Determining why the wine I made is below expectations

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NorCal

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My goal is to make one 60 gallon barrel of wine each year that is the best I can possibly make. It is getting close to bottling time, so I did a tasting of this years wines. The 67% Petite Sirah / 33% Mourvedre free run barrel has really come around and in another 6 months, I think it will be a really nice wine. I also have smaller containers of other wine, usually from two sources; left over wine that was not chosen for the barrel or grapes that found me.

5 gallons Petite Sirah - Dark, astringent and unapproachable. This was left over, 100% pressed wine.
10 gallons Mourvedre - Decent nose, but flavor profile way off from expectation. This too was left over, 100% pressed wine.
13 gallon estate blend (Syrah, Zin, Cab Sauv) - Fruity, dark, weird taste from the blend or grapes. Mildew in the vineyard.
20 gallons Cab Franc - Sweet (.6 brix), free grapes, fermented from the pressings of other wines, never finished.

With the exception of the barrel, these wines are disappointing. Seeing what they are and where they came from, I guess there should be no surprise. I need to make room for this year's grapes, so I need to make some decisions. Options considered ranged from dumping it all, to blending it all. What the Mrs. was comfortable with is bottling it all individually, but not labeling it. We can then give it time to see if the wine comes around and then label it, relegate it to unlabeled cooking wine or we dump it later.

Lessons learned? I like using free run, especially with astringent wines like Petite Sirah, but won't do the same thing with this year's cab franc. This will avoid the left over marginal 100% pressed wine. The estate grapes have been cared for the best I can and there is mildew pressure, but so far I've kept the mildew off the clusters and won't be blending, so should be good there. On any free grapes, I have a full plate of close to 200 gallons this year, so there is no room for any more wine making in 2022.
Syrah.jpg
 

Ohio Bob

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Sorry to hear about the potential demise of any wine hitting the drain.

Not knowing anything about the taste, maybe an option is to heavily flavor, and fortify into ports. Vanilla, nuts, syrups, etc. Might mask the poor wine taste.

Congrats on the success of your barrel!
 

VinesnBines

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I made a "mock" port style by adding 2 to 4 ounces of simple syrup and 6 ounces of brandy to a bottle of Petit Verdot that was disappointing. It is a hit with the family. I also added finishing tannins to the same Petit Verdot. The finishing tannins improved the taste; another family hit.

I vote with the Mrs. and Ohio Bob.
 

ibglowin

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If these wines have only been sitting in some type of glass container(s) and not any type of vessel that has micro-ox like the barrel perhaps there is your answer. With the barrel a wine will smooth out over time any and all rough edges. In glass or anything else that doesn't allow for micro-ox it will be way behind the barrel and harsh/closed for years in comparison.


5 gallons Petite Sirah - Dark, astringent and unapproachable. This was left over, 100% pressed wine.
10 gallons Mourvedre - Decent nose, but flavor profile way off from expectation. This too was left over, 100% pressed wine.
13 gallon estate blend (Syrah, Zin, Cab Sauv) - Fruity, dark, weird taste from the blend or grapes. Mildew in the vineyard.
20 gallons Cab Franc - Sweet (.6 brix), free grapes, fermented from the pressings of other wines, never finished.
 

salcoco

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all of the wines will change with age. I would strive to to keep the wine for at least a year or two before dispensing them. the astringent wine can be helped with a fining of gelatin. the cab franc fermentation can be restarted with a good yeast starter using EC1118 and starting with adding one cup of wine too the starter, await fermentation start then doubling the volume of wine each addition after restart of fermentation after each addition. Making the wines consumable would be a good exercise in winemaking
 

VinesnBines

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If you choose not to restart the Cab Franc, try adding chocolate in some form. Cacao nibs or (my choice) cacao nibs soaked in the spirit of your choice - vodka is neutral, bourbon gives a great flavor...

My Chocolate Merlot has turned out really nice. It was thin and disappointing. The chocolate brought out the flavor and added a nice smoothness.
 
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I'm going into my 6th year making wine. The first year was only kits and juice buckets except for one grape batch. Second year it was grapes with an occasional juice bucket. After that all grape. It was only last year that I opened a bottle of Cab Sauv from S Africa that I wasn't terribly fond of initially. At 3 years old it has turned into a wonderful wine. I saying this because I didn't believe age helped that much.

In my short time I've made wine that I was proud of and some not so much, they all can't be winners and I have dumped some, mostly because of faults.
You know more about this than a lot of us so I'm sure you will make the right decision.
 

buzi

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The petite will come around, if you can wait that long! :) or blend it with one of the flatter wines. I never get tired of using it as a varietal and a blending grape.

Reading half of your stories on here I am pretty sure the wine you want to dump is still pretty darn good! You just have high expectations! Good luck and I can't wait for the next story!
 

Nebbiolo020

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That blend of Zinfandel cab sav and Syrah is not that weird a local winery near my house produces a wine with that blend.

I would say toss them if you don’t think they will improve otherwise keep if you think they will
 

Jusatele

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I have had some wines that took a while, and others that ended up being cooking wines.
I also am not a huge fan of 100% press, it seems the harder the press the more we can extract stuff we do not want. I do not have professional gear so I like a wet press so I do not crack seeds and stuff. I realize that must is money, but on my level of equipment, leaving a bit might be best.
I like the plan set out, let it age and decide after a few more samplings, after all this is a learning curve hobby.
 

Hazelemere

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all of the wines will change with age. I would strive to to keep the wine for at least a year or two before dispensing them. the astringent wine can be helped with a fining of gelatin. the cab franc fermentation can be restarted with a good yeast starter using EC1118 and starting with adding one cup of wine too the starter, await fermentation start then doubling the volume of wine each addition after restart of fermentation after each addition. Making the wines consumable would be a good exercise in winemaking
EC1118 inhibits malolactic fermentation whereas RC 212 doesn't. Egg whites are an alternate to gelatin to reduce astringency.
 
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EC1118 inhibits malolactic fermentation whereas RC 212 doesn't. Egg whites are an alternate to gelatin to reduce astringency.

EC1118 only potentially inhibits malolactic fermentation, in low nutrient environment it can produce a significant amount of SO2, but avoiding low nutrient environment is always a good idea. Rc212 has the side effect that in low nutritional must it can produce a significant amount of H2S.

The advice being given for the EC1118 was to restart fermentation, also. Very little beats EC1118 at that.
 

Nebbiolo020

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EC1118 only potentially inhibits malolactic fermentation, in low nutrient environment it can produce a significant amount of SO2, but avoiding low nutrient environment is always a good idea. Rc212 has the side effect that in low nutritional must it can produce a significant amount of H2S.

The advice being given for the EC1118 was to restart fermentation, also. Very little beats EC1118 at that.
1118 is great for stuck fermentations it never sticks and I feel like every winemaker needs to keep it on hand
 

NorCal

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I’ve unstuck fermentations, don’t care to do this one. The CF 80%/PS 20% will be a semi sweet wine was racked and blended tonight at .4 brix. It may referment in the bottle, at which point it will be sparkling. My experience is that these sugar levels are not enough to push corks or break bottles. These 25 gallons will be what they will be. I need to move on and clear some containers, as this year looks to be early.
 

Nebbiolo020

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I’ve unstuck fermentations, don’t care to do this one. The CF 80%/PS 20% will be a semi sweet wine was racked and blended tonight at .4 brix. It may referment in the bottle, at which point it will be sparkling. My experience is that these sugar levels are not enough to push corks or break bottles. These 25 gallons will be what they will be. I need to move on and clear some containers, as this year looks to be early.
Grapes are already coming in in commercial wineries on the west coast last year we didn’t get fruit untill September. So it’s a super early year.
 

Busabill

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My goal is to make one 60 gallon barrel of wine each year that is the best I can possibly make. It is getting close to bottling time, so I did a tasting of this years wines. The 67% Petite Sirah / 33% Mourvedre free run barrel has really come around and in another 6 months, I think it will be a really nice wine. I also have smaller containers of other wine, usually from two sources; left over wine that was not chosen for the barrel or grapes that found me.

5 gallons Petite Sirah - Dark, astringent and unapproachable. This was left over, 100% pressed wine.
10 gallons Mourvedre - Decent nose, but flavor profile way off from expectation. This too was left over, 100% pressed wine.
13 gallon estate blend (Syrah, Zin, Cab Sauv) - Fruity, dark, weird taste from the blend or grapes. Mildew in the vineyard.
20 gallons Cab Franc - Sweet (.6 brix), free grapes, fermented from the pressings of other wines, never finished.

With the exception of the barrel, these wines are disappointing. Seeing what they are and where they came from, I guess there should be no surprise. I need to make room for this year's grapes, so I need to make some decisions. Options considered ranged from dumping it all, to blending it all. What the Mrs. was comfortable with is bottling it all individually, but not labeling it. We can then give it time to see if the wine comes around and then label it, relegate it to unlabeled cooking wine or we dump it later.

Lessons learned? I like using free run, especially with astringent wines like Petite Sirah, but won't do the same thing with this year's cab franc. This will avoid the left over marginal 100% pressed wine. The estate grapes have been cared for the best I can and there is mildew pressure, but so far I've kept the mildew off the clusters and won't be blending, so should be good there. On any free grapes, I have a full plate of close to 200 gallons this year, so there is no room for any more wine making in 2022.
View attachment 91057
My goal is to make one 60 gallon barrel of wine each year that is the best I can possibly make. It is getting close to bottling time, so I did a tasting of this years wines. The 67% Petite Sirah / 33% Mourvedre free run barrel has really come around and in another 6 months, I think it will be a really nice wine. I also have smaller containers of other wine, usually from two sources; left over wine that was not chosen for the barrel or grapes that found me.

5 gallons Petite Sirah - Dark, astringent and unapproachable. This was left over, 100% pressed wine.
10 gallons Mourvedre - Decent nose, but flavor profile way off from expectation. This too was left over, 100% pressed wine.
13 gallon estate blend (Syrah, Zin, Cab Sauv) - Fruity, dark, weird taste from the blend or grapes. Mildew in the vineyard.
20 gallons Cab Franc - Sweet (.6 brix), free grapes, fermented from the pressings of other wines, never finished.

With the exception of the barrel, these wines are disappointing. Seeing what they are and where they came from, I guess there should be no surprise. I need to make room for this year's grapes, so I need to make some decisions. Options considered ranged from dumping it all, to blending it all. What the Mrs. was comfortable with is bottling it all individually, but not labeling it. We can then give it time to see if the wine comes around and then label it, relegate it to unlabeled cooking wine or we dump it later.

Lessons learned? I like using free run, especially with astringent wines like Petite Sirah, but won't do the same thing with this year's cab franc. This will avoid the left over marginal 100% pressed wine. The estate grapes have been cared for the best I can and there is mildew pressure, but so far I've kept the mildew off the clusters and won't be blending, so should be good there. On any free grapes, I have a full plate of close to 200 gallons this year, so there is no room for any more wine making in 2022.
View attachment 91057
Hi NorCal,
So many thoughts! First, I would love to try that Barrel. Mourvedre and PS is an intriguing blend. Secondly, referring to your other wines, this is why I don't typically separate the free run from pressed. I think you run into issues with pressed wine not being usable, whereas it would have been if it were all combined. I guess my personal rule is, when you separate them, I'm not sure the juice is worth the squeeze....unless it's combined. 😀
 

NorCal

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Hi NorCal,
So many thoughts! First, I would love to try that Barrel. Mourvedre and PS is an intriguing blend. Secondly, referring to your other wines, this is why I don't typically separate the free run from pressed. I think you run into issues with pressed wine not being usable, whereas it would have been if it were all combined. I guess my personal rule is, when you separate them, I'm not sure the juice is worth the squeeze....unless it's combined. 😀
It looks like you will have the opportunity on Friday! I think you are right on separating the wine leaves the pressed partition in a bad position. My goal has always been to make the best barrel regardless of readonable cost or effort. The surrounding wine outside the barrel is the fallout, which I’m ok with, if the wine in the barrel is outstanding. You can be the judge.
 

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