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jgmann67

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I did Merlot, Cab and PV from California grapes this year (Suisun Valley). They all had a sour nose from the beginning. The sour in the PV has faded substantially, and moderately in the other two.

This is a major concern to me and I dread the thought of losing the wine.

Each was dosed and racked after MLF. The pH is good. I haven’t tested the TA, tho.

What could this be? How do I test to be sure? And (my favorite question) how do I make it go away?
 

jgmillr1

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Were the grapes in good shape when you received them? How does the wine taste? Unfortunately the description of having a sour nose isn't a lot to go on.

At this point about all I'm thinking you can do is keep the sulfites up, keep oxygen away from the wine, and hope it fades with time.

Several years ago I received some grapes that were not in great shape and attempted to "save them". The air conditioning in the truck had failed en route, so they were hot and had begun to ferment. On top of that there were many clusters that had been already attacked by fruit flies. Big mistake and I should have refused them. Anyway, I attempted to wash and save the good, sound clusters and made wine with them. However the resulting wine ended up with a sour nose and a hint of sweaty socks. Not exactly descriptors to put on a label. Down the drain it went...
 

jgmann67

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Were the grapes in good shape when you received them? How does the wine taste? Unfortunately the description of having a sour nose isn't a lot to go on.

At this point about all I'm thinking you can do is keep the sulfites up, keep oxygen away from the wine, and hope it fades with time.

Several years ago I received some grapes that were not in great shape and attempted to "save them". The air conditioning in the truck had failed en route, so they were hot and had begun to ferment. On top of that there were many clusters that had been already attacked by fruit flies. Big mistake and I should have refused them. Anyway, I attempted to wash and save the good, sound clusters and made wine with them. However the resulting wine ended up with a sour nose and a hint of sweaty socks. Not exactly descriptors to put on a label. Down the drain it went...
The grapes were in very good shape when I got them; and the wine tastes like it should (except for the sour in my nose as I drink it). I think you're probably right - I'll rack and sulfite the wine again to see if I can get rid of the smell. I was thinking that maybe some air (splash racking) might be a good thing, though.
 

Boatboy24

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I was thinking that maybe some air (splash racking) might be a good thing, though.
Not if its VA. Though I'm pretty sure you'd have a sour taste as well if that were the case.
 

NorCal

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Ok @Boatboy24, that really made me lol. Yea, VA is not going anywhere. You can try to blend it out, but you are often throwing good wine after bad.

However, I’m not convinced it’s VA, because it’s three different batches, unless your winemaking equipment is not being properly sanitized or stored properly.

I would definitely splash rack it and see if it blows off.
 

Boatboy24

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Ok @Boatboy24, that really made me lol. Yea, VA is not going anywhere. You can try to blend it out, but you are often throwing good wine after bad.

However, I’m not convinced it’s VA, because it’s three different batches, unless your winemaking equipment is not being properly sanitized or stored properly.

I would definitely splash rack it and see if it blows off.
I'm not convinced either. But I had 4 batches of Chilean in 2016 that all went south on me. Based on taste/smell, VA is the only thing I can come up with. I'm kicking myself for not sending a sample or two off to a lab for testing, but that whole vintage was just weird. Good numbers to start, good flavor/nose going into secondary. Then, issues with MLF and subsequently horrible, sour tasting/smelling wine. Aerating samples didn't help. The grapes that Jim used are from a source I've used for a few years now and trust. So I don't think they would have been flawed from the start. I'm just throwing out possibilities here. Probably worth taking a sample of each and giving it some air to see if it gets worse.
 

jgmann67

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Thanks. I saw that one.

Last night I racked into clean carboys and dosed with Kmeta. I don't know...maybe I'm just being a nervous nelly.
 

jgmann67

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Personally, I would let it go to vinegar. Put it in attractive bottles. Label it {insert varietal here} wine vinegar Go to your local farmer's market and sell it. Probably will make more than if you tired to sell the wine. ;)
I’m not even sure I have a VA issue. I’m pretty good on hygiene, and I don’t know whether anyone else who got their wines from the same source as me have had problems.

Btw - Results just came back and my second attempted MLF didn’t take (shows no change).
 

cmason1957

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I’m not even sure I have a VA issue. I’m pretty good on hygiene, and I don’t know whether anyone else who got their wines from the same source as me have had problems.

Btw - Results just came back and my second attempted MLF didn’t take (shows no change).
And I have forgotten, did you measure your free and total SO2? Maybe you have to remind me of the history of this wine
 

Boatboy24

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...and my second attempted MLF didn’t take (shows no change).
This story is starting to sound familiar.

Again, I'm not convinced you have VA (or that I did, for that matter).
 

jgmann67

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This story is starting to sound familiar.

Again, I'm not convinced you have VA (or that I did, for that matter).
I’m not really convinced that I have a problem. I started this thread with an “I don’t know.”

I only have one season of fresh grape winemaking under my belt. So I just don’t know...
 

salcoco

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did you add potassium sorbate to these wines and then attempted to do MLF? if so you may be experiencing a germanium smell due to bacteria going after the malic acid.
 
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