Backing into a Port

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by NorCal, Nov 23, 2018.

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  1. Nov 23, 2018 #1

    NorCal

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    I’ve only made port twice, both from grapes, 5 gallon carboys, arresting fermentation around 5 brix by adding brandy to where the abv is >20%.

    This year I have this odd ball 2.5 gallon mini carboy that had the leftovers of what I made this year; Petite Sirah, Petit Verdot and a little Cab Franc. It is a big, dark wine that I added an oak spiral to. The plan is to add brandy to 20% abv and then do taste trials for backsweetening.

    Should I use white sugar, brown sugar? Any recommendations on how to do the trial?
     
  2. Nov 24, 2018 #2

    ibglowin

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    I used Alexander's Zinfandel concentrate to back sweeten my Petit Sirah (from fresh grapes) Port and it worked out fantastic. I am sure white sugar is way cheaper however.......
     
  3. Nov 24, 2018 #3

    Boatboy24

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    I would think I'd want to avoid the brown sugar. Agree with Mike on the concentrate. Last port I made was a blueberry from fresh fruit and I used a combo of Merlot and blueberry concentrates to backsweeten. Challenge there is you're not only sweetening, you're diluting. But you can always compensate w/ the brandy.
     
  4. Nov 25, 2018 #4

    pillswoj

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    Rather then brown sugar, Google caramelizing sugar, my wife convinced me to try it on my peach wine, it adds some nutty notes which can be nice.
     
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  5. Nov 26, 2018 #5

    NorCal

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    Great suggestion! I want the caramel flavor in the port.
     
  6. Nov 26, 2018 #6

    mainshipfred

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    I'm glad you posted this. Not knowing at the time but I have a Tempranillo and a Touriga that when I researched are a blend used in ports or should I say fortified wines. Of course these were fermented dry. An employee of mine gave me 2 bottles of a grape distilled spirit of some kind from Bolivia. I wanted to use this to fortify the wine but wasn't sure about sweetening it. I'll also check into the caramelizing sugar. Thanks!
     
  7. Dec 2, 2018 #7

    NorCal

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    7A36FC46-671C-4C57-BA0E-74B19908A23E.jpeg After consulting with my partner in the port project, they wanted to stick to a white sugar addition. We were up a little high on the brandy, due to a size availablity at the store, so we are right at 21% abv. We then did trials by putting 20ml in our small glasses and adding between 5%-10% simple syrup to taste.

    We ended up with a 6% simple syrup addition and let it continue to age on an oak spiral for another 8 months.
     
  8. Dec 2, 2018 #8

    ibglowin

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    Did you take an ending SG after the SS addition?

     
  9. Dec 2, 2018 #9

    NorCal

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    I did not. I could if it would be of help to anyone. The sugar add was a personal preference of my niece/her husband. I’m not much of a port drinker, as evidenced by the 2015 port I still have in the bottle.
     
  10. Dec 2, 2018 #10

    ibglowin

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    Port + chocolate = :hug
     
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  11. Dec 7, 2018 at 2:09 PM #11

    Mario Dinis

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    Hi, has anyone tried backsweetening with honey? I'm making my very first gallon of port style with out of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot juice. Used brandy oak chips and after a month tasted it and thought it could used a little more sweetness so I bench tested with honey and it's coming out delicious. Homemade honey btw.
     
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  12. Dec 7, 2018 at 2:47 PM #12

    Mario Dinis

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    Hi, out of curiosity, where did you get that Touriga? is it Touriga Nacional? grape or juice?
    Thanks
     
  13. Dec 7, 2018 at 3:43 PM #13

    mainshipfred

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    It's Nacional from grapes. Got them from a local wine club this fall.
     
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  14. Dec 7, 2018 at 4:26 PM #14

    Mario Dinis

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    Thanks. I asked because those are hard to find. They're native to portugal where I'm from.
     
  15. Dec 7, 2018 at 4:39 PM #15

    mainshipfred

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    I knew it was native to Portugal and my biggest problem was trying to find the proper yeast to use. There is absolutely nothing online for this selection. Ended up using D21, Syrah and 71B for no particular reason. For future use do you know of a Portuguese yeast strain.
     
  16. Dec 7, 2018 at 5:38 PM #16

    Mario Dinis

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    I really don't know. The only one that I have come acroos is the Lalvin QA23, but that's for white wines.
    http://www.lallemandbrewing.com/en/united-states/product-details/lalvin-qa23/
     
  17. Dec 7, 2018 at 6:49 PM #17

    sour_grapes

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    I love Touriga Nacional. Wish it were more available here. I may have to make a trip to Total Wine!
     
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  18. Dec 7, 2018 at 6:54 PM #18

    Mario Dinis

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    It is good wine
     
  19. Dec 7, 2018 at 7:10 PM #19

    mainshipfred

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    Mario, are you going to the Split Rock meet up next year. I'll be bringing a few bottles.
    Paul, I believe you mentioned you had family in the area and was thinking about considering it.
     
  20. Dec 8, 2018 at 12:31 AM #20

    sour_grapes

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    Well, I went to a different wine store, and bought a bottle from the Douro DOC. It is a 2015 offering containing 50% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional, and 20% Tinta Roriz. (I had never heard of Tinta Roriz, but it turns out that it is "just" Tempranillo.) As for the others, Wikipedia says "Touriga Francesa (or Touriga Franca) is one of the major grape varieties used to produce port wine. Touriga Francesa is lighter and more perfumed than Touriga Nacional, adding finesse to the wine. Touriga Francesa has been described by Jancis Robinson as playing 'Cabernet Franc to Touriga Nacional’s Cabernet Sauvignon'."

    Yeah, there is a chance that I could be both out that way and free to come. I'd like to, but I would wager that it is a small chance that it would work out to make sense for me. Thanks for thinking of me, though!
     
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