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CDrew

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Four weeks in the barrel for the Malbec. The sour is pretty much gone. The taste is pleasant, markedly better. Definitely going another couple weeks (at least, maybe another 4 weeks since I have two gallons of unoaked Malbec to blend) in the barrel.

Initially, I was considering putting the 2019 cab-syrah through it after I got done with the super tuscan blend. But, I haven't tasted it since filtering it a couple weeks ago. If I can't save it, I'm just going to roll from the 2020 wines into the 2021s.
So was the sour taste just dissolved CO2? I have heard that the barrel makes the CO2 dissipate really fast. No first hand experience though.
 

jgmann67

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So was the sour taste just dissolved CO2? I have heard that the barrel makes the CO2 dissipate really fast. No first hand experience though.
Most, if not all, of the co2 was gone by this racking. So I don’t know if I can answer whether the barrel makes co2 dissipate. But, that makes sense with everything I’m told about micro oxidation in barrels.

I’m still planning to test the ph when the Malbec comes out of the barrel. Hopefully it will give me some insight into the sour taste (and whether the barreling is only masking it).
 

jgmann67

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Additional question: regarding the wine I set aside to top up the barrel. I took the Malbec scrapes and poured them into a 1.5L bottle, corked it and put it in the fridge. After using up about 600ml to top the barrel, i poured it into a 750ml bottle (poured the rest in a glass for the winemaker to taste), corked it and put it back in the fridge. Am I doing it right? I figure the cold will keep it from oxidizing.
 

winemaker81

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Am I doing it right? I figure the cold will keep it from oxidizing.
There's no need to keep it in the fridge if the bottle is full to normal levels. I refrigerate for a week to help precipitate solids, then screwcap or airlock the bottle and put it with the other wines.

I have a thread where I've displayed my results in saving wine.
 

jgmann67

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There's no need to keep it in the fridge if the bottle is full to normal levels. I refrigerate for a week to help precipitate solids, then screwcap or airlock the bottle and put it with the other wines.

I have a thread where I've displayed my results in saving wine.
That’s the thing... revisiting the barrel and topping up each week leaves a good bit of headspace in the bottle. Especially when I’m only pouring 75-100ml at a time. So, I figured it was best to refrigerate. Added bonus that particulate will drop to the bottom of of the bottle.
 

winemaker81

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That’s the thing... revisiting the barrel and topping up each week leaves a good bit of headspace in the bottle.
Get smaller bottles. I have a bunch of 375 ml screwcap bottles + 200 ml screwcap bottles. A while back I purchased a handful of "sample" size bottles in the grocery store. The wine was marked down a lot to sell, and the wine was utter garbage. I poured the wine out and kept the bottles.

Regarding screwcaps, they can be reused a limited number of times before the seal fails. I screw the cap on tight, turn it upside down and look for leaks. If it leaks, move the wine to a new bottle and recycle the leaky one.

You're topping weekly? AFAIK, most folks top monthly. If your bung is tight, you'll get a vacuum due to evaporation, so your wine in the barrel is fine and you'll use more topup at once. Keeping topup in 375 ml bottles will work better.

All that said, refrigeration helps, although if you have a lot of head space, the wine will oxidize eventually.
 

jgmann67

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Get smaller bottles. I have a bunch of 375 ml screwcap bottles + 200 ml screwcap bottles. A while back I purchased a handful of "sample" size bottles in the grocery store. The wine was marked down a lot to sell, and the wine was utter garbage. I poured the wine out and kept the bottles.

Regarding screwcaps, they can be reused a limited number of times before the seal fails. I screw the cap on tight, turn it upside down and look for leaks. If it leaks, move the wine to a new bottle and recycle the leaky one.

You're topping weekly? AFAIK, most folks top monthly. If your bung is tight, you'll get a vacuum due to evaporation, so your wine in the barrel is fine and you'll use more topup at once. Keeping topup in 375 ml bottles will work better.

All that said, refrigeration helps, although if you have a lot of head space, the wine will oxidize eventually.
new barrel. So, I’m checking weekly for the first month. Then monthly thereafter. I have 375’s and can probably find smaller bottles if necessary.
 

sour_grapes

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Additional question: regarding the wine I set aside to top up the barrel. I took the Malbec scrapes and poured them into a 1.5L bottle, corked it and put it in the fridge. After using up about 600ml to top the barrel, i poured it into a 750ml bottle (poured the rest in a glass for the winemaker to taste), corked it and put it back in the fridge. Am I doing it right? I figure the cold will keep it from oxidizing.
I think the refrigeration will help. How about a Vacuvin in addition?
 

Boatboy24

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I like the vacuvin idea and have read that refrigeration significantly slows the rate of oxidation.
 

stickman

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I agree, use the vacuvin or use smaller bottles. Refrigeration does slow down the oxidation, but because of that the wine ends up saturated with oxygen, and the wine can dissolve even higher levels of oxygen due to the cold temperature. The oxygen becomes reactive once the wine warms up. It's probably not that big of a deal in a young red wine, but maybe more of an issue in white or more delicate wines.
 

jgmann67

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It's been six weeks in the new barrel. The oak is very present. We'll leave it another couple weeks. Then dose with Kmeta, return it to the carboys and blend it in with the 2 gallons of unoaked left overs. Alternatively, I bought some medium plus toast French Oak spirals that I would consider dropping in to the left overs for a couple weeks just to oak it up a bit (probably should have thought about that last month).
 

winemaker81

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I bought some medium plus toast French Oak spirals that I would consider dropping in to the left overs for a couple weeks just to oak it up a bit
Instead of using the spirals, you could leave the wine in the barrel a couple of more weeks beyond what you're planning. When blended you'll get (more or less) the same result and you'll still have the spirals for another use.
 

jgmann67

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Instead of using the spirals, you could leave the wine in the barrel a couple of more weeks beyond what you're planning. When blended you'll get (more or less) the same result and you'll still have the spirals for another use.
that was my plan originally. Happy to hold the spirals for a different effort.
 

jgmann67

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With added time on my hands, I shuffled the Malbec out of the barrel and put the first 8 gal of ST blend into the barrel. The wine isn’t sour at all. Tastes pretty damned good. So, maybe it was just me. Still I’ll probably test the ph this weekend just to be sure.
 
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