Sunday, August 22, 2010

2006 White Salmon Chardonnay

No, I haven't discovered the secret to time travel--just the next best thing in winemaking. A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I was heading for New Haven, CT to pick up some frozen grape juice from Brehm Vineyards east coast freezer. Between the fermentations, running, and attacking my front sidewalk replacement project, I just haven't found much time for blogging. Since it's sprinkling in Boston this morning, I'm going to sneak onto the computer for awhile before I head into the city for the American Chemical Society National Meeting this afternoon.

After I got home, the chardonnay was still pretty frozen, so I left it in the basement to finish thawing. A couple of days later, I had 3 buckets of juice with pretty decent numbers

Brix = 22.8, pH = 3.59, total acid = 5.8 g/L

Brehm recommended adding 1 g/L tartaric acid prior to fermentation to bring the acid levels down a little. Since I'm planning on aiming for a full-bodied, Burgundian style chard with full malolactic fermentation, I agreed with him and added 20 g of tartaric acid to each 5 gal bucket along with Opti-White to improve the mouthfeel. For added complexity, I decided to use 3 different yeasts and blend before bottling.

ICVD254 to emphasize fruit aromas and nutty flavors.
CY3079 for mouthfeel and buttery goodness
T306 for exotic fruit and pineapple flavors (new yeast from Australia that I decided to try)

I started the fermentations in the buckets. After the bugs started working, I cooled the buckets in a water bath to keep the temperature at 68 °C or below (my current basement temperature). The ICVD254 was a strong fermenter and dropped below 1/3 sugar depletion within 3 days, so I transferred that to a carboy and airlock and continued cooling it in the water bath. The other 2 were a little slower, but were transferred a day or two later.

A week later, I checked the Brix levels and things were almost done. Still have 1-2% sugar left, so I took the carboys out of the water baths for a couple of days to help encourage the yeast to finish. I racked off the major gross lees and innocculated with CH35 malolactic bacteria. I love that bacteria strain because you just add the freeze-dried bacteria directly to the wine instead of rehydrating (one less thing to do). As far as I can tell, MLF took off very quickly because I've got a steady production of tiny gas bubbles in all three carboys at the moment.

So it's a waiting game now until the MLF is complete. I'm pretty pleased so far. Lots of nutty, pineapple, and peach aromas. Color looks good.


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