Sunday, October 24, 2010

Busy Wine Weekend and Disappointed with the Blackelder

My 2010 grape order is coming on Monday, so I've been quite fortunate in being able to spend a relatively quiet weekend at home getting caught up on a lot of wine stuff. Saturday was a day to catch up on my UC Davis viticulture class lectures and assignment. Took a a break in the evening and attended a vertical tasting of Brunello di Montalcinos from Canalicchio di Sopra and Valdicava at Gordon's Wine & Liquors in Waltham, MA. Absolutely amazing experience being able to sample wines spanning the past 16 years and culminating in 1995 and 1994 Canalicchio di Sopra Brunellos. Even though old wines such as this are not my thing (too raisiny and sweet tasting), I certainly enjoyed tasting a 16 year vertical! Excellent taste bud and aging expectation training.

Today has been catch up on wine tasks in the cellar. I racked the 2010 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc in preparation for bentonite fining tomorrow. This should protein stabilize the wine in preparation for bottling. I also did some taste tests on the Rhubarb and Blackelder wines to determine how much I wanted to sweeten this wines before bottling.

Have to admit to some math conversion problems (shades of NASA's metric-to-English conversion issues). After diligently screening for the best taste profile, I decided on 2% residual sugar for the rhubarb. Just enough to take the acidic edge off, while maintaining a crisp flavor profile. So I calculated the amount of sugar to add to the carboy, as well as the potassium sorbate for stabilization, mixed things together, and topped off the carboy. After I did the same thing with the Blackelder, I realized that I was coming up with the same quantities to add even though the Rhubarb was a 3 gal carboy and the Blackelder was a 5 gal carboy. My unconscious mind was hitting the 5 instead of the 3 button on the calculator! In the end, the rhubarb is going to be about 3.3% residual sugar with 25 g/hL potassium sorbate. A little more than I wanted, but let's see how this turns out.

The Blackelder is another story. Frankly, I'm disappointed in this wine. I used Niagra grape juice as the base behind the blackberry and elderberry concentrates. But this has ended up with a very grapey nose that requires a lot of sugar to taste decently. I ended up choosing 3% residual sugar to give something reasonably balanced, but not cloyingly sweet. I'm honestly not looking forward drinking this wine at this sweetness level--and I have 5 gallons of the stuff! UGH!


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