "sherry" flavor of ordinary raisins. I bought a pound of white raisins. I also happened upon a box of dried tart cherries, which had been sweetened with sugar. Having made cherry wine before, I knew they had a lot of flavor. I also bought 1.5 lb of fresh cranberries.  They should add complexity.

I took the fruit mixed it with Melbec juice and chopped it finely using a kitchen blender. This will allow the sugar and flavor to get out of the fruit.

2012 Melbec and Cherry Wine Recipe

6 gallon --  Melbec Juice (Lodi Gold brand, California 15 deg Brix, 15.9% sugar)
4 lb --  dried sweetened cherries, chopped (Shoreline Fruit, Traverse City, Michigan)
24 oz --  fresh cranberries, chopped
15 oz --  white raisins, chopped (Sunsweet)
6 g -- pectic enzyme
11 g -- yeast energizer
6 bags --  black tea (Lipton)
2.3 kg -- sugar (5.1 lb)
1 pack -- Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast

I tasted the juice, and it has a strong cherry flavor that I describe as "cough syrup," and that my wife describes as "pie filling." It seems the cherry is overwhelming the Melbec. We will see how the flavor evolves. I hope to finish this as a dry wine.

Now that this is going, I will turn my attention to getting the wine stain off the floor.

This wine ultimately got mixed with remainder of the 2012 Merlot, perhaps 2 quarts that were under the leak-point on the demijohn bottle.

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