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2018 Cab Blends

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stickman

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Picked up a 1,000 lbs of 2018 frozen must yesterday, currently in the process of thawing and warming up, thought I'd take a peek. I'm going with two slightly different cofermentation blends, both will be 60%Cab, 20% Merlot, and 20% Malbec, the only difference between the two is that the Cabernet for blend 1 will be from Sonoma - Moon Mountain AVA (27.8 brix), and the Cab for blend 2 will be from Washington - Red Mountain AVA (28 brix). The Merlot is from Sonoma - Pigasus Vineyard, and the Malbec is from Washington - White Salmon Vineyard. The blends are admittedly a bit Frankenstein being from California and Washington, but we'll see how it goes, hoping for the best.

I didn't conduct any measurements yet, but based on the provided numbers, I estimate each batch will get around 1.2 gallons of acidulated water to drop the blended brix from 25.4 to 24.5. I could leave the water out, but I'm not sure I'd like the ABV that high; it's a crap shoot.

Grapes 1.JPG

Grapes 2.JPG
 

CDrew

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That is a lot of frozen must! Who sells like that?

Good luck, will follow this thread.

Will you need to ferment indoors given its winter most places?
 

NorCal

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I would co-ferment with the lower brix grapes, before I would water it back. Assuming you are shooting for a big CA Cab. Sounds like a great end of season project!
 

stickman

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@NorCal I agree, I am co-fermenting with the lower brix grapes, but the must blend is still a bit high at 25.4 brix. When you start getting up into the 15% range it gets a little tricky, I have had some good high ABV wines, but I've also had many I didn't care for. These blends are only 60% Cab, so they may not handle the alcohol as well, I'm looking (or hoping) for more balance.
 

CDrew

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@CDrew The must is from Brehm, a few of us together buy around 50 pails. The photos were taken in my garage which is heated, so we're in good shape fermenting there. A similar thread from 2017 is https://www.winemakingtalk.com/threads/2017-cab-blends.62595/
I read last year's thread, and interesting you think freezing the fruit obviates the need for enzymes. A reasonable thought since it likely ruptures cell walls of the grapes.

Is there a reason you don't do fresh grapes? It seems that would save you at least half the $. The frozen must does look like the equivalent of fresh grapes though.

Anyway, looks like fun.
 

NorCal

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It’s definitely a matter of preference. I don’t consider 25.4 brix to be on the high end range of brix, rather close to the minimum I would look for. Maybe I’ve been bitten by the big cab bug. The grapes look great and it should make some excellent wine.
 

heatherd

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Picked up a 1,000 lbs of 2018 frozen must yesterday, currently in the process of thawing and warming up, thought I'd take a peek. I'm going with two slightly different cofermentation blends, both will be 60%Cab, 20% Merlot, and 20% Malbec, the only difference between the two is that the Cabernet for blend 1 will be from Sonoma - Moon Mountain AVA (27.8 brix), and the Cab for blend 2 will be from Washington - Red Mountain AVA (28 brix). The Merlot is from Sonoma - Pigasus Vineyard, and the Malbec is from Washington - White Salmon Vineyard. The blends are admittedly a bit Frankenstein being from California and Washington, but we'll see how it goes, hoping for the best.

I didn't conduct any measurements yet, but based on the provided numbers, I estimate each batch will get around 1.2 gallons of acidulated water to drop the blended brix from 25.4 to 24.5. I could leave the water out, but I'm not sure I'd like the ABV that high; it's a crap shoot.

View attachment 52473

View attachment 52474
Your grapes look lovely!!
 

stickman

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Finally getting a chance to update; everything was cold soaked for about 3 days with 30ppm sulfite and Lallzyme EX, the grapes definitely softened up a bit, I was going to let it go at 25.5 brix, but it ended up at 27 brix after the soak so I watered it back to 25 brix. The must pH was 3.63 initially, but dropped to 3.54 after adding the 6gm/l acidulated water, only a couple of hundredths higher for the Red Mountain blend. A 3 gallon DV10 yeast starter was added Tuesday evening when the must temperature was around 55F. Made first nutrient addition yesterday, roughly 1g/gal each of Superfood and DAP. The nutrient level of the Red Mountain fruit is ridiculously low at 22ppm, try fermenting that without nutrient addition! Cap was up this morning with current temperature at 61F.

This pail is the White Salmon Malbec just after cold soak, initially you couldn't see any juice.
White Salmon Malbec.JPG

pH after adding acidulated water
Must pH.JPG

Vat and Brutes
Vat and Brutes.JPG

Vat.JPG
 

SethF

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Looks great. I cold macerated this fall after crush (~34 gallons of must) for 7 days before ferment. Excited with the current status after MLF.

Where are you, and how much did Brehm charge?

Thanks
Seth
 

SethF

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I looked at the Brehm site. $275.00 per 5 gal pail? And it looks like it's not crushed?
Your initial post said "must?"
 

stickman

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As part of a group, I've been purchasing frozen must from Brehm every year for 19 years, it wouldn't be right for me to discuss publicly the pricing our group receives. Generally the grapes are crushed and destemmed, but the level of crushing depends on the size of the berries. You may not be able to tell in the photo, but many of those berries are 3/8" diameter, and they will get crushed slowly via punch downs during the primary fermentation, many wineries prefer must this way.
 

stickman

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I've been doing two drain and returns daily, punched the cap a few times along the way. Cap temperatures for the Brutes only hit 78, the vat being a larger volume got up to 84F. The vat is down to 0 brix, the brutes are at 1 Brix, trying to figure out the pressing schedule with the neighbor, maybe Friday or Saturday or possibly after the holidays. The color and aroma is good, no H2S issues, the taste has just a little sweetness left with slight tannin in the finish, I'm assuming the tannin will increase in the next couple of days on the skins.

Cap Temp.JPG

Drain 4.JPG

Drain 5.JPG
 

stickman

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If you drain a pail at a time and dump back, I would say it is the same as a pump over, but if you drain all of the juice and allow the cap to drain and then return, I would say that is different than a pump over. I do the full drain and return until near 0 brix, then for the remainder of sugar, switch to one pail at a time for the full volume of juice.
 

stickman

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Yea, I've got a couple of other dial thermometers, but nothing like the Weber instant gratification.
 

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