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Operation Massa Family Red - Muscat-Alicante-Zinfandel

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Ajmassa

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Interesting fermentation so far with this. Out of the roughly 90lbs of whole clusters in there I probably crushed a 1/3 about halfway thru. Tried to get Olivia for some old school stomping— but apparently binge watching The Office with her girlfriend was more important. Go figure.
Plan B was to just use my punchdown tool in the brute but that wasn’t gettin it done. Finally I just fished out clusters to crush and put back in. Punchdown tool only pressed tho- not exactly crushed. Tried to improvise and ceaned up a garden tiller but still wasn’t crushing properly. (Before any gasps- I cleaned the hell out of it and coated in silicon spray. Plus after seeing how the fam made wine you do get a unique perspective)
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Eventually I said screw it. Just dumped thru the manual crusher right back into the brute. Did bucket of fished clusters and another of skins/stems/berries just to get some of those loose whole berries which were everywhere.
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Sunday was at .998 and transferred free run. Left the cap and used the pvc racking cane filter pipe (GHP) to get a full demi from 30gal of super thick must. Mashed up the remaining skins a with a 2x4 to crush some berries. Covered up the skins with plastic, and covered brute with towel and lid. Was at the 16gal mark. (17 this morning). Will press today.67C41E49-2033-49AC-8880-5E480F6689B6.jpeg3837B506-E66C-4A3F-8FFB-2390F1CB8A45.jpeg
Now I’ve done the ‘plastic skins cover/next day press’ a bunch of times and I always transfer under 1.000. (Actually think it’s helped and my pressed wine consistently tastes better than the free run before mixing) But never had it still active like this before. The demi is bubbling like crazy-not just the typical mlf activity. And the skins in the brute are still forming a damn cap!— or as much of a cap its able to form at least. I suppose I can attribute this to whole cluster- but then again SG doesn’t lie. Both the free run and skins at .998 and chugging away is surprising.
As long as this is active I wonder if it’s beneficial to just let it go and hold off on pressing till it chills out. Expecting another 5-6gal of wine out of the 16gal of slop.
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Ajmassa

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View attachment 66435

Your gravity defying carboy is giving me anxiety...
Lol! Luckily she survived. I love that carboy too. Smooth sided 7gal and glass is real thick. I didn’t even notice the overhang till I went to post.
I did however suffer one casualty this week with a 5gal. I use 4” pvc pipe couplings as an upside-down drying stand. They sit well—-but not secure or anything. Little bump and it was a goner. Been drying this way for a while. 1st accident. Collateral damage.
 

AaronSC

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I have been thinking of trying this exact same thing -a half-way carbonic maceration with whole, uncrushed clusters on the bottom and covered with crushed/stemmed grapes to make it anaerobic. I was reading that a lot of wineries in southern France started using CM on grapes like Carignan and it made a heck of a difference in the fruitiness of the wine. I didn't get to try it this year so I'm glad I can see what happens based on your results. Doing a full CM is way beyond my means -I think it requires a lot of grapes and a tank pumped full of carbon dioxide.
 

Ajmassa

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Transferred free run Sunday and left 16gal of active skins under plastic overnight. Pressed Monday. Just barely fit in a #35 basket. With the fruit fly nonsense I decided to wrap the basket and it worked great. Got about 6gal, let sit for a while, then fluffed up for another push. 0C6080BA-497F-4C0B-AC3F-354C75886598.jpegF63FD565-D7EB-42BD-A439-361D72C9B4AB.jpeg

I picked up a fire pit poker at a flea market for this exact purpose. Pomace fluff is a tough job (Idea courtesy of @NorCal). Worked better than I thought. Got another 2.5gal. BB8D0F8A-1BBB-4480-AC58-A3FFE7BC0FC9.jpeg

The initial 6gal of pressing was dirty as hell. Enzymes did well. A lot made it through and not surprisingly had the grossest gross lees I’ve ever encountered. Normally the lees builds up the sides appearing thicker than actual. Not the case here. Some serious lees. Racked the press Thursday.
288lbs got me 28gal must. (Brix lowering got me to 30gal). yielded >70% — 22gal.
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Ajmassa

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Well the nice purple color looks good; it looks like you extracted everything including the tar and feathers. ;)
Yes. I’m super happy about the color. It’s dry at .995 SG. And incredibly surprised to somehow see a favorable ph of 3.59! I’ll take it Had a glass leftover. Not what I expected. Sucker is hot! Tannic & high octane, attacks the mouth and the throat in a promising kinda way. Watered back to 1.104 down to .995 so it’s at minimum 15%abv (not accounting for juice from high brix clusters adding to abv).
*Free run .996 sg 3.64ph still actively bubbling away
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Some fruit is there upfront but loses the battle easily. MLF, time, and oak hopefully bring it together. Expected the whole cluster/carbonic maceration to help calm it down. No way to know but I assume would have been much more exaggerated without it. Not to mention all those stems. That “homemade kick/bite” is certainly there. I enjoy it. Others don’t. An acquired taste I suppose. I don’t want to lose it, just want less of a punch to the face. Optimistic for this wine. Might be a baby maker
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Ajmassa

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Well the nice purple color looks good; it looks like you extracted everything including the tar and feathers. ;)
And I was kinda forced to press it all. The skins/whole berries/whole clusters/remaining wine/stems/seeds/gross lees were all mixed up together. Especially after I tried crushing berries manually before pressing with the 2x4. Tar & feathers and all.
Que sera, sera.

(Should note that the resulting volumes allowed me to keep free and press separated. Tasting notes are of pressed wine)
 
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Boatboy24

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Transferred free run Sunday and left 16gal of active skins under plastic overnight. Pressed Monday. Just barely fit in a #35 basket. With the fruit fly nonsense I decided to wrap the basket and it worked great. Got about 6gal, let sit for a while, then fluffed up for another push. View attachment 66626View attachment 66629

I picked up a fire pit poker at a flea market for this exact purpose. Pomace fluff is a tough job (Idea courtesy of @NorCal). Worked better than I thought. Got another 2.5gal. View attachment 66627

The initial 6gal of pressing was dirty as hell. Enzymes did well. A lot made it through and not surprisingly had the grossest gross lees I’ve ever encountered. Normally the lees builds up the sides appearing thicker than actual. Not the case here. Some serious lees. Racked the press Thursday.
288lbs got me 28gal must. (Brix lowering got me to 30gal). yielded >70% — 22gal.
View attachment 66628View attachment 66630
Just had a 2nd look at this and wondering if the carboy in the last pic has a crack. May be worth a look.
 

Ajmassa

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Just had a 2nd look at this and wondering if the carboy in the last pic has a crack. May be worth a look.
You mean on the right side of the word “press” written? That looks substantial. Would be tough to miss.

.....Just inspected whole thing. Was an awkward reflection on the pic. Hard to ‘prove it’ with another pic though. Full carboys are just big round distorted mirrors to the camera. Appreciate the heads up.
(Bet your house is smelling absolutely wonderful at this point!)21623008-C9B0-46B8-929D-38FAA0828C0E.jpeg9CB46D12-076D-496E-8F82-FD4C345899CC.jpeg
 

Boatboy24

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I was looking at roughly the 5 o'clock position from that writing. Thought it might have been that, but figured 'better safe than sorry'. ;)

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Ajmassa

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I was looking at roughly the 5 o'clock position from that writing. Thought it might have been that, but figured 'better safe than sorry'. ;)

View attachment 66718
Ahh. Edge of the table reflection. You can see the same edge in all 3 in that last pic. Smooth, wider carboy the reflection is more horizontal. The 2 6gals next to it of smaller diameter the edge’s curves are more vertical.
Yep. Better safe than sorry! And it’s appreciated. Now, back to the couch.
 

Jbu50

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Some fruit is there upfront but loses the battle easily. MLF, time, and oak hopefully bring it together. Expected the whole cluster/carbonic maceration to help calm it down. No way to know but I assume would have been much more exaggerated without it. Not to mention all those stems. That “homemade kick/bite” is certainly there. I enjoy it. Others don’t. An acquired taste I suppose. I don’t want to lose it, just want less of a punch to the face. Optimistic for this wine. Might be a baby maker
Are you noticing any bitterness (presumably from the stems)?
 

Ajmassa

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Are you noticing any bitterness (presumably from the stems)?
Been goin by smell, I haven’t really properly tasted yet aside from some of the heavy press directly after pressing. Not a good representation. I left the heavy lees for a few days and noticed hints of a sulphur/fart smell. Now a couple days after splash racking its completely gone and smells extremely pleasant/healthy.

What I did taste though im not sure I’d call it bitter. Idk it’s always so difficult describing tastes. My ‘Just a guy’ title is not for show. I don’t frequent any wine scene type things and don’t know all the proper terms or if my descriptions even make sense. Plus I lack a good vocabulary
Bitter’ to me is that acidic taste left on your tongue from a high acid wine and I’m able to detect it right away—same for dullness from lacking acid . But the sharpness present here comes later. Its not acidic. Its heavier like part of the tannin makeup. It’s like - I take a sip. Get the fruit right away. Great fruitiness actually. And acid seems balanced with it. All good.... . All good ...all good.....—-then BAM! The back end comes on like a freight train. Tannin engulfs the entire mouth & tongue. Comes in sharp. (Stems?). And high abv enhances it all giving more “umph”. Followed by the very evident dryness in the finish.
At the very worst I’ll get some fun blends out if it.
 

Ajmassa

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I like an early test to have as a progress comparison for later. Usually this baseline test already shows near completion— this ones no different.

what’s interesting though is the other wines I tested. I had 2 other ferments goin and tried to hold off to inoculate all together but they got ahead of me. Ended up adding VP41 at 3/4 thru on the zin and 1/2 way on the Franc. Main batch inocculated at 1st punchdown. And tested a rosé from spring with no ML added.
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Chroma shows:
main batch free & press (start of AF inocc) - No malic spot .
zin (late AF inocc) -bright malic spot
Franc (mid AF inocc) -faint malic spot
Rosé (no inocc) - no malic spot

Glad I put the acid standards on there b/c there’s some other spots that could be confusing otherwise. Test directly shows the earlier ML was added the faster mlf went. Haven’t raised temps, stirred or added nutrients to them yet but will now.

————————————-
The rosé however is a curveball. Last test mid July showed a malic spot still. Was sulphited but I never got around to adding lysozyme as recommended by @Boatboy24. I know. I know.😞

6gal carboy at 3.52ph
1gal jug at 3.49. The jug tastes better. I suspect carboy went thru mlf, jug did not. (Testing now)
Anyone ever try to undo an mlf by adding back malic acid before? Think I’m going to try.
Mlf’d rosé tastes good but the jug has more balls and is much more the style we prefer. The Mrs is my harshest critic and always keeps it real. She pointed it out and I agreed. Color also gained a little orange tint in the carboy (jug is less orange) but still happy with my 1st attempt 6mos in. “Malbec Blanc” needs just a little extra tweak. @cmason1957 @CDrew 2E3638A9-19AA-4DA5-83BC-3B3AB3E49389.jpeg
 
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