All racked Up & No Place to Go

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limoncello

limoncello (Photo credit: Shamballah)

I racked my (2) Californians and (2) Italians one last time before bottling in end of April. The (2) whites were so clear I could see through them clearly. They all tasted great. I will bottle in April and then into cold storage for aging. The Lemoncello was so yellow! I added sugar water and rest of vodka and it is now a little cloudy. It needs to sit until end of April. It should get a good yellow color by then. Then I will strain out lemon peels and bottle it. Lemoncello must be drunk iced in freezer for months. It won’t freeze but it will get syrupy and take the harsh edge off the vodka. Enjoy. Let me know what you are making.

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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.

Tis a Good Time of Year

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This is a great time of year for wine making. Not much to do except rack and taste your creations. The wine making process is over and the new wine is aging and maturing. Each time you rack it you get more clarification and you can taste the maturity of your wines. Racking does have a negative side. Racking too often introduces oxygen to your wine. oxygen is wines arch-enemy. It with turn the color of your wine brown and give it a bad flavor if it is allowed. Adding some sulphites at each racking will help fight off the enemy.

Spring Wine Making

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A 6.5-gallon (24.7 l) glass carboy acting as a...

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Spring is a time that I bottle my fall Italian & Californian wines, freeing up my carboys and demijohns for the Spring Chileans. I ordered 6 – 6 gallon bucks of Chilean juice this year. It has completed primary fermentation in the plastic buckets with the yeast and has been siphoned into carboys and demijohns for secondary fermentation. Tomorrow I will check Specific Gravity readings and if ready will add some sulphites to stop fermentation, rack to clean off raw sediment and move them into cold storage for aging. At this point they are technically wines but not very good yet. They are way to young to drink. As they slowly age they will mature and get much better tasting. Then I will bottle them and let them age for 2 years in the bottles. At that time they will be ripe for drinking and enjoying. Here is to enjoying an ancient drink we call wine!

Aging Wines

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This image shows a red wine glass.

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I always love a trip to my wine cellar to choose a wine from my reserved rack. I had a 6-year-old wine last night that was so good. It makes we want all my wine to be 6+ years old but then maybe I wouldn’t love them as much or appreciate them. Home made wines can be so good. You get to make the type of wines you really enjoy drinking. You get to age them or drink them young as you prefer. Most of all you don’t have to pay as much for them. Drink wine and enjoy life.

Dry Wines

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Image of dry winemaking yeast and yeast nutrie...

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Most famous and unfortunately expensive wines are dry wines. People new to wines start with sweeter wines because they are easier on your palette. As you get used to wines you develop a taste for them and begin to notice subtle flavors. These flavors can be masked by sugar in sweet wines. As you drink more wines you usually move to the dry end of the scale. So what are dry wines? Most definitions place them at 1.2% to 1.4% sugar. Yes dry wines have a very small amount of sugar in them but most people are unable to taste the sugar at that level.

You control the sugars through the process of fermentation. Yeast love sugar (just like many humans do). They eat the sugar and give off Carbon Dioxide, heat and alcohol. Fermintation in sweet wines is either stopped above the 1.4% level or sugar is added later after the yeast are killed off. In drier wines fermentation stops automatically when the sugar levels are so low that they can no longer support the yeast colony and they die.

My favorite wines are robust very dry reds with a hint of oak but I also enjoy great dry whites with some oak as well. What do you enjoy?

Winter Racking

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A glass of pinot grigio wine.

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I racked 5 of my Italian wines today. They were bought in fall of 2010, fermented and have been sitting in cold storage after an initial racking. Today I did the second racking. I enjoy tasting the wines at each step as to how they are progressing. I also look at the color of the wine, especially the whites. I racked an Italian Pinot Grigio that was great tasting even at this early stage and had great gold coloring. The wine was very clear and showed no signs of any residual gas. At this stage if the sediment is low, the wine is clear and there is no gas, I mark it as ready to bottle in the spring. If it needs another racking or shows some gas, I will rack it another time before the spring bottling. It is always amazing how the same wine can progress so differently. I had (2) 6-gallon containers of Italian Brunello, a great aging wine with full body and a dry taste. Both of them tasted good and were clear. Sediment was slight but one had some gas while the other had no gas. I will let the one with no gas go until Spring bottling. The one with gas will get another racking in 6-8 weeks.

It is critical to get all the gas out of your wine before bottling (unless you are making an effervescent wine). I use a drill with a long wine stirrer attached to churn up the wine and release any gas. BE VERY CAREFUL TO NOT OVERFLOW THE WINE ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS A LOT OF GAS! Bottling a good dry wine with gas will ruin your wine. It will feel bubbly (like Champaign) on your tongue. Take the time to do the extra racking(s) as needed. Your wine will be greatly improved.

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