First go at California cabernet from grapes

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DocDRB

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So I live in St. Louis Missouri. For the last few years I have been picking fresh Chambourcin grapes from a friends vineyard in Illinois. This year because of the odd weather his crop was pretty wrecked So we ordered some Kings River California Cabernet grapes. My first time making a Cabernet that wasn’t from a kit. Looking for advice in general and particularly how I am about to add yeast and was curious what people recommend. It is a small batch just two lugs. Brix over 25. I picked up a Lalvin Bourgovin RC212 yeast. Also have never done MLF and I am wondering how important that would be. Any advice?
 

4score

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RC 212 should be a fine yeast. Just make sure you have a good nutrient plan (ie Ferm K) as it's sensitive to that.

Definitely recommend MLF. Cabernet already will have big tannins, and you want to tackle the malo acid to help soften the wine. Have fun and good luck!
 

DocDRB

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RC 212 should be a fine yeast. Just make sure you have a good nutrient plan (ie Ferm K) as it's sensitive to that.

Definitely recommend MLF. Cabernet already will have big tannins, and you want to tackle the malo acid to help soften the wine. Have fun and good luck!
Thanks for the feedback. My starting TA is 5 which I thought was pretty darn low. Would that be an issue with MLF? I’m using DAP nutrient. I know a lot of people prefer the Ferm K (I guess it was cheaper). When do you start MLF?
 

stickman

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Brix over 25 generally requires higher nutrient additions and, as noted above, RC212 also requires higher than typical nutrient addition. DAP doesn't contain yeast extract or vitamins and minerals that are often needed for a healthy fermentation. I would highly recommend using blended nutrients like Fermaid or Superfood, you'll be much less likely to have H2S problems.
 

DocDRB

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Brix over 25 generally requires higher nutrient additions and, as noted above, RC212 also requires higher than typical nutrient addition. DAP doesn't contain yeast extract or vitamins and minerals that are often needed for a healthy fermentation. I would highly recommend using blended nutrients like Fermaid or Superfood, you'll be much less likely to have H2S problems.
I will definitely get the additional nutrients I also added some water to bring down the sp gr below the initial 1.112
 

DocDRB

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Not sure what that is.. I was going to add purified Springwater but added purified drinking water instead. 1/2 gallon to my expected 5 gallon final yield.
 

ibglowin

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If you just add "water" and nothing else you will dilute the acid's down in your wine resulting in a flat/flabby wine with no mouthfeel. Always add acidulated water which contains added Tartaric acid so your acid levels will remain the same and only the brix levels get brought down.
 

DocDRB

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Thanks I plead ignorance. I am sure that would be preferential. I have some tartaric acid I could add in a small dilution to make up the difference. Technically speaking I doubt such a small addition of water would have much impact numerically on pH but qualitatively I guess it could be important.
 

ibglowin

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It's not about pH at all. It's about TA = what you taste in your mouth. Flat/flabby or rounded and full.

Your choice.
 

ibglowin

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For every liter of water used for either dilution or chapitalization, you need to add 6 grams of tartaric acid. This gives the water you are using a TA of 6 g/L (0.6%TA) to prevent it from adversely affecting the acidity of your must. However, if you have a very high acid/low pH must to begin with, it is possible that lowering acidity by not adding acid to the water used for the correction will work in your favor.
 

DocDRB

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Thanks.
For every liter of water used for either dilution or chapitalization, you need to add 6 grams of tartaric acid. This gives the water you are using a TA of 6 g/L (0.6%TA) to prevent it from adversely affecting the acidity of your must. However, if you have a very high acid/low pH must to begin with, it is possible that lowering acidity by not adding acid to the water used for the correction will work in your favor.
I will do this. These have a low TA of 5 so it seems like sound advice!
 

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