The carmenere got its own post, so I think the sauvignon blanc deserves the same! We left the juice chilling in an ice bath in the basement while it clarified. That sounds fancy but it really means that I was cooling the juice to keep a wild fermentation or bacterial growth from starting while the solid gunk settled out. 24 hrs later, and it is amazing how clear the juice became. I would really like to improve my cold-settling capabilities because I can only chill to about 45 °F and that's not long enough to really get a good compact layer of solids. When I rack into a new vessel, I lose quite a bit of wine because the solid layer is still pretty fluffy. But in the end I ended up with about 12 gallons of clarified juice.
The juice ended up with a Brix = 20.1 (11% potential alcohol) and pH = 3.25. I was actually a little surprised at the Brix & pH levels because the bunches had quite brown stems & seeds and looked like they had hung on the vine a little longer than normal so I was expecting a higher sugar and pH. But those numbers are out of the desired range, so I forged ahead (if anything the low pH will help prevent bacterial growth.
I let the juice warm up to about 55 °F and inoculated with R-2 yeast strain. This is a strain that was isolated in the Sauternes region of Bourdeaux. That area grows a LOT of sauvignon blanc and this strain is tolerant to cold fermentation temps and is supposed to produce very fruity sauvignon blanc wines. It also can produce a bit of volatile acidity without proper nutrients, so I made sure that the rehydration medium had plenty of Go-Ferm and that I followed the normal Fermaid K addition program during fermentation. Fermentation took a couple of days to commence, but it slowly started after about 36 hr. I had the buckets simply sitting on the basement floor, so fermentation temps stayed below 65°F to retain aromatics.
I had 2 6 gal carboys (one with free run juice & the other with a mix of free run and press fraction) and a 3 gal carboy with just press fraction. The wine in the 3 gal carboy took off like a shot and finished fermentation in about 10 days. I racked that into a 1 gal carboy and then topped off the free run/press carboy with about half a gallon. I was going to rack both of the remaining carboys yesterday, but they are still producing significant gas bubbles. My refractometer says that they are dry as a bone, but there must be some sugar left in the bottom. So both carboys are patiently sitting in the basement while the fermentation completes.