Monday, October 11, 2010

Update on the 2010 California Pinot Noir

Well, after a day of allowing the yeast to get going and the temperature up to 70 degrees naturally, I finally put the thermostat probe into the must and turned on the heater (an electric blanket) to bring the must to my desired fermentation temperature of 80 degrees. When the must was down to 15 Brix, I added K-Fermaid, a nutrient for yeast that I have never used before. It seemed to speed the fermentation at the end and the result was a day shorter fermentation than I'm used to. This morning I went down to check the brix expecting 3 and it was 1.5, down from 6 yesterday morning. Time to press! So I pressed, which releases additional sugar from the grapes and invigorates the yeast with some oxygen, so once it was in the carboys, fermentation picked up again, with a healthy bunch of bubbles on top. Now I will let the wine sit overnight. Tomorrow I will rack it off the gross lees (learned my lesson on that one with the last batch!) and allow it to ferment to dryness before MLF.

In other news, right now I'm sipping my first taste of Marquette (the variety of grape I am growing in my "vineyard") made by Lincoln Peak winery in Vermont. It's amazingly high in alcohol (13.8%) for a grape grown in a cold climate, and the pH is ~3.27, which is quite low. These grapes were ripe (25+ Brix) and acidic, actually a pretty good combination, although the wine tastes to me a little acidic and thin, like it didn't go through MLF. There is no detectible "foxy" taste common to labrusca-based wines. (Marquette is a hybrid between vinifera and labrusca species). It tastes a tad peppery, but honestly between the hotness of the alcohol and the acidity, it's hard to describe many flavors. I get some floral and some licorice on the nose. I hope I can do better with my Marquette, but on the other hand, this shows that a serious wine can be made with grapes grown in a cold climate.


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