Should I Blend?

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Khristyjeff

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I have a Petite Pearl from grapes started on 9-15-20. It's my first from fresh grapes. The pH has held steady around 3.21. Two, 1/2 gal jugs I hold extra in pH reads 3.13/3.15. Basically, this wine has tasted tart from the start.
I tried a malolactic fermentation, but don't believe it worked. I read it could be because of the low pH. I also tried cold crashing this winter but the pH and tart taste remained unchanged. I'm open to further suggestions, but after being inspired by the "Red Blends" Forum, wondered if I might have a blending candidate.
So I have another wine, an RJS En Primeur Australian Cab that is a year old, and to me tastes a little "flabby". Would blending these 2 wines be worth a try? My other options are back-sweetening at bottling or just letting more time work it's magic. I'm only a year into this hobby and have learned so much from the people here, so naturally I come to WMT for suggestions.
By the way, I'm not freaking out about this--this is my fun relaxing hobby that I only have to please my wife, close family and friends. Thanks in advance for your opinions.
 
@Khristyjeff - You're right. The tart taste is certainly from low pH and likely one of the characteristics of the variety. Petite Pearl is typically a blending grape and pairs well with Frontenac, another cold climate grape. I believe there's some success, however, as a single varietal that contains between 5-6% residual sugar. Like you inferred, you could back-sweeten. Pick up some Potassium Sorbate or you'll most likely have a case or two of bottle bombs on your hands.

As far as blending with a kit wine - someone else might weigh in differently, but I would shy away from blending a post MLF wine made from grapes with a kit. But, you could try some bench blending with small quantities to see if you and your family like the results.

Lastly, your PP is only 9 months old. Time is not only your friend, time is wine's best friend. Don't get in a rush.

I hope you're planning another round this fall...
 
I have a Petite Pearl from grapes started on 9-15-20. It's my first from fresh grapes. The pH has held steady around 3.21. Two, 1/2 gal jugs I hold extra in pH reads 3.13/3.15. Basically, this wine has tasted tart from the start.
I tried a malolactic fermentation, but don't believe it worked. I read it could be because of the low pH. I also tried cold crashing this winter but the pH and tart taste remained unchanged. I'm open to further suggestions, but after being inspired by the "Red Blends" Forum, wondered if I might have a blending candidate.
So I have another wine, an RJS En Primeur Australian Cab that is a year old, and to me tastes a little "flabby". Would blending these 2 wines be worth a try? My other options are back-sweetening at bottling or just letting more time work it's magic. I'm only a year into this hobby and have learned so much from the people here, so naturally I come to WMT for suggestions.
By the way, I'm not freaking out about this--this is my fun relaxing hobby that I only have to please my wife, close family and friends. Thanks in advance for your
 
I have been using Petite Pearl for 5 years and haven’t had this issue. Since you are from Northern Illinois and I am in genoa city wi. If you want we could meet up and compare notes and taste some wine.
 
I have tried blending wines, but that does not always give a better result. Bench testing is a good way to find out, then tasting the different blends. Also, I have noticed a strange aftertaste in one of my single variety wine. After a few months now (in the bottle) that strange aftertaste is completely gone and smoothened out.
 
Thanks for all of your good suggestions. I believe I'm going to follow all of them.

I have two, half-gallon bottles of PP so I plan to do test trials with the Cab Sauv EP kit wine, then bottle a few and let them age. Then, I'll head back to the Vineyard this Fall and pick a complimentary wine grape like Frontenac with plans to age and blend some of the PP in the 6 gallon carboy.

Finally, I'll let a little age more on it's own to taste and decide later.

Now this new plan means I need to spend some money on a fruit and wine press that would be a good size for small batch fruit wines and 6 gallon fresh grape wines (since I lost a lot of juice last year by juicing by hand). I'd welcome suggestions on that purchase as well as any thoughts on my revised plan for the Petite Pearl rescue! Thanks again for all your good advice.
 
I don't think that blending is an excellent option for wine lovers.

I think most of the commercially available wines are blends, at least to some extent. 75% of one varietal and you can still call it whatever. One of my friends had a vertical tasting of wine from one winery in California. Five years, if I remember correctly, all Cab Sauvs, all having 2 or 3 other varietals in some small amount, some as little as 1-2%.
 
Last edited:
Reviving this thread to let people know how this story ended.

My wife and I returned to the vineyard in 2021 to pick some complimentary grapes for blending with this tart Petite Pearl. Instead, we ended up bottling Foch and Petite Pearl alone and then blending some with Marquette.
Summary of the Petite Pearl to fix the tart taste is that I tried "cold crash" and MLF with no improvement. One WMT contributor said "it's 2 years old, what's your rush?", so I waited/procrastinated.
The Foch and Marquette had their own problems with rotten smell but only treated with K-Meta and time. Was ready to toss all of them or just bottle and hope for the best so sweetened all to taste and bottled in March 2024. No sorbate added because I was under the impression yeast would die off after this many years--wrong. Fizzy wine after a couple of weeks had me seeking advice on this forum. A couple of bottle explosions later we uncorked all the bottles and heated them to 140F+ to kill the yeast, then rebottled.
I'll call it dumb luck, but after this debacle, the wine is clear and tastes better than at the time of bottling--actually enjoyable to drink.
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