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dmguptill

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I've got a couple Chilean juice buckets and when I tasted them after fermentation they definitely seemed flabby and flat. I tossed them on oak cubes, but I got a pH meter to see where the pH is at and they are both around 3.7-3.8.

Can I safely add tartaric at this point to bring the pH down? What pH should I aim for, or should I just go exclusively by taste? I did a quick bench trial on one and 3.3-3.4 made it seem too tart.

Also, how will post-fermentation-added tartaric affect the aging potential? The one I tried bench trials on is fairly tannic.
 

Johnd

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I've got a couple Chilean juice buckets and when I tasted them after fermentation they definitely seemed flabby and flat. I tossed them on oak cubes, but I got a pH meter to see where the pH is at and they are both around 3.7-3.8.

Can I safely add tartaric at this point to bring the pH down? What pH should I aim for, or should I just go exclusively by taste? I did a quick bench trial on one and 3.3-3.4 made it seem too tart.

Also, how will post-fermentation-added tartaric affect the aging potential? The one I tried bench trials on is fairly tannic.
Dropping your pH a few decimal points with tartaric is pretty easy to do, and quite safe to go down from where you are to the 3.4 - 3.6 range. As far as taste goes, the TA is a better measure of acidity in a wine, as perceived by the taste buds, than pH is. If you have the capability, do a TA test, and if you're at 6 g/L or lower, you probably could stand to raise the TA a bit with some tartaric. Either way, after fermentation is complete, your taste buds are a really good analysis tool to use. Do some bench trials with small, measured quantities, adding progressive doses of tartaric, and see if things improve. Sometimes a wine just pops to life with very little tartaric intervention. Find that happy spot where it's not flabby, not tart/acidic, then duplicate it in the large batch, taking your time, going slow, it's easy to add acid, a bit harder to remove if you overshoot your goal.

Dropping the pH will generally improve the aging ability of the wine, but it depends upon numerous other factors as well, tannins / tannin structure, body, alcohol content, storage conditions, etc.....
 

salcoco

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acid additions should be done after wine is clear and about two months old. the best method is a bench trial. take 10 grams of tartaric and dissolve in 100ml of distilled water. use 100ml sample of wine. add 1 ml to first, 2 ml to the second, 3 ml to the third etc. do taste test. each ml of solution is equal to one gram per liter addition to finished wine.
 

Ajmassa

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Yep- I had same issue last fall. Hard to adjust by taste on baby wine. I waited till MLF finished and I added tartaric. If not doing MLF- like others said- wait a bit. When racked next if looking clear I’d add then. 1g/L tartaric allegedly lowers ph by .1. If not doing trials, add .25g/L at a time and check. Even the pros overshoot accidentally.
Ph too high leaves unprotected- needing a crapload of so2– not ideal.
Reds 3.6 is the sweet spot. If temps drop over the winter as it ages- will healthily drop out tartrate and ph may drop a tick. That’s what ya want. But Same situation on a wine over 3.65- ph would actually raise leaving less acid protection.
 

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