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NorCal

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My mentor that taught me the art (he wasn't too much into the science side of things) of wine making recently moved. He had connections to a local winery and he moved his X barrels (lets just say he made a lot) there and plans to bottle them, when the winery does their spring bottling.

@4score and I have collaborated with him on a few projects. He sends me this email (I edited for brevity):

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email title: FREE WINE

Hi guys,
I know it sounds too good to be true and it may well be. Anyway, as you may remember I sold my house surprisingly fast and had to clear out my garage and cellar of about X barrels of wine as fast as possible. In my haste, I moved a whole 60 gallons of mourvedre into a freshly sulfured barrel and did not wait as I usually did for the sulfur to fade.
So now the wine has a really strong sulfur smell and Jim (Winemaker at the winery) thinks it should just be dumped. He obviously doesn't want to bother with it and I don't blame him. I don't want to bother Jim with this situation and I don't have anyway to handle it, so if you guys want to experiment with it, you are welcome to take it.

---------------.
My response:

We’ll take it! No questions asked, no hassles, I’ll bring my truck by whenever they are available to load it. We are experts on dealing with wine making faux pas. The benefit of being crappy winemakers is we’ve learned how to fix our mistakes :)

Ken

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Anyone deal with barrels that had residual sulfur from Sulfur Sticks in barrels? Will it blow off with a spash rack or two? We will pick up the barrel late next week.
 

Mismost

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pennies from heaven....actually copper....think I read somewhere copper helped with the sulfur smell/taste. That's just what popped into my head...I've never done it. I'll remember whee I read that in a day or two...maybe!
 

4score

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I asked Daniel Pambianchi, renown expert and winemaker author and he said, "Your ability to splash-rack off the SO2 will depend on how much there is. Ideally you'd want to measure how much SO2 there is if you have the test equipment. The surefire way to remove SO2 is by adding hydrogen peroxide ... yeah, the kind they sell at the drug store."
 

NorCal

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I don’t believe it is a smell derived from H2S, rather from the smoke caused by the sulphur stick that did not dissipate. Can’t see copper doing anything. I think it is more like smoke taint, that will hopefully blow off after a few spirited splash racking.
 

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I agree with @NorCal based on my previous experience with barrels. When you burn sulfur in a barrel you get primarily so2 and so3 as well as minor amounts of "other products". The so2 isn't a big deal, the so3 raises the acidity a bit, but shouldn't be a problem, the "other products" are the issue. When burned incompletely, some sulfur vapor may condense back to solid sulfur and remain as a residue on the staves. You may want to try something like Noblesse as a fining agent, which might adsorb some of the off compounds.
 

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pennies from heaven....actually copper....think I read somewhere copper helped with the sulfur smell/taste.
To handle the H2S, it is much more controlled to simply add copper sulfate to the wine rather than dissolving an unknown and potentially hazardous amount of copper into the wine.

I don’t believe it is a smell derived from H2S, rather from the smoke caused by the sulphur stick that did not dissipate.
Yeah if it isn't H2S or mecaptans, the copper addition won't do anything.

I burn sulfur pucks in my barrels if I don't immediately refill them and have never had any trouble with tainted wine. You are supposed to allow the liquid to drain completely before burning the sulfur though. I usually wait a couple days and allow the barrel to drain upside down with a paper towel in the bunghole to keep fruit flies out.

I assume the winemaker at the winery these are going to would be familiar with the aromas and condition of the wine so as to make the best recommendation for it.
 

NorCal

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Did the pick-up tonight. Smelling the barrel, definite match stick and I could see why they didn’t want to deal with it.

We racked it out of the barrel and gave it a few splash racking. It definitely improved, but I’d say 70%. We then did a blind CUSO4 smelling (kind of like a tasting) and we all picked out the treated wine. We decided to treat the wine with .25 ppm, 50 ppm SO2 and plan on racking this weekend. However, the wine tastes pretty darn good. Great no, salvageable, yes. IMG_2304.jpgIMG_2310.jpg
 

NorCal

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So, I poured a sample for me and the Mrs. She picked out the wine right away; “it tastes way better than it smells”, but she wouldn’t go past the first taste and asked for something else. To me, there more of an absence of a nose and I don’t necessarily smell anything objectionable, but nothing to note. The wine itself tastes reasonably good. @4score (guy in the pic) and I are going split the loot. I’m going to bottle within the next two weeks, 4Score is going to give it some more oak with a stave in a 30 gallon flex tank.
 

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I take it that the picture with @4score is at his house? I just want to express my admiration for his tile roof. In particular, I recognize that he has a "rolled rake" on the main house. (I put my own tile roof on a few years ago, and it was a BEAR!)
 

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I see ya brought in your ringer for this one. The man with the golden palate! Although your ‘ringer’ seems to have worked his way into the starting lineup lately.
Curious about this wine. How much so2 can be absorbed by residual sulfur stick smoke ? Did you guys test the levels of this before adding “.25 ppm, 50 ppm (is .25 a typo?)
So you guys taking bets on which ends up a better finished wine? I’d think
@4score is the clear favorite. Winner keeps the barrel maybe?
 

NorCal

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I take it that the picture with @4score is at his house? I just want to express my admiration for his tile roof. In particular, I recognize that he has a "rolled rake" on the main house. (I put my own tile roof on a few years ago, and it was a BEAR!)
At my house, which we bought as a short sale 6 years or so ago. Timing couldn’t have been better.IMG_7730.jpg
 

NorCal

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I see ya brought in your ringer for this one. The man with the golden palate! Although your ‘ringer’ seems to have worked his way into the starting lineup lately.
Curious about this wine. How much so2 can be absorbed by residual sulfur stick smoke ? Did you guys test the levels of this before adding “.25 ppm, 50 ppm (is .25 a typo?)
So you guys taking bets on which ends up a better finished wine? I’d think
@4score is the clear favorite. Winner keeps the barrel maybe?
The ringer was my wife, who has a sense of smell like no other. The .25 ppm was the copper sulfate level added not SO2, for that we added 50 ppm. The wife has already laid claim to the barrel; it may end up as indoor decor.
 

Ajmassa

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The ringer was my wife, who has a sense of smell like no other. The .25 ppm was the copper sulfate level added not SO2, for that we added 50 ppm. The wife has already laid claim to the barrel; it may end up as indoor decor.
That’s fantastic. I was actually referring to 4Score’s boy’s palate from that tasting video before and seeing him in many of your guys pictures.
Didn’t realize your wife gets involved like that too. You’re a lucky man NorCal. You’ve put together a nice team. The responses I receive are “I can taste the wood” or “I like this one but not that one”.
 

4score

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We are hoping that this wine will be OK. Our first challenge was solved by some hearty splash racking. It's been aged almost 18 months, but in a neutral barrel. So, our ringer, Chris, insisted that we oak it for a couple months with an American oak tank stave. He said it may benefit by an extra layer of nose & taste complexity. So, I have one on the way for my portion. It will be interesting to compare @NorCal 's wine to ours later this year. The copper sulfate had some effect on the wine, but not a night/day miracle like some of the H2S problems we've had before. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this "gift". It would be nice to get a free barrel of wine every year!! :)
 

NorCal

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The biggest issue with the wine is the nose. Tastes pretty darn good. As I was making an early morning Craigslist buy (some Raptor wheels for my F-150) I thought about what to do and it struck me. My Cabernet has the opposite problem; smells great, doesn’t taste all that great. I may try some bench blending this evening.
 
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NorCal

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Bench blending was a fail. The combo taste worse and still had an off smell. @4score picked up his half, I’m going to bottle some (I think it’s fine) and I’ll probably throw some oak on the other carboys. If nothing else, it may pick up some oak smells.
 

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