Saturday, September 28, 2013

2013 Tempranillo Wine

Tempranillo is a Spanish grape grown around the world, and it known as the main grape in Spanish Roja wine.

When I got to the store,  the lady said the Tempranillo grapes had especially high sugar content.  I thought incorrectly that Tempranillo was a kind of Zinfandel. It is really a cross of two ancient Spanish vines -- a red and a white.

It is getting late in the wine season, and I wanted to make a smaller batch of red to complement the Cabernet Sauvignon that I made three weeks ago.  I decided to try something different, and I liked the idea of getting a grape where the fruit looked good, so I got that instead of Syrah.

Mine was sold by Colavita's as Northern Special. Colavita says their grapes are grown in Lodi, Woodbridge, and Linden Hills district # 11.

2013 Tempranillo Recipe

108 lb Tempranillo Grapes (Colavita)
12 g yeast energizer
7 packets of Lipton Tea
2 packets of Red Star Montrachet yeast

I measured the sugar content, and it was pretty high at 25.8 Brix for 13.5% alcohol, which is not as high as they were claiming, but still pretty good. At least I did not need to add sugar. The measured sugar content rises as the must stands because the sugar from inside the dried fruit gradually leaches out. Originally, I measured the sugar content at 23 Brix, and it went up to 25.8 Brix in about a half hour -- after a night of fermentation it was over 26%.   What is the right wine word for this?  Robust?

I added tea since I like doing that more than oak chips. I used two packs of yeast when I could have gotten by with one because I had two on hand, and this is the last batch of the year. No point in letting the yeast go to waste.

March 2014: I added vanilla and oak chips to help increase the flavor. I also added Acid-X to kill the tartness.

March 2015: I tasted it, and it was pretty good. I transferred 2 gallons to bottles. There is a little vanilla taste. This wine is lighter in flavor and more like a white wine than the Merlots and CabSavs I usually make. It has a little tartness that is not distracting. I hope it does not get more tart.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

2013 Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a bit of an experiment; many people like it, but I would have made Riesling if I could have gotten the Riesling grapes. Often Sauvignon Blanc tastes too much like grape skins to me, so I will work hard to get wine pressed quickly. If I were smarter and less cheaper, I'd make it from just the free-run juice, but well, I didn't do that.

The juice was nice and sweet, and I did not need to add much sugar.

2013 Sauvignon Blanc Wine Recipe

144 lb Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes* (crushed) [11.5 gal of juice at 23.8 brix]
325 g cane sugar [adjusted for 13% alcohol content]
10 g pectic enzyme for clarity
Rind from three oranges
5 Celestial Seasonings Columbine tea bags
12 g yeast energizer
1 Packet Red Star Pasteur Cote des Blanc yeast

*Top Brass brand from Vignolo Farms

The fermentation ran fast, and I put it in a Demijohn on the fourth day. The sweetness was gone by that point. It is continuing to bubble of course, but not very fast. It looks like about 38 L yield. 

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon

The red grapes came into the wine store, and it is a busy weekend, so I got there early looking for some of those OldVine Zinfandel grapes that were so good last year. The grape truck was late, and they were out of Zinfandel, so I walked through the cooler and found some tasty Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. They looked good, but were on the juicy side, which means they had a little lower sugar than grapes that had dried a bit. On the other hand, they had a good grape-y flavor.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Recipe

144 lb Vignolo Farms Top Brass Cabernet Sauvignon grapes

4 lb sugar to increase sugar content by 3.5%

16 g yeast energizer

8 packets of Lipton tea (decaf because that is what I had on hand)

2 packets of Red Star Montrachet

No sulfite in this year's batch since the grapes warmed up quickly, and I could get my yeast on it on the same day. Also the relatively fresh grapes had no "Noble Rot" which my father and grandfather associated with wild yeast, but which most people think of as fungus.

Initially the refractive index measured at 21.9 degrees Brix. I added 4 lb of sugar and it went up to 25 degrees Brix, which should be good for 13% alcohol. I decided not to try for a more manly 14.5% like I have other years. That is sometimes I like a weaker wine, and sometimes I like a stronger wine. And of course, the stronger the wine, the less I can drink of it.