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Syrah from Carneros

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Luse_Cellar

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Syrah and Grenache from Carneros

So this morning I picked about 140lbs of Syrah from Carneros to make my first wine. While this is my first wine, I am currently going to school for enology and have worked harvest in a cellar before. I also grew up around winemaking but this will be the first wine that I actually make all the decisions on. At any rate, it's cold soaking with about 35ppm KMBS, 5lbs dry ice, and some medium toast oak chips currently. In a few days I will add some DAP and some fermaid before inoculating with RP15. Will go through primary mostly whole-cluster but some hand de-stemming will happen every punchdown depending on how things are tasting. Cap will be punched down 2-3 times a day in the primary fermenter (32ga Brute) until almost dry then pressed off and put to french oak for ML and aging. Pretty excited to see how my theoretical knowledge pays off in the real world.

 
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Treeman

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Looks great! I'm curious to follow a thread on whole-cluster ferment. If you can, Please try to elaborate your impressions of the stems through out the process.

I.e. What tastes are you evaluating during punchdowns to determine if/when you will remove some stems.
 

zadvocate

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Possibly a dumb question, so you do not crush at all? Just put The whole cluster in?
 

Luse_Cellar

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Looks great! I'm curious to follow a thread on whole-cluster ferment. If you can, Please try to elaborate your impressions of the stems through out the process.

I.e. What tastes are you evaluating during punchdowns to determine if/when you will remove some stems.
Thank you! I haven't quite decided why I'm doing a whole cluster ferment and I would have preferred the rachis to be a little bit more lignified (brown/woody) but I think it will be OK. I'll be sure to update as fermentation goes on.

Possibly a dumb question, so you do not crush at all? Just put The whole cluster in?
There is no such thing as a dumb question! Basically I put the whole clusters in straight out of the picking bins, and they will stay pretty whole until I start doing punchdowns. I'm going to have to be careful to not break the stems up a bunch or else I will get a tannic nightmare but we'll see what happens. I'm leaving them whole for a few reasons. For one, they had to sit in my closed brute in the back of my truck for a few hours in 90* sun, so I wanted to keep the berries as intact as possible to avoid any unknown microbes from taking off. For two, I'm hopeful that a small percentage of berries will stay intact until pressing and that there will be enough CO2 for them to partially go through carbonic maceration (this more than likely won't happen but maybe I'll get lucky). Additionally, I want to avoid harsh tannin extraction from the seeds, and seeing as how I don't have a crusher/de-stemmer it was gonna be difficult to crush without breaking open some seeds. This is also why I'm pressing off early and doing a cold soak: the cold soak gives me a few days of aqueous extraction which doesn't pull much of anything out of the seeds, meaning by the time I'm close to the end of fermentation I will have plenty of skin extraction. Then, I can press off early to get the seeds away from the ethanol and avoid extracting too much from them. I'm treating this Syrah similarly to how many producers treat Pinot, mostly because I tend to enjoy "pretty" wines more than big wines.
 

zadvocate

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Please do update often I'm very curious about this. What do you mean by big and pretty? Just curious what your definition of those are. Thanks
 

Luse_Cellar

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Please do update often I'm very curious about this. What do you mean by big and pretty? Just curious what your definition of those are. Thanks
I will! There isn't anything for me to update with right now as it's just cold soaking currently so there really isn't anything happening but soon enough I will inoculate and then it will start getting interesting. I'm really excited to see how it shapes up as fermentation starts going. I'm a little worried about H2S since I don't have the means to add much oxygen to the must and Syrah is known to have sulphide tendencies... I'm hoping it will work out OK though.

Hmm well this is a good point, most of the ways I go about explaining this are rather left up to interpretation. "Pretty" to me is like a nice lighter-style 100% Pinot, with a fruit-forward style, mostly neutral oak aging with a small percentage of new French oak, not real tannic but the tannin that is there is well integrated. A long finish but not a very offensive wine overall. And by the way I say 100% Pinot because many commercial Pinots have a good portion of Cab, Alicante Bouchet, Merlot, or some other heavier red varietal added to them to bump up color and tannin.

"Big" to me would be mostly the way that many Cab Sauvs are made: 15-16% alcohol, lots of new (and often American) oak, so much tannin that your mouth feels like sandpaper, and a relatively short finish but overall a very offensive wine. Most cabs from Napa are made in this style, and I have to say I've hardly ever liked most of the ones I've tried. That being said, my assumption is that these kind of wines need to age quite a long time before they will be good and maybe I haven't had them in the right setting. I'm not sure if that really translates across text properly but this is how I view things.
 
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zadvocate

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Thanks that makes perfect sense to me. Personally I like both types, pinots pretty and my cabs big. I'm newish to wine and still learning. I was in Sonoma this summer and tried a lot of very good Pinot so I have some good point of reference. Making my first wine from real grapes this year and starting with a cab and a Zin/PS field blend. Look forward to your future posts. Thank you.
 

stickman

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Just curious if you have the brix, pH, and TA for the must? Did you happen to look at seed color? The grapes look very nice in the photo.
 

Luse_Cellar

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Thanks that makes perfect sense to me. Personally I like both types, pinots pretty and my cabs big. I'm newish to wine and still learning. I was in Sonoma this summer and tried a lot of very good Pinot so I have some good point of reference. Making my first wine from real grapes this year and starting with a cab and a Zin/PS field blend. Look forward to your future posts. Thank you.
Awesome, sometimes I'm pretty unsure of how to explain things ha. What wineries did you go to, and what were your favorites? That's great, that sounds like fun! I haven't had too many Petite Sirah's but I love Zin. Did you start a topic for your wine?

Just curious if you have the brix, pH, and TA for the must? Did you happen to look at seed color? The grapes look very nice in the photo.
I don't have numbers yet. Preliminary readings looked like 26* brix, pH is around 3.7 and I don't have a titration setup. My dad is the owner/operator of a small winery and is making a little bit of the same fruit, we picked it all at once so he will have all the numbers for me tomorrow for his must which should be just about the same as mine. Seeds are a little bit greener than I would have liked but are mostly brown and have that nice grape-nuts flavor to them that I like to see. I feel like they were ready to be picked, couldn't really have asked for anything better aside from a little browner stems and seeds but the tastes are there and the numbers seem to add up. I'll update tomorrow with the numbers, I'll be inoculating tomorrow as well.
 

zadvocate

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We went a good amount of vineyards but not enough if you ask me. my favorites were phelps, Littorai, and Hartford. I have. It started a topic, I might do that. I pick up my grapes on Friday and I'm excited and nervous. First time using grapes.
 

Luse_Cellar

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We went a good amount of vineyards but not enough if you ask me. my favorites were phelps, Littorai, and Hartford. I have. It started a topic, I might do that. I pick up my grapes on Friday and I'm excited and nervous. First time using grapes.
I can't say I've tried any of these wines except I may have tried a Phelps at one point, can't seem to remember. Well as long as you keep an eye on it, and try to notice any faults before they take off I wouldn't be too worried!

Today was a busy day with the wine, got the measurements for the fruit: pH was 3.75, TA was 5.6, and sugars were 25.3 Brix. I opened the fermenter (trash can) and started hand-destemming the first layer or so of clusters with the help of my girlfriend. I then hand-crushed the whole must up a fair bit trying not to break any stems or crush any seeds. Today was quite warm- 105* F and as such my "cold soak" didn't stay too cool, the must was about 80* by the time I got home from school. I could tell there was a bit of CO2 in the must and it smelled and tasted like it had started to ferment just the slightest amount, but I didn't pick up on any off-flavors or aromas and definitely don't smell any VA so I'm actually pretty happy with that. I've always wanted to try a sequential fermentation and I guess I did just that here by accident. Everything is tasting and smelling really good, and the color is already impressive considering how early on it is.

I adjusted the sugar to a calculated 24.8* Brix with water that I added a calculated amount of tartaric to so that the acid wouldn't be diluted as well. I also calculated an addition of tartaric to bring the pH down to 3.65, but I don't have a pH meter yet so I'm not sure where it's actually at. I also added 100ppm of DAP to try and avoid nitrogen deficiency, but if I start smelling any amount of sulfides I will either add more DAP or add some Fermaid-K. I then dissolved a normal dose of Go-Ferm in 110* water, and let it cool before adding that to the must. After mixing things up and crushing some more berries by hand, I then re-hydrated the RP-15 yeast per Lallemand's protocol and pitched that to the must. Again, I mixed things up by hand and took a hydrometer reading. After temperature compensation, it's at 1.101 Sp. Gravity, or about 24* Brix. I wish I had taken a reading with the hydrometer before I did the water addition, but I'm assuming the ~1* brix discrepancy between my calculated values and the actual result come from the small amount of wild fermentation that happened. It could also have been a bad sample or maybe I added too much water. My only regret is that I didn't add more fruit to the fermenter when we picked, as the top of the fruit is significantly lower than it was before and I could have made more wine, but oh well! I'm feeling pretty good about it on the whole, and I hope it continues to taste as good as it does.
 

Luse_Cellar

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Took these pictures two hours after pitching the yeast, they are very happy. It was really hot today so they had a head start, but they seem to be thriving. Hopefully it stays that way! I'm really impressed with the smell of this must, I'm thinking this is shaping up to be a great wine.

image1.JPG

image2.JPG
 

Steve_M

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Making my first wine from real grapes this year and starting with a cab and a Zin/PS field blend.
Interesting, I too have a field blend of 70% PS 30% OVZ. Day three in primary, the color is blowing me away compared to the 50% Merlot, 30% Cab S. and 20% Cab Franc!
 

zadvocate

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Looking good! Luse.

My field blend was going to be 90% Zinfandel and 10% PS But since I was buying three lugs of Zinfandel and had to buy one lug of PS just made it 7525. I will get it all started this weekend.
 

Luse_Cellar

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Looking good! Luse.

My field blend was going to be 90% Zinfandel and 10% PS But since I was buying three lugs of Zinfandel and had to buy one lug of PS just made it 7525. I will get it all started this weekend.
Thank you!

That sounds like fun, I bet it will be great.

Going into making this wine I was anticipating low fermentation temps and a slow fermentation with minimal extraction as a result. Temps have been sitting around 80 F and I'm already down to 17.5 Brix (1.072 Sp. Gr), was at 22 (1.091) this morning. I was anticipating adding some DAP or Fermaid-K at around 17 as they reccomend adding 1/3 way through fermentation but I think I'm gonna hold off until tomorrow afternoon and will probably do a small dose. There seems to be plenty of extraction, with great color, and the flavors are starting to develop quite a bit. Don't have a hint of sulfides but I wouldn't expect to yet anyways. Hoping it will start to slow down a bit soon, don't want a super fast fermentation.
 

Luse_Cellar

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These yeast are going nuts, it's been 3 days and already the hydrometer is showing 1.021 Sp. Gra. or about 5.5* Brix. I'm assuming that they're going to slow down in the next day or so (otherwise the Syrah would end up being dry the day after tomorrow) but they haven't shown any signs of slowing up at this point. Temperature has stayed around 80* F the whole time, and there seems to be plenty of extraction. Also, the flavors have developed really well, but I can't seem to think that it would be better in the long term for the ferment to take longer. However, I don't know how accurate this really is, perhaps there's more to it than just fermentation time overall.

At any rate, it's developed some very nice flavors and it already has a really great long finish to it so I think maybe the fast fermentation has been OK. I'm pretty sure that I added too much yeast and mis-read the doseage rate, but only by a few grams so I'm not sure how much that would really affect things. Temperature hasn't gotten much over 80* so I guess these yeast may have more nutrients than I calculated. At any rate, I'm interested to see where things go from here. It already has a rather deep color, maybe not quite the inky black that many describe with Syrah but darker than a moderately colored Pinot. I've been continually removing some stems from the must once a day or so, trying to focus my attention more on the green stems than the brown. It has great mouthfeel from what I can gather from the very lees-ey and bubbly tastes I've gotten. I'm really excited to see how it looks and tastes after pressing and then after the first racking. Today was the first day I gave it a really big taste and I'm really impressed honestly. I did get some very finely managed fruit of very high quality, grown by an experienced winemaker (my dad) specifically to make great wine, but at least I haven't messed them up! At any rate, here's a cloudy glass I enjoyed today:

 

Boatboy24

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Your color looks pretty good. I wouldn't worry about it - there are a lot of solids in there that make it look lighter. After you press and the gross lees settle, you'll be surprised at how dark it'll get after just a day or two.
 

JohnT

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You seem to be at "the top of the bell curve".

I do a hot fermentation and activity usually tops up between days 3 and 4.
 

Luse_Cellar

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Your color looks pretty good. I wouldn't worry about it - there are a lot of solids in there that make it look lighter. After you press and the gross lees settle, you'll be surprised at how dark it'll get after just a day or two.
I'm not worried about it, I'm impressed by it! I'm really looking forward to seeing how it looks after the first racking, I think that will be really telling.

You seem to be at "the top of the bell curve".

I do a hot fermentation and activity usually tops up between days 3 and 4.
I'd say so, I'm down to about 2 Brix today, so getting down there. What kind of temperatures do you consider hot, and what kind of yeast and nutrients are you using? I feel as if 80*F isn't that crazy hot for a red wine ferment, and RP-15 isn't a super fast fermenter. I can't figure out why it went so fast, but I'm suspecting that there is or was too much nutrients in one form or another. I guess I'll have to see where things go from here. I haven't noticed any off-flavors, aside from lees but that's to be expected.

I had a bit of a major turning point today: I have a re-cooped medium toast french barrel, which has been used for one vintage, that I was planning on using with this wine. I wasn't sure what the volume of it was, and it didn't say anywhere on the barrel so today I set out to determine the volume. Turns out it's a 20 gallon barrel, but I should only have 11 gallons or so of Syrah. So, after weighing my options, I'm going to pick some Grenache sometime soon after the Syrah is done with primary and out of the fermenter, and ferment it on it's own while I start the Syrah on ML. Then, I will start the Grenache on ML and blend them together into the barrel and have some extra breakdown to top with later on. This means I still get to barrel age the wine, and actually I think it will end up being a style of wine that I'm more interested in than the stand-alone Syrah anyways. I'm happy about this too because I was starting to get sad that this harvest was pretty much over for me.
 

Luse_Cellar

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This morning's punchdown found that we're down to -0.5 Brix, and temperatures are slowly declining. Taste-wise the wine has suddenly become quite noticeably tannic, but I think the tannin will become less harsh as the wine ages in barrel a bit, not to mention gets racked off the gross lees. I'm going to be pressing it off pretty soon here, in the next couple days depending on how fermentation keeps moving from here on out. It's interesting pulling stems out of must because they become so darkly colored from the wine, but it's difficult trying to pull berries off of the stems. It's really time consuming to do as well. I think I may try and have the grenache I get de-stemmed, we'll see.
 

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