Status Update

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The lemoncello is getting very yellow. It’s looking real good!

 

My two Californians and 2 Italian wines have been racked several times and are clear. The 2 whites are golden and very clear. I will be bottling in early may.

 

This summer I will be doing several kits for fall and winter wine production. I know I want a Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo, Rioja, Chianti,

English: Cropped image of Cabernet Sauvignon g...

English: Cropped image of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Hedges Vineyards in Red Mountain, Washington. Photo taken August 28th, 2007 with a Kodak z650 camera. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sangiovese, and several whites. We will see what’s available. Stay posted!

 

I opened a 2007 wine from my reserve section. WOW was that great! When you can make such great wine, age it to perfection and enjoy it…that’s wine making.

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Winter and Racking Time

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Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than ...

Image via Wikipedia

Usually I don’t mind racking in the winter. Afterall there isn’t much else to do when it’s cold outside. This year delivered one of the warmest winters in history to the northeast. With that said, I racked my Californian & Italian juices this week as well as two kits (Rioja). As I rack each wine, I try a small sample to see how it’s progressing. The Californian Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir were both great but still young. The Italian Barolo was great and could be drunk now. The Italian Brunello and Chianti were also great but still young. Brunellos typically take 4 to 5 years to reach a great mature flavor. The Rioja kits were magnificent and ready to drink. None of these will be drunk yet. I will bottle them in April, freeing up carboys and demijohns for this years Chilean wines. They will sit in cold storage for 2 to 3 years minimum and then be enjoyed. Hears to the great taste of wine!

California Must

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Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than ...

Image via Wikipedia

I picked up two 6 gallon buckets of California Must today from Gino Pinto’s in Hammonton, NJ (a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir). This fall I will do these two, (2) Rioja Kits and (4) Italian juices from Gino’s. The Selection Rioja kits had a confusing set of instructions that ended step #1 before adding the yeast. It had an arrow going to next page and under Step #2 was the remainder of step #1 telling you to add the yeast. Those that have been doing this won’t be fooled since you can NOT start fermentation correctly without yeast! But anyone doing kits for the first time read the instructions through once in their entirety before starting. Think about what you are doing and then begin. Enjoy your wine!

Fall is here – California & Italian Juices

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a bunch of wine

Image by iamvhl via Flickr

I just ordered my California Juices: 1 Cabernet Sauvignon and 1 Pinot noir. They will be available to pick up in mid September. I also ordered my Italian Juices: 1 Barolo, 1 Chianti and 2 Brunello to be picked up beginning of October. This year I also will do 2 kits (Rioja). Rioja is a major Spanish wine that tastes so good. unfortunately I have not been able to get it as juices so I do the kits. I will buy them in September. By mid September the cellar temps are dropping to low 70’s or upper 60’s and that is a great cold fermenting temperature. This will give me a total of 8 – 6 gallon demijohn‘s of wine or about 240 bottles. I did 6 chilean juices in spring which yielded about 180 bottles. That is a total of 420 bottles. Much more than we drink or give away but I am still building wine reserves in my cellar so I can drink 3-4 year old bottles normally.

Mixing Wines

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Cabernet Sauvignon grape cluster, shown by DNA...

Image via Wikipedia

Some of the great Bordeaux’s are made by mixing different grapes together to form a great wine. They often mix Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc together in this region of France. The amounts of each grape are highly kept secrets. I enjoy mixing different grapes as well and my favorite is Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon (50/50). I have experimented with mixing them early in fermentation, later in cold storage and after aging 1 or 2 years. For me mixing them after aging seems to build each grapes flavors the best.

I have a great winery near me called Va La Vineyards. The wine master here loves to mix many grapes together to form very unique wines. I love sitting in their tasting room trying each of their fabulous wines. Here is to enjoying the juice from the grape. Send me comments on your favorite mixes or great wineries near you and what you like about them.

Wine Bottles

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Wine bottles come in a variety of colors and shapes. Usually white wine is in a clear bottle so you can see the wine clearly. Red wine can be in green or blue bottles typically. They block out light which can destroy the wine. The shape is more about traditions. Countries and wine regions had a particular shape that identified them from other types of wine.

Let’s look at Bordeaux Bottles,

Bordeaux Glass Wine Bottles

Burgundy Bottles and

Glass Burgundy Wine Bottles

Chianti Bottles as examples.

Old Style

Newer Style

Winter and Wine Making

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Sangiovese grapes in a vineyard of Montalcino,...

Image via Wikipedia

I am in the north-east and its cold this time of year. Wine making involves a time for yeast to transform sweet grape juice into dry wonderful wine. Yeast needs temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F. I tried making a few kits last year around this time. I needed to turn on space heaters to get the area up to 65 degrees F. That probably cost me more than the Must did. I was filling a relatively dead time in home wine making in with a few kits. I will still make kits but do them in Spring, Summer or Fall. This time of year I rack my wine but otherwise sit back and dream about what it will become in the next year or so. I usually dream about this while opening a bottle of 4 or 5-year-old wine. It is always amazing to me how the wine changes. As it ages it get mellow and the flavors are stronger. Yum!

Home Wine making is all about a craft and a bit of an art that brings you so much pleasure. You watch your Must change into a young wine and then mature into older and older wines. You might experiment with blending different wines to come up with a unique wine. In reality all wine is unique. Like snow flakes, no two are the same. You might drink some wine you made a few years ago and say WOW what a great wine. You can by the same Must from the same country, The problem is the vintage (year) is different and your racking, fermenting and handling is different. The amount of aging and temperatures are different. All of these things cause the Must to produce a very different wine. Although all Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon taste similar, each has its own unique flavors.

Learn about wine, make some and enjoy it with family and friends.

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