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Help with a sweet Muscat wine

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Cibb

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The wife and I enjoy a nice moscato wine you find at your local store. It is a sweet wine and very similar to the california WE kit. I'm considering toning down the sweetness just a bit when compared to the store but I still want a semi-sweet. I just know the bucket will be 6 gallons nothing more as far as TA, PH, or brix.

I'll need to get a cooling jacket for the fermenter to keep the temps lower as I don't have a cooler room large enough to use.

I have a few questions.

1. I'd like to get a yeast that helps this white and gives it good varietal flavor so any suggestions? I've seen QA23 recommended but open to suggestions
2. I've read the TA should be 6-7g/L
3. Not sure what the ph should be so any recommendations there?
4. What is the proper way to back sweeten a wine. I can save juice and freeze it to add later or mix a sugar solution. Which is recommended and why? Also what sugar would be used? Table sugar or another type?
 

jgmillr1

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I'll need to get a cooling jacket for the fermenter to keep the temps lower as I don't have a cooler room large enough to use
6 gallons won't get that warm. No need to spend money on a cooling jacket. Put a small fan on it if you wish.

1. I'd like to get a yeast that helps this white and gives it good varietal flavor so any suggestions? I've seen QA23 recommended but open to suggestions
QA23 is a nice yeast that helps bring out the fruit notes. Has a tendency for me to stick at a like 11% abv.

2. I've read the TA should be 6-7g/L
Reasonable

3. Not sure what the ph should be so any recommendations there?
Anywhere from 3.1 to 3.4 should be fine. Lower may cause issues with the yeast and high risks oxidation and aromatic loss.

4. What is the proper way to back sweeten a wine. I can save juice and freeze it to add later or mix a sugar solution. Which is recommended and why? Also what sugar would be used? Table sugar or another type?
Be sure to use sorbate and a high sulfite addition. Using held back juice risks introducing yeast but also offers a fresh fruit note. Using granulated sugar in water (aka simple syrup) works well too but it's probably best to boil it for sanitation purposes if you aren't going to sterile filter the wine after adding it.
 

Cibb

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Thanks for the help. So it sounds like you'd agree letting the primary juice ferment dry, sulfite, sorbate then add the other juice to the mix correct?
 

GreenEnvy22

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I make 10-15 gallons of Muscat a year. What jgmillr said is all good. Sometimes I've used sugar to backsweeten, sometimes wine conditioner, and sometimes juice that I had held back and canned. Canning it killed any yeast, so sorbated and then added back in the juice.
 

balatonwine

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jgmillr1

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Start with proper grapes
If only we all lived in regions conducive to growing "proper" vinifera grapes. Cold hardy hybrids (eg. Frontenac) often have biting acidity that requires mitigation and usually some back-sweetening to make a balanced wine.
 

balatonwine

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If only we all lived in regions conducive to growing "proper" vinifera grapes. Cold hardy hybrids (eg. Frontenac) often have biting acidity that requires mitigation and usually some back-sweetening to make a balanced wine.
I find that rather defeatist. Based on that, I think one has the following choices (IMHO):

1) The realist would say: Grow grapes and make wine that matches your local terrior. That means you need not be able to make the wines you like. I would love to grow a great Cabernet Franc, but I can't. Wrong region. So I can never grow or make even a decent Cabernet Franc. So sad. I am SOL. Tough on me. I have to deal with it.

2) The pragmatist would say: Buy grapes from the best wine regions to get the best grapes to make my wine. It is a global economy. Quite doable. If one has the capital the better one is able to get the ideal grapes.

3) The idealist would say: Even if one must go towards heavily augment one's wine, that does not mean one should not be informed of, and be aware of, other options. In other words, even if one works with the lowest common denominator, it does not mean one should not be aware of the fact they can stand up, look upwards, and reach towards the stars. Nor should anyone critique those that give such a vision toward greatness -- even if it is just a dream. For what is a man without his dreams?
 

jgmillr1

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I find that rather defeatist
It is not intended to be defeatist. Rather it is a pragmatic observation that (1) "proper" is a subjective term, (2) regional grapes have their own characteristics that make for their own unique wine, and (3) the winemaker must use all the tools in the tool belt to produce the best expression for each grape.

Likewise new grape varieties are being introduced each year with better wine quality.

Of course one could import grapes into the region, but what is the point of being a local winery that brings in grapes from California? That's like saying your starbucks around the corner makes locally produced coffee
 

balatonwine

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the winemaker must use all the tools in the tool belt to produce the best expression for each grape.
Ah. But you will note, I self classify as a vigneron. Which means "grape grower". To me the ideal wine comes from how the grapes are grown, not the cellar work. :)

Likewise new grape varieties are being introduced each year with better wine quality.
In the USA..... ;)

That is, new varieties is mostly an Americum. Or the manipulation of the grape vines to fit an environment, versus an Eurpeanicum, which I self define as matching grape varieties to the environment and which the Appellation system is based. ;)
 

jgmillr1

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To me the ideal wine comes from how the grapes are grown, not the cellar work.
Indeed, I could not agree more. Under-ripe or poorly grown grapes make for a sad wine that no cellar wizardry can save from mediocrity.

new varieties is mostly an Americum
True, Cornell and Univ of Minnesota have large grapevine breeding programs. Recent varieties have lower acid and better flavors while retaining cold hardiness.

On the Eurpeanicum front, the appellation restrictions unfortunately hamper any improvements. However, while traveling in the Czech Republic last year, I stumbled over the lovely cold-hardy Palava grape. It is a great example of a locally grown grape that makes a fantastic local wine
 

Cibb

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Sweetness is a combination of levels of residual sugar, acidity, tannins and alcohol. Sugars and alcohol enhance a wine's sweetness; acids (sourness) and bitter tannins counteract it.

Start with proper grapes, and do the correct cellar work, and you should not need to back sweeten*. Unless you like an unnatural wine syrup..... ;)

* There are exceptions.
The wife enjoys a sweeter wine so that's the reason to back sweeten. I like a nice crisp wine with a touch more acidity/tartness but the sweetness helps conceal that some.


Any recommendations for fining agents for this white wine?
 

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