2017 Coming around maybe. In a good way.

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by CDrew, Nov 19, 2018.

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  1. Nov 19, 2018 #1

    CDrew

    CDrew

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    Disclosure: 3 years experience, and 2016 really doesn't count since "mistakes were made" ! Lol.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mistakes_were_made

    In 2017 I made 2 wines, a Primitivo, and a Cabernet. Both of these were made from grapes from Clarksburg, which is basically near Lodi but closer to the Sacramento River and thus cooler. I had about 14 gallons of each and bottled in the summer of 2018 (July). No oak, at all. About 5 cases of each total in the end, with some extras and 50/50 blends. When bottled both were overly fruity, light bodied and just "ok". Clean, but Carlo Rossi tasting. I was kind of blaming the yeast (D254)!

    Fast forward 3 months and the Primitivo was much better. Drinkable, even, though simple and 1 dimensional. Pizza wine, and I'm ok with it since I like pizza. The Cabernet was Koolaide like without the sugar. But tonight, 4 months after bottling, I had 1/2 bottle of the Cabernet, and for the first time, it was pretty good and tastes like wine. Still simple and fruity, but darker and better with more complexity. I'm hoping this is a trend.

    So these are pretty simple but well cared for wines. Anyone else noted similar changes? Or what to expect? I was thinking I'd drink it all as fast as I could since the 2018 is much better(and I have a lot more of it), but now I'm thinking the 2017 just needs more time. But what has me going is that it's never been tannin like and astringent. It's always been fruity like koolaide and now a bit more complex. Is this the progression others have seen? What I expected was too much tannin, with eventual softening, but instead, I got tutti-fruiti, now trending to a bit more complex. I'm still thinking I should not waste too much time drinking them up but I'm more hopeful now.

    I was thinking I'll have a bottle a month and see what happens.

    Appreciate any thoughts, words of wisdom or reassurance. I'm not pouring the 2017 out, at least not yet!!
     
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  2. Nov 19, 2018 #2

    Boatboy24

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    Don't pour them out. They are just barely a year old. How many commercial Cabs do you see on store shelves that are less than 2 years old?
     
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  3. Nov 19, 2018 #3

    Johnd

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    Ditto what Jim said, it's just a babe in the woods. Enjoy a bottle or two over the next year, but don't try to drink them all up, particularly the Cab, though both should benefit from some bottle time....
     
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  4. Nov 19, 2018 #4

    CDrew

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    Thank you. I'm hoping time improves them to status in the rotation. In retrospect, I probably should have made a stab at oaking in some way. Both wines need more structure, and the cab for sure, is too light bodied for type. I'm hoping the enzyme treatment and oak on the 2018 grapes helps too, and I feel the 2018 grapes themselves are higher quality. Maybe that's the really decent thing about this hobby-there is always something better to aspire too, and new paths to explore. But dang I wish the 2017 was better!
     
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  5. Nov 19, 2018 #5

    bathman

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    That's reassuring to hear, I hope mine does the same. Made my first wine this year and currently in the tanks ageing. It tastes like red wine and there's no off taste or anything, but it just doesn't taste interesting - there's not much in the way of fruit, complexity, tannins, depth etc. I have added some oak chips though to try and get something into it.

    With so many others on the forum saying their wine tastes great immediately after fermenting I was worried I had made a bad batch. Hopefully it gets better like yours!
     
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  6. Nov 19, 2018 #6

    Boatboy24

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    I can't speak for everyone, but when I make a statement like that, I'm usually meaning "for a wine at this stage". Don't get me wrong, they aren't bad and can be pretty good, but they have a long way to go at that point.
     
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  7. Nov 19, 2018 #7

    pgentile

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    What Boatboy24 said.
     
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  8. Nov 20, 2018 #8

    CDrew

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    The 2018 is/was good and complex immediately after the ferment. So I'm highly stoked about that. I won't taste it for 3-6 months now. It worries me a bit but I'm hoping it just gets better with age and oak.

    Funny, the 2017 was fruity and good at press but it stayed that way for an entire year! I had hoped for more. Maybe at 2 years, the fruit will fade and the wine will be more like good wine.
     
  9. Nov 25, 2018 #9

    jgmann67

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    My 2017's are still a bit sour tasting - even the pv that took an mlf with no problem. I'll need to test ph to see if it isn't that. Just blended the cab and merlot (since I was going to do that anyway) but am holding off on blending in the pv until I can minimize the sour. It's hard to tell what I'm going to wind up with just yet. But, I remain hopeful.

    Just be patient.
     
  10. Jan 15, 2019 #10

    CDrew

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    A bit of an update.

    Tasted the 2017 Cabernet today, another 2 months later. It's definitely better with more body and typical flavor. I sure wish I had worked the oak a bit more, but it's drinkable and I'll drink it in rotation until it's gone in a few years. Interesting to see it changing in just a few months. It's good now, and I'm happy about that.

    But the 2017 Primitivo is still way too light bodied. Not quite a Rose, but not that far either. I don't think that will change and plan to cook with it and drink it up as fast as possible. If I drink a bottle a week, it's done in a year. Interestingly, my wife likes it, so maybe I can get her to drink most of it. The 2018 Primitivo is on a whole different plane, and looking forward to that in a few years, and for years to come.
     
  11. Jan 15, 2019 #11

    bstnh1

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    I made a French Cabernet-Sauvignon in 2012 and 4 years later it was absolutely fantastic. The longer you wait on that one, the better you're gonna like it!
     
  12. Jan 26, 2019 #12

    Matty_Kay

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    We decided to pop the first bottle of my 2017’s this afternoon (snowy cold day in PA so why not right?), a blend of 75% Cab and 25% Merlot. Usually I wait until the 18 month mark to try but at 15 months it is showing promise. Funny thing is my 2018’s are tasting pretty decent this young (will age atleast a year before bottling), not sure if its a function of varying grape vintages, knowledge gained in my process and experience in my process etc. or simply a combination of factors. Such is wine making!
     
  13. Jan 26, 2019 #13

    ceeaton

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    One thing I'm noticing is, I'm getting better at bottling and forgetting it exists for awhile, but when I do open a bottle, I'm immediately pouring a glass and tasting. By chance a few weeks ago I opened a bottle and poured a glass, then had a "water on the floor" emergency that kept me from tasting the glass for an hour or so. It developed a nose that I hadn't experienced before with that wine and had opened up flavor wise in a way that was hard to believe. So when you are sampling these early wines, give them some air time (30 minutes +) before judging them as a not so good wine.

    I have a 40 month old Dornfelder in the decanter, hoping to have a glass with some eye round roast tonight, should be a good pairing.

    Edit: this wine is so much better than the last time I had it around Christmas. Only difference is a month more of aging and letting it breathe for an hour before pouring from the decanter.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2019
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  14. Mar 6, 2019 #14

    CDrew

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    An update of the 2017 Primitivo/Zinfandel.

    Drinking it tonight and it continues to improve. The overly frutti flavors are fading and some of the peppery notes of the wine are finally there. Interesting comparison to 2 months ago when last tasted. I have 3 cases left and I'm saving two cases to start drinking a year from now, so I hope it continues to get better.
     
  15. Mar 10, 2019 #15

    jgmann67

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    We tasted the blended 2017 Cab, Merlot, PV a couple weeks ago.

    Not surprisingly, the PV dominated blend was a better wine (I’m guessing because more than half of the wine successfully underwent an MLF. The Cab dominated blend still has a way to go. Drinkable. But, not home yet. Oak spirals will sit on the wine for a few more weeks.

    Then, we wait.
     
  16. May 24, 2019 #16

    CDrew

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    Tasted the Primitivo 2017 again tonight (5/23/19). Much more like wine after another 2 months. So maybe 18 months is the minimum before drinking. I'm pretty happy that the 2017 Cabernet and now Primitivo are getting good. The change over time is interesting. Headed to a good place I hope.

    I've learned a lot here and am grateful to everyone. Wine takes awhile to develop. I don't feel like the first person to learn that. I'm impressed that the Primitivo I had thought might not make it, clearly is (making it)

    Cheers to all. 5E7BA30F-075D-43B1-BB3F-C5FEC63DEF07.jpeg
     
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  17. Jun 3, 2019 #17

    Matty_Kay

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    I agree, 18 months minimum before drinking. We’re just starting to get into our 2017’s.
     
  18. Sep 21, 2019 #18

    CDrew

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    Drinking some of the 2017 Primitivo tonight. It's the 2 year anniversary since it was picked and fermented. It's actually good. Simple but good. It's still very light bodied, but peppery and nice. I have 2 cases left of this and it will likely last another year of pizza and Tuesday nights and casual consumption.

    What I have learned, in 3 years, is to go to the next level you need enzymes or perfect grapes. And maybe the next level after that, it's enzymes and perfect grapes! I'm happy that it turned out so well, it just took 2 full years to get there.

    I've also learned you need to make a lot of wine. Even if you open a bottle once a month to check progress, you go through a case per year. So you need several cases past maturity to just enjoy.


    But picking in a friend's vineyard tomorrow all Zinfandel vines about 10 years old. Hoping for my standard 300 pounds of grapes, to make in the end 15 gallons plus a carboy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
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