Operation Massa Family Red - Muscat-Alicante-Zinfandel

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celladwella

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Transferred and pressed the other night. Final gravity is ~.996. I used my pvc ‘gajillion hole’r’ within a zip-tied nylon bag. Fastened a better base to the pipe this time. Could not have went any smoother. Got about 16gal pumping w/o needing to shift or adjust anything. Filled the demi and 1/4 of the 6.5gal carboy. Loaded skins. Couple more gal of free run. And about 1gal of press. *what was once a huge struggle, separating skins from wine, is now a cakewalk. Love that little DIY tool.
Much lighter color than expected. But as I finished working the demi had started to settle showing the color I anticipated. Looks like it will be higher than average lees loss too. We’ll see. Racking off in a couple days.
Everybody digs pictures. So here’s a few from pressing.
-1st pic is all the cleaning and prep work. Regardless of making an ideal sink setup- cleaning and prepping is still a huge pain in the ass!View attachment 51177

-A couple pics of the ‘gajillion hole’r’ at work.
View attachment 51178
View attachment 51179

-couple action shots of my press
View attachment 51180
View attachment 51181

-the yield
View attachment 51182
Ajmassa5983 I sent you a pm.
 

Ajmassa

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Ok now. First off quick disclaimer — I’m kinda drunk. So ya know.. grain of salt and all that.
I gotta admit I’ve been pretty busy and had gotten a little lazy keeping tabs on the wine - and even lazier big picture- I’ve got some wine at 15 months just aging ready to bottle for a while now.
So tonight ran some tests and sampled* I think 8 different wines. No real duds and even a few gems. I’ll take it!
But I’ll stay on topic. The old school family red. Couple months in now. Got 15gal w/o MLf and 6gal w/ MLf. Clockin in at 3.5 and 3.6(MLf).
I sampled this one last after some new cab, some Malbec from barrel& carboy, Sauv blanc, Syrah, Tuscan, chateuneff du pape etc etc. so was all over the place with the taste buds.
But yo— all I gotta say is MAKE THIS WINE! It’s so different than a standard red. There’s a lot of flavor going on with that Muscat base. And just really really enjoyable. As soon as I tasted it i thought “yep. That’s it. That’s exactly what I remember”. But better. (Since I actually learned myself some since it was last made from juice!) and also since we never aged it too much it’s already close to that point.
Definitely a noticeable difference from MLf to no mlf. I wish I could describe it better than this. But the non MLf was just less harsh- less of a kick. But still not gonna MLf the demi. Because I kinda like the kick. And will see how they age differently. Both equally enjoyable.
I say “make this wine” for a bunch of reasons. It’s not typical- which is fun. Lots of flavor but easy drinkin- perfect with any meal. Whether Big red or sweeter red lovers- both can enjoy it.
It was cheap. (Cheapest grapes available to me) and it was easy. No BS involved. I bumped sugar. That was it. And I know the "Italian family" red wines get a bad rap. Like it’s “a table wine” or something. But whatever. It’s good. And It drinks young. I wish I had a better vocabulary to describe it in more detail. On the high side of medium bodied now. Dry on the tongue and finish. But with a sweet/fruity “Muscat-ish” undertone throughout that just kinda works. Pretty sure you could toss any similar blend together and it would end up finding itself.
This one was
45% Muscat
30% Alicante
25% Zinfandel

Probably bottling by around March I think. Salutè
 
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Ajmassa

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Sounds good!

In addition, I will say, for a man who says that his post is written while drunk, you did quite well! It was coherent and I did not notice any misspellings. I grade your liver at A to A+ :)
I believe the correct term should have been “buzzing” [emoji6] even managed to do some lbs to % math too!
 

celladwella

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Ok now. First off quick disclaimer — I’m kinda drunk. So ya know.. grain of salt and all that.
I gotta admit I’ve been pretty busy and had gotten a little lazy keeping tabs on the wine - and even lazier big picture- I’ve got some wine at 15 months just aging ready to bottle for a while now.
So tonight ran some tests and sampled* I think 8 different wines. No real duds and even a few gems. I’ll take it!
But I’ll stay on topic. The old school family red. Couple months in now. Got 15gal w/o MLf and 6gal w/ MLf. Clockin in at 3.5 and 3.6(MLf).
I sampled this one last after some new cab, some Malbec from barrel& carboy, Sauv blanc, Syrah, Tuscan, chateuneff du pape etc etc. so was all over the place with the taste buds.
But yo— all I gotta say is MAKE THIS WINE! It’s so different than a standard red. There’s a lot of flavor going on with that Muscat base. And just really really enjoyable. As soon as I tasted it i thought “yep. That’s it. That’s exactly what I remember”. But better. (Since I actually learned myself some since it was last made from juice!) and also since we never aged it too much it’s already close to that point.
Definitely a noticeable difference from MLf to no mlf. I wish I could describe it better than this. But the non MLf was just less harsh- less of a kick. But still not gonna MLf the demi. Because I kinda like the kick. And will see how they age differently. Both equally enjoyable.
I say “make this wine” for a bunch of reasons. It’s not typical- which is fun. Lots of flavor but easy drinkin- perfect with any meal. Whether Big red or sweeter red lovers- both can enjoy it.
It was cheap. (Cheapest grapes available to me) and it was easy. No BS involved. I bumped sugar. That was it. And I know the "Italian family" red wines get a bad rap. Like it’s “a table wine” or something. But whatever. It’s good. And It drinks young. I wish I had a better vocabulary to describe it in more detail. On the high side of medium bodied now. Dry on the tongue and finish. But with a sweet/fruity “Muscat-ish” undertone throughout that just kinda works. Pretty sure you could toss any similar blend together and it would end up finding itself.
This one was
45% Muscat
30% Alicante
25% Zinfandel

Probably bottling by around March I think. Salutè
This is great. Question when you say Muscat are you talking about the green grape moscato or something different? Where did you get the chateanau du pape? I’m guessing a kit?
 

Ajmassa

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This is great. Question when you say Muscat are you talking about the green grape moscato or something different? Where did you get the chateanau du pape? I’m guessing a kit?
I’m not really sure what you mean. Just the typical white wine-green grape Muscat/moscato/muscato - always assumed the spellings were interchangeable. But who knows- I’m learning new stuff about wine all the time.
IMG_8114.JPGIMG_8115.JPG
And the duPape was a juice bucket actually. I made that impulse decision in the moment- had no idea what I was buying. Just thought it sounded cool. Researched while I waited at loading dock for my “Pope juice”(as they called it)Lol
Grenache base with like 20 other potential varietals? Sounds good to me! And I also tossed in some merlot, cab, & Sangiovese grapes from my Tuscan blend I was doing that day.
Will be drinking that one with the family over The holidays most likely (just gotta make time to bottle)
 

Mac60

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Ok now. First off quick disclaimer — I’m kinda drunk. So ya know.. grain of salt and all that.
I gotta admit I’ve been pretty busy and had gotten a little lazy keeping tabs on the wine - and even lazier big picture- I’ve got some wine at 15 months just aging ready to bottle for a while now.
So tonight ran some tests and sampled* I think 8 different wines. No real duds and even a few gems. I’ll take it!
But I’ll stay on topic. The old school family red. Couple months in now. Got 15gal w/o MLf and 6gal w/ MLf. Clockin in at 3.5 and 3.6(MLf).
I sampled this one last after some new cab, some Malbec from barrel& carboy, Sauv blanc, Syrah, Tuscan, chateuneff du pape etc etc. so was all over the place with the taste buds.
But yo— all I gotta say is MAKE THIS WINE! It’s so different than a standard red. There’s a lot of flavor going on with that Muscat base. And just really really enjoyable. As soon as I tasted it i thought “yep. That’s it. That’s exactly what I remember”. But better. (Since I actually learned myself some since it was last made from juice!) and also since we never aged it too much it’s already close to that point.
Definitely a noticeable difference from MLf to no mlf. I wish I could describe it better than this. But the non MLf was just less harsh- less of a kick. But still not gonna MLf the demi. Because I kinda like the kick. And will see how they age differently. Both equally enjoyable.
I say “make this wine” for a bunch of reasons. It’s not typical- which is fun. Lots of flavor but easy drinkin- perfect with any meal. Whether Big red or sweeter red lovers- both can enjoy it.
It was cheap. (Cheapest grapes available to me) and it was easy. No BS involved. I bumped sugar. That was it. And I know the "Italian family" red wines get a bad rap. Like it’s “a table wine” or something. But whatever. It’s good. And It drinks young. I wish I had a better vocabulary to describe it in more detail. On the high side of medium bodied now. Dry on the tongue and finish. But with a sweet/fruity “Muscat-ish” undertone throughout that just kinda works. Pretty sure you could toss any similar blend together and it would end up finding itself.
This one was
45% Muscat
30% Alicante
25% Zinfandel

Probably bottling by around March I think. Salutè
AJ, I have always used a little Muscat in my Family Zinfandel typically its only 5-6% however this year I dropped it down to 2-1/2 % you still can taste it in the wine but its just a hint really give it a nice taste.
Muscat has a very distinct flavor I agree with you its a fantastic everyday drinking wine, goes with everything.
Mike
 

celladwella

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I’m not really sure what you mean. Just the typical white wine-green grape Muscat/moscato/muscato - always assumed the spellings were interchangeable. But who knows- I’m learning new stuff about wine all the time.
View attachment 52221View attachment 52222
And the duPape was a juice bucket actually. I made that impulse decision in the moment- had no idea what I was buying. Just thought it sounded cool. Researched while I waited at loading dock for my “Pope juice”(as they called it)Lol
Grenache base with like 20 other potential varietals? Sounds good to me! And I also tossed in some merlot, cab, & Sangiovese grapes from my Tuscan blend I was doing that day.
Will be drinking that one with the family over The holidays most likely (just gotta make time to bottle)
Okay yes I know which one variety that is have a great Thanksgiving
 

Ajmassa

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Just a little update on this wine


I’ve had 8 of the 20 gal in a barrel since Christmas. Went down to sulphite and top up tonight so I did a little tasting as well.


2 months in this Hungarian barrel with 1 previous 10 week run of another wine under its belt. Couldn’t be more pleased.

The Muscat previously took up the majority of the profile but now it seems to have really fallen into better balance. I mean, it’s still very much there, but now able to appreciate the other aspects of the wine as well.

It went dry but the muscat adds a perceived sweetness to it— not too much though and extremely enjoyable. Color and clarity seems right on point too. Looking forward to see what another 2 months does.

C5C20166-C32B-45D0-ACAE-7AC4B1020EBF.jpeg C9DCC96F-BF2A-476E-95BF-B26E51EB23C7.jpeg
 

mainshipfred

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Just a little update on this wine


I’ve had 8 of the 20 gal in a barrel since Christmas. Went down to sulphite and top up tonight so I did a little tasting as well.


2 months in this Hungarian barrel with 1 previous 10 week run of another wine under its belt. Couldn’t be more pleased.

The Muscat previously took up the majority of the profile but now it seems to have really fallen into better balance. I mean, it’s still very much there, but now able to appreciate the other aspects of the wine as well.

It went dry but the muscat adds a perceived sweetness to it— not too much though and extremely enjoyable. Color and clarity seems right on point too. Looking forward to see what another 2 months does.

View attachment 53639 View attachment 53640
Looks good AJ, it seems like you got the barrel to stop leaking as well.
 

Ajmassa

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Update on our old “Family Red” muscat/Alicante/Zinfandel field blend.

I bottled this wine around Christmas. Blended in ~15% of some 2018 cab I made too. But even with the cab the fruity muscat base wouldn’t budge. Not what I set out to make but good nonetheless.

fast forward to now.
I never found myself reaching for this one. Then last wknd someone popped a cork late night. ..... after tasting it I thought something was wrong.
We had been drinking all night so thought maybe my taste buds were lying to me— Or maybe I mislabeled a bottle (which easily happens when ya don’t use labels) . Because this was NOT the same wine! I needed to confirm this another day while sober.
Popped another cork tonight and I’ll be goddamned! This wine has fallen into place moreso than I realized it even could!
No more muscat overtaking the profile. Now mellowed out and living in harmony with the others. Well balanced. Smooth drinking
This was EXACTLY what I set out to make. Took some time but now at 1.5 yrs this is a wine I look forward to drinking and giving out!
fullsizeoutput_3fcc.jpeg
 
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Rocky

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Update on our old “Family Red” muscat/Alicante/Zinfandel field blend.

View attachment 61735
Hey, AJ, I read through this thread with great interest because we used to make a similar wine back in the day when my father, uncles and grandfather all worked together. We did a co-fermented blend of 75% Zinfandel (or Alicante depending on the quality of the grapes but most often Zin) and 25% Muscat. We would make the wine in early October when the grapes came in from California (we were in Pittsburgh at the time). The wine would be in the working barrels for 10 days or so and then transferred to 53 gallon whiskey barrels to finish fermentation. We would cap those barrels in early December and the wine would be drinkable around Easter but much better in a year or so. Once we opened a barrel, we did not "bottle" the wine, we "jugged" it in 1 gallon jugs, with a cork, with wax melted on top of the cork and with plastic tape over the corks. We stored the jugs in a special corner of the basement that was completely under ground and packed sand around the bottles to stack them and keep them at a cooler temperature.

I have been able to make a wine that approaches our family wine using Zinfandel and Muscat juice buckets or kits. I am pleased to hear you had great success.
 

ibglowin

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Well done AJ! Time and or procrastination is your friend in wine making quite often!

Update on our old “Family Red” muscat/Alicante/Zinfandel field blend.

This was EXACTLY what I set out to make. Took some time but now at 1.5 yrs this is a wine I look forward to drinking and giving out!
 

Ajmassa

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Hey, AJ, I read through this thread with great interest because we used to make a similar wine back in the day when my father, uncles and grandfather all worked together. We did a co-fermented blend of 75% Zinfandel (or Alicante depending on the quality of the grapes but most often Zin) and 25% Muscat. We would make the wine in early October when the grapes came in from California (we were in Pittsburgh at the time). The wine would be in the working barrels for 10 days or so and then transferred to 53 gallon whiskey barrels to finish fermentation. We would cap those barrels in early December and the wine would be drinkable around Easter but much better in a year or so. Once we opened a barrel, we did not "bottle" the wine, we "jugged" it in 1 gallon jugs, with a cork, with wax melted on top of the cork and with plastic tape over the corks. We stored the jugs in a special corner of the basement that was completely under ground and packed sand around the bottles to stack them and keep them at a cooler temperature.

I have been able to make a wine that approaches our family wine using Zinfandel and Muscat juice buckets or kits. I am pleased to hear you had great success.
Interesting story Rocky. I love hearing about different family traditions and Old Style techniques used. 1 gal jugs sounds perfect for those big Sunday family dinners.

Between the time we had a bottle last wknd and last night my brother called me to tell me he had just opened another one.
He said “it tastes like a much smoother version of when dad used to make it— without that homemade kick - as we would call it.”

I unknowingly went very heavy on the muscat not realizing how powerful that grape can be. So I’m thrilled to see it fall into place. ive heard so many different variations of this blend. It almost seems like ya can’t go wrong. by the time I reached my 20’s the fam had abandoned grapes and used all juice. So it was a fun little throwback to try and recreate.
 
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Ajmassa

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Well done AJ! Time and or procrastination is your friend in wine making quite often!
sure is! My signature quote thing from @Johnd was there for a good reason! Not sure if still able to be seen.

“That’s when you get more carboys and make more wine to the point you get overwhelmed. Then as you struggle to find time your wine just ages & improves. Procrastinators this is your hobby!”
 

Rocky

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View attachment 61756

With my keen eye for detail, I notice that this photo has been altered since I saw it yesterday. I realize and respect that some people are sensitive to the slang used for Italians but it has never bothered me. When I saw the original photo, I got a chuckle out of the appellation.
 

Boatboy24

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View attachment 61756

With my keen eye for detail, I notice that this photo has been altered since I saw it yesterday. I realize and respect that some people are sensitive to the slang used for Italians but it has never bothered me. When I saw the original photo, I got a chuckle out of the appellation.
There was a big kerfuffle over someone using that term for that wine a few years back. IIRC, it was started by someone who had no connection to the term, but was being offended for others. 🤣 Ultimately, I think a decision was made to err on the side of caution in order to keep things respectful to all.
 

Ajmassa

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View attachment 61756

With my keen eye for detail, I notice that this photo has been altered since I saw it yesterday. I realize and respect that some people are sensitive to the slang used for Italians but it has never bothered me. When I saw the original photo, I got a chuckle out of the appellation.
Those eyes ain’t so bad for an old timer! ;)
When I first became aware of this issue that @Boatboy24 already explained I admit I thought it was ridiculous and put up a little fight. I’m part Italian. From a big ol stereotypical Italian family. this term is just a type of wine to us. No more no less. Never even viewed it as possibly being offensive.

But we live in a different world now unfortunately. Everyone is offended by everything. Even scared of offending looters & rioters so we have to call them “protestors”. Skin thickness is devolving. So I abide by the rules. I don’t wanna deal with blowback from something as insignificant as this nor do I want moderators to have to deal with anything either.
When you read “Family Red” you know what we’re talkin about. @CDrew ’s family even started calling it “IAR” (Italian American Red) wine. Sorta like doubling down on the political correctness lol.
 
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