A little bitter

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Johnny A

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OK, I began my process using Merlot grapes back in 10-2008 and I've got my wine stored up in carboys and sulfited. Twice racked and all appears to be well. Since I have never ventured into wine making myself previously I have some concerns. Firstly, I've tasted the wine and it has a nice aroma but a bitter taste. Does this mean it's just not ready yet? Or is it a potential problem? Second, how long does it take before I can expect to have this process completed so I can drink the wine? I was told previously that it may take up to a year. Is this accurate? Thanks for any help you can provide.
 

Wade E

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Have you ever tested for acid, Im guessing you might have wanted to do a malolactic fermentation on this but since you sulfited this is not an option anymore. You can still however cold stabilize if it is high in malic acid or you can use something like calcium carbonate to drop it out.
 

Skyhawk

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If your wine spent any time fermented with the grape skins, it's likely tannin that's causing the bitterness, and things are tasting exactly the way they should be at this stage. A particularly heady Merlot can require a couple years aging before it's even drinkable.
 

Johnny A

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I have not tested for the acidity. However, I have been told that Merlot does take time to reach it's full drinkability level. To answer your concern Skyhawk I did in fact ferment with the grape skins on. So I need to be more patient and let nature take it's course. This coming October 2009 I plan on trying to make Zinfandel. Stay tuned, I'm sure I'll be consulting you fine folks for more input. Thanks.
 

Wade E

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Was there alot of stems in there also as those can give off a bitter taste, most crusher destemmers do a good job at seperating but there are a few old 1's that dont.
 

Johnny A

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Wade there were some stems but not a lot. I was told previously by someone in this Wine Making Forum a few months ago that you need to let Merlot age at least a year before enjoying it. Perhaps more. The wine seems to be ok, no bad smells or odd coloration. It has a nice burgundy coloring like Merlot should have. So I'm just going to wait it out and hopefully we'll have some good Merlot to enjoy in another 7-8 months.
 

Wade E

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Johnny, any wine should really sit at least a year before enjoying it so the advise given was good.
 
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