Other Fontant Malbec with Joeswine "Tweeks"

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Ron0126

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Started a Fontana Malbec today that I bought from Walmart for only $38.95 with FREE shipping. Hard to beat that price. There are quite a few on Amazon at the same price but Amazon has a LOT more varietals and flavors (Nebbiolo for example).

Many thanks to @Joeswine for the inspiration!
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51904

1. Began by dissolving the Bentonite in a half gallon of very warm water until there were no lumps.
2. Added the juice, rinsed out the bag twice, and topped up to the 5 gallon mark (instead of 6).
3. Added a homemade F-Pack of 5 halved black plums with about 1/2 cup of blackberries sautéed in a little spring water until they were mushy and released their juices. Added these to the primary.
4. Added one tablespoon of tannin to the primary (will also add to the secondary).
5. Added one cup of medium toast French oak chips that I had soaked in one cup of hot spring water for one hour.
6. Added one full box of Zantes currants (10 oz).
7. Chaptalized with one pound of sugar to bring opening SG to 1.100.
8. Added Red Star Premier Rouge yeast rather than the EC-1118 that came with the kit. Rehydrated in 104F water with a teaspoon of sugar for one hour. I’ll use the EC-1118 on another batch of lemon lime Skeeter Pee.

The numbers:
Opening SG: 1.100 so assuming it ferments to 0.996 ABV will be 13.65%
Opening pH: 3.3 — later discovered my meter was reading low by 0.2 so it was actually 3.5 (recalibrated the meter btw)
Opening temperature: 75F

Plan to ferment to dry, rack, add the rest of the recommended chems, add another tablespoon of tannin to the secondary and possibly more oak (depending on how it tastes). Rack a few more times and age for at least 6 months. Joe says these kits were made to drink earlier than most kits so I will take his expert advice!

Look and smells fantastic. Tastes excellent with good tannin and a strong oak component.

Bent.jpg

rinse.jpg

5gal.jpg

fpack.jpg

Tannin.jpg

currantsoak.jpg

SG.jpg

PremierRouge.jpg

PH.jpg

InThePool.jpg
 
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Mismost

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Just bottled our third Fontana Malbec....everybody loves this one with Joe's tweaks. I pretty much follow Joe's flow except I add cherry wood while bulk aging. Does the cherry wood make a big difference? Could not say...made it that way the first time and just keep doing it that way because we like it this way!
 

Ron0126

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12 hours later ... [emoji3]ImageUploadedByWine Making1500216349.083766.jpg
 

Ron0126

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Good fermentation ,nice��
Thanks Joe!
My experience with this yeast (Pasteur Red now called Premier Rouge by Red Star) has been that it foams a lot. This is a 5 gallon batch in a 7.9 gallon bucket. The last time I used it was on a Cabernet in a 6.5 gallon fermentation bucket and it would've overflowed with foam had there not been a towel on top. I stirred that beast about every 3 hours to keep the foam down (benefits of working from home).
 

Ron0126

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Did my second racking, degassed, added k-meta, and sneaked a little sip.
This stuff is gonna be spectacular in another couple months.
 

Mismost

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Did my second racking, degassed, added k-meta, and sneaked a little sip.
This stuff is gonna be spectacular in another couple months.
if you can keepa u hands off it!! Good early and gets better.

I now hoard this stuff because everyone that comes over wants the Malbec and wants a bottle to take home. BUT...it's my favorite too dang it!
 

joeswine

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Yes ,so when people ask you can say yes you can make a decent every day wine with an inexpensive kit.
 

Ron0126

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if you can keepa u hands off it!! Good early and gets better.

I now hoard this stuff because everyone that comes over wants the Malbec and wants a bottle to take home. BUT...it's my favorite too dang it!
Haha! I already have another one coming out of primary in a day or two and another kit sitting on the shelf ... :ib

Since March, that makes 17 total batches including 7 kits. I have 14 carboys now but I think I'm gonna need more bottles.
 
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Mismost

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I! caved in and opened a 375ml of the last Malbec, bottled 8 July. Too early, I know!

Looks good, smells good, and already tastes great. Very soft and smooth for such a young wine. Joe nailed the tweaks on this one. Third batch and same great results to my tastes.

My wife made a good point. She said why make anything else but this Malbec and the Mezza Luna Red which we also like. I may have to give that some thought. I have about 4 cases of Cab Sav and I'm not crazy about Cab Sav. Jury is still out the big kits Cab, Old Vine Zin, Bravado...they may be worth it, just don't know yet. Not crazy about whites period.

I think I can take those two kits and make them dry, off-dry, sweet, light oak, heavy oak and create enough variations to suit
our simple tastes....cheaply to boot. Gonna keep tweaking these kits for sure.
 

Ron0126

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I! caved in and opened a 375ml of the last Malbec, bottled 8 July. Too early, I know!

Looks good, smells good, and already tastes great. Very soft and smooth for such a young wine. Joe nailed the tweaks on this one. Third batch and same great results to my tastes.

My wife made a good point. She said why make anything else but this Malbec and the Mezza Luna Red which we also like. I may have to give that some thought. I have about 4 cases of Cab Sav and I'm not crazy about Cab Sav. Jury is still out the big kits Cab, Old Vine Zin, Bravado...they may be worth it, just don't know yet. Not crazy about whites period.

I think I can take those two kits and make them dry, off-dry, sweet, light oak, heavy oak and create enough variations to suit
our simple tastes....cheaply to boot. Gonna keep tweaking these kits for sure.
I haven't made the Mezza Luna Red yet. What tweaks did you use on it?

I've got a Fontana Cab in bulk aging now (since May). Pulled a small tasting sample out a couple weeks ago and my wife, who does not like red wine, said, "I'd drink that. It's really good!" My two daughters both like it too. They also like the Fontana Chardonnay that I'm bulk aging right now.

I also have an Island Mist Cranberry Malbec that's fantastic. Did everything exactly per the directions except I added enough corn sugar and grape concentrate to boost the ABV up to 12%.

This tweaking thing is addictive. And I'm going to buy more of the Fontana Malbec too.
 
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Mismost

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Mezza Luna...Joe's tweaks are still the backbone....but I add dried cherries and elderberries to the pool.
The last bottle we had was about 8 months old and just so NICE....not good at describing tastes. Good news...there is a case in the closet marked Tax Returns that is well over a year old now! (yes....I hide wine in my own home!!)
 

RiverRat

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Wow - glad I trolled this thread. This is now a must whilst I wait for my big kits to age. And I just so happen to have a 5 gallon carboy available since I did not want to use it on a pricey kit. Please keep us updated. I would especially like to know how long until the malbec is decent to drink. I need something to distract me for another year.
 

Ron0126

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Wow - glad I trolled this thread. This is now a must whilst I wait for my big kits to age. And I just so happen to have a 5 gallon carboy available since I did not want to use it on a pricey kit. Please keep us updated. I would especially like to know how long until the malbec is decent to drink. I need something to distract me for another year.
This is one of the best threads on the site:
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51904

I started a Fontana Cabernet and a Fontana Chardonnay around May 30th this year. After three months, both are ready to drink. I plan to bottle them this weekend and give one of each to a manager at a large account I'm visiting next week.

If I had it to do again, I'd do the Malbec over and over (hat tip to Mismost). The problem I'm currently having is finding fresh, black plums.
 

RiverRat

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Malbec is ordered! I can't get over how much less expensive it is than the big kits, especially since I have to have everything shipped. I am really looking forward to "thinking outside the box". Thank you, Joeswine and Ron0126, for the inspiration!
 

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