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2020 Cab Blend

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stickman

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Just picked up 500 Lbs of must from the freezer, it will be a few days before it completely thaws. My posts are getting boring doing the same thing, but I've been enjoying this type of Cab, Merlot, and Malbec blend. The following numbers are from the supplier, it's a reasonable starting point, but I'll get some actual data once the must warms up. If all holds true, I don't expect any additions other than typical sulfite, nutrients, and enzymes.

2020 Must Data.png


2020 Must 1.JPG
 

CDrew

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I think it's great because you are the only one on the forum fermenting anything of substance right now.

Is you pH and TA measured, or averaged on your spreadsheet? Looks pretty good, and wondering about your nutrient adds.
 

sour_grapes

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I also thought it looked great. So I thought, "Hmmmm, maybe I will do 1/2 of his amounts." But $15/bottle (before shipping costs!) for my own wine is too rich for my blood! But I wish you all the best -- looks awesome.
 

stickman

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@CDrew The current values are just a weighted average based on the lab numbers from Brehm, I'll get real numbers in a couple of days after thawing. The nutrient calculation part of the same spread sheet is below, it's based on Lisa Van de Water's recommendations for her Superfood, I've been using this product for 20yrs with good results.

YAN calc.png
 

stickman

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@ibglowin True, though my standard process applies, it's all going into the vat, the combined chemistry is what I'm after. I did this same blend twice in 2018 with good results, but obviously the harvest conditions vary. With all of the potassium in the other skins, I'm sure there will be significant tartrates dropping by the time the wine is pressed. I was wondering about the ripeness of the Merlot at 22 brix, but again, the only thing that would cause me to keep it separate would be if I smelled something really funky once the pails are opened, and an issue like that hasn't happened in over 20 years. I guess there is a first for everything, after all 2020 has been nothing but trouble, but I'm so callused at this point it's doubtful I would change anything. If it's an unusual vintage "let's taste it".
 

SLM

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stickman, what yeast do you use and when do you add nutrients? I want to pick up some of that frozen must but don't have enough experience yet to justify the cost.
 

stickman

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@SLM Yeast is really your choice based on what you are trying to make and the type of grapes being fermented etc. All of the suppliers have selection charts for the yeast they carry, and it would be best to use one of the charts to help with your selection. Plenty of other experienced members here will also provide good advice should you need it. I've been using DV10 for reds, it's considered neutral and doesn't enhance aromatics, however it does provide good body, and it always ferments bone dry; basically you get whatever the grapes have to offer and nothing more.

I have the YAN data for the must, so I add nutrients based on the supplier provided schedules. If grape YAN is 150 ppm or below, I'll add complex nutrients when the yeast are added to the vat. If the starting YAN is over 150 ppm, delay the first addition until fermentation has begun. During fermentation, add the rest of the supplements gradually in portions during the first half of fermentation. Make the last addition of any supplements containing DAP, at or just after mid-fermentation, typically before 10 to 12 brix, to give yeasts extra nitrogen after they have stopped growing, but while they can still take up nitrogen.

If I don't have YAN data, I'll just add nutrients as if the must came in with a reasonable YAN of 150 to 170 PPM.
 

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Venatorscribe

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Nice blend ratio of varietals. I’m drinking a 2 year old 1:1 Merlot Malbec at the moment. It’s very nice but I regret not including Cab Sav into the blend.
 

stickman

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I got the pails thawed and opened, they've been at 50F for the past couple of days, added 30ppm so2 and Lallzyme EX. I pulled off a couple of gallons of proportionately blended must to make a starter, the initial pH is 3.63, but it is just a rough blend so we'll see if that holds after everything is tossed into the fermenter.

The Malbec is closest followed by the Merlot, and the remainder is Cab.

IMG_0861.JPG
 

stickman

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I added the 2 gal starter along with the first dose of nutrients early morning yesterday. The cap just started to come up this morning, the temp is only 60F or so. The brix is around 25, pH is at 3.59 at 60F but dropped to 3.55 once the sample was warmed up to 70F, so no adjustments made. The neighbor and I tasted a sample of all of the grapes straight from the pails. You can smell the tannin in these grapes, like smelling a bag of tannin with some fruit, but it is difficult to taste the tannin with all of the sweetness. Slight differences in aromas and flavors can be detected between the grapes, except for the Malbec, the Malbec also has a tannic aroma, but stands out with obvious blueberry aromatics and flavors.

Cap.jpg

Drain.JPG

Brix.JPG

pH.JPG
 

Ajmassa

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Wow. The numbers came in damn close to
your spreadsheet estimated average. And they are just about as ideal as a home winemaker could possibly want! Not too bad!
I’m also intrigued by that 2gal yeast starter method.

Few questions:
What were you pumping in the picture? Was that just one pail to get an accurate cumulative blend for levels & starter?

And about that 2gal starter, what’s your standard procedure for that? You just add entire amount of yeast for the whole tub into 2gal, (no use of nutrients/goFerm?) then let it get cookin then add to tub? Or do you work your way up like a restart procedure?

It all looks great and i bet smells even better right about now. Wishing u a successful & healthy January 2021 ferment sir.
 

stickman

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@Ajmassa I drained the tank and put it back over the top to provide some air and to make sure everything was well mixed.

The starter obviously isn't necessary, but most of the things I do are based on some previous bad experience that I'm trying to prevent from ever happening again. With wine there is a lot of wiggle room. One of the guys I know just throws in a 500 gram package of dry yeast with 500lbs of must, I guess he figures he's not going to save any for next year, I don't recommend that, but his fermentation kicks off just fine.

I pull out the must for the starter before any sulfite is added, heat to 160F with constant stirring, then cool to 70F in a sink full of water and ice, check and adjust pH and brix, I usually drop brix to 23 or lower, and then add nutrients accordingly. I rehydrate the recommended yeast weight in a half gallon mason jar according to the typical lab instructions, (nothing wrong with goferm, but I don't use it) then add the prepared must a little at a time until the mason jar is the same temp as the prepared must, then add the jar to the prepared must, then I move it to the cellar until needed later that day or make it at night for the following morning, I want the starter temperature to end up similar to the main must temp (in my case usually 55F or so) at pitching time. Making a starter is a pain and, in most cases, completely unnecessary, but I do it out of habit now.
 

stickman

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It's starting to pick up some momentum so I dropped the temperature of the room to 56F, cap is at 75F, Brix is around 17, pH is 3.56 at 67F, added additional nutrients this morning, the aroma is wonderful, so far nothing unusual.

Drain.JPG

Brix.JPG

pH.JPG

Cap.JPG
 

Ajmassa

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thanks for the detailed reply about the yeast starter btw. The procedure is much more involved than i realized.

The must looks incredibly clean too. I was eying up that Charlie Smith cab recently. (Brehms provides so much detailed info about their products). I’m sure one of these days i’ll dive in. But until then i’ll just enjoy your updates.
 

stickman

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@Ajmassa Unfortunately both the Charlie Smith and Plum Ridge vineyards were not harvested this year due to the Glass Fire that swept through the Sonoma area.
 

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