Tiny Bubbles, In my Cabernet Sav?

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Sing it like Don Ho! Don’t know that tune? Search for “Tiny Bubbles’ by Don Ho. Jeesh I’m getting older!

I’ve been battling a 2022 Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon 6 gal juice batch for 2 years and tonight just caught a ticking carbonation time bomb.

Started a juice bucket on Apr 16, 2002. It was thin and low ph 3.36. I didn’t add anything special: American oak chips, RC 212 yeast and 2.5 lbs of sugar to kick start it at 1.102 SG. It was a slow ferment and nutrients were added. Added in Malolactic culture and after primary fermentation and secondary (.994 SG), moved to age and finish Malo. In June I racked and added Kmeta and oak cubes. Same in November. In Apr 2023 I racked again and noted how thin it tasted and was ‘meh’ overall. I degassed due to acid and added chestnut tannin and Kmeta’d again.

In Sept ‘23 I racked for bottling. Was disappointed with how thin it was, but had some cherry and oak flavors. It might be drinkable. I added some glycerine to give it some body and a couple ounces of Wine Conditioner to take some of the acidic taste away by sweetening it a bit. Added Pottasium Metabisulfite and bottled.

Onward to Apr 2024, 2 years later, and I pulled the cork and heard a distinctive ‘Pop’ followed by visible CO2 wafting gas. Poured a glass and watched bubbles galore fill the glass and SG testing cylinder (ugh) for a reading. The wine conditioner with Sorbate in it didn’t stop the 2nd ferment and a bottle ferment had begun. it is now SG of 1.00 and it still tastes acidic, thin, cherry, and oaky, but with bubbles. Just like a weak Cab Sav Champagne should taste!😉 I drank half the bottle, switched to Barbados Rum, and am now considering 1) pulling the corks on 25 bottles, dumping to a bucket and adding Sorbate and Kmeta, put in a carboy and let it sit for a week then rebottle, or 2) dump it.

Thoughts?
 

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My thoughts… I wouldn’t want to dump the bottles. I’d calculate how much Potassium sorbate is needed for all 25 bottles and then add enough cooled boiled water to make a small measured amount of solution , maybe 25 or 50 ml total solution. Prior to this I’d uncork all the bottles and cover them as a group with plastic wrap. Wait say 24 hours (or longer) for the wine to out gas a bit then using a 2ml syringe put either 1 or 2 ml of the solution in each bottle and recork.
First I’d test the affect on ullage adding 1 or 2 ml would have, maybe take an empty bottle and fill with water to where your bottles currently are and add 1 or 2 ml of water. If the ullage is affected enough you may have to remove 1 or 2 ml of wine from each bottle before adding the solution. Also, I’d skip any more k meta and just not let this batch age too long.
One thing for sure about this, no lesson is better remembered than what you’ve lived!
 
My thoughts… I wouldn’t want to dump the bottles. I’d calculate how much Potassium sorbate is needed for all 25 bottles and then add enough cooled boiled water to make a small measured amount of solution , maybe 25 or 50 ml total solution. Prior to this I’d uncork all the bottles and cover them as a group with plastic wrap. Wait say 24 hours (or longer) for the wine to out gas a bit then using a 2ml syringe put either 1 or 2 ml of the solution in each bottle and recork.
First I’d test the affect on ullage adding 1 or 2 ml would have, maybe take an empty bottle and fill with water to where your bottles currently are and add 1 or 2 ml of water. If the ullage is affected enough you may have to remove 1 or 2 ml of wine from each bottle before adding the solution. Also, I’d skip any more k meta and just not let this batch age too long.
One thing for sure about this, no lesson is better remembered than what you’ve lived!
Excellent thought, Jim. I hadn’t thought of this route. I like the process and no emptying and refilling. I think this would be a good action to take.

There is a third option too, I’ve been informed. At my wine club we were bottling today (Reisling, Vermentino, and Chenin Blanc). Their thoughts were to leave it alone and drink them fast.

I like Jim’s advice a tad better.
 
I wonder if the wine conditioner reignited fermentation. Typically the conditioners have potassium sorbate mixed in, although I am not always sure.

That would be strange though because this forum seems to be of the mindset that yeast cells die around 9-12 months post-fermentation. Based on your post, it looks like you bottled 18 months after fermentation. That would seem to me an anomaly.

I agree with adding back sorbate. Throwing out wine is such a shame!
 
That would be strange though because this forum seems to be of the mindset that yeast cells die around 9-12 months post-fermentation.
I agree with you Rylan that it would be strange, however, in this case Wine Conditioner (with Sorbate) was added prior to bottling due to an attempt to mask the acidic flavor of the wine, not during the aging process. I also added in Sulfite at bottling. I'm not sure what exactly happened, but the Sorbate in the WC just didn't work or there was a need for more Sorbate than what was provided in the WC.

I'm not throwing it out, as even with this wine fault, it is still better than quite a few wines I have drunk (drank?) before.
 
I’m new at responding, so please help educate me if you can..I was under the impression that you don’t add sorbate to red wine. If fermintation has started up again because the weather has warmed up and the so2 has depleted. Wouldn’t you want to open your bottles and let the fermentation finish, especially if there isn’t any off tastes or spells..
 
I’m new at responding, so please help educate me if you can..I was under the impression that you don’t add sorbate to red wine. If fermintation has started up again because the weather has warmed up and the so2 has depleted. Wouldn’t you want to open your bottles and let the fermentation finish, especially if there isn’t any off tastes or spells..

You don't want to add sorbate to red wine that has undergone Malolactic Fermentation. You can (and I have never done this and most don't) if the malolactic fermentation is totally completed. The danger is the interaction between the malolactic bacteria and potassium sorbate can lead to the taste and smell of geraniums, which is considered a horrible thing.
 
I’m new at responding, so please help educate me if you can..I was under the impression that you don’t add sorbate to red wine. If fermintation has started up again because the weather has warmed up and the so2 has depleted. Wouldn’t you want to open your bottles and let the fermentation finish, especially if there isn’t any off tastes or spells..

Typically red wines don’t require back sweetening AND malolactic fermentation. It’s usually one or the other. If I recall, a heavy dose of Kmeta will kill the MLF bacteria. That is why you would not want MLF to extend a great amount of time, but rather finish quickly. Once MLF finishes, then you can start your Kmeta dosings.

Your original question sounds like you bottled the wine when it wasn’t finished fermenting? If so, I would dump all the bottles into a carboy, add Kmeta, keep the carboy topped up, and leave it alone for another 3-6 months.
 
I’m new at responding, so please help educate me if you can..I was under the impression that you don’t add sorbate to red wine. If fermintation has started up again because the weather has warmed up and the so2 has depleted. Wouldn’t you want to open your bottles and let the fermentation finish, especially if there isn’t any off tastes or spells..
Hello Utopia. I've been here for a few years and keep learning something every week. Your impression is mostly correct. If you are making a dry red grape wine (<.998 Specific Gravity) you would not add sorbate...however, if you add any sweetener to the red wine to change the flavor profile like I did, in order to hide the acidic taste, I thought the WC had enough sorbate to stop another fermentation.

You can also stop a fermentation early to hold residual fermentation sugar for a more 'sweet' red wine by stopping the fermentation at 1.002 or 1.004 etc. on your hydrometer...I would have to research the brix count for those numbers.

In my case, I fermented until dry, .994 in my case and then added in some Wine Conditioner and brought it up up 1.003 or somewhere there close. The bottles have picked up a secondary fermentation and the Specific gravity is now at 1.000.

As you know, oxygen is not good for wine so leaving the bottles open to 'air-out' isn't something I really want to do for a long period of time. Lastly, I don't want to finish another ferment as I do want the sweetness to remain.

In regards to MLF and adding sweeteners after the fact, I need to understand that better, as this wine went through MLF months before bottling.
 
Hello Utopia. I've been here for a few years and keep learning something every week. Your impression is mostly correct. If you are making a dry red grape wine (<.998 Specific Gravity) you would not add sorbate...however, if you add any sweetener to the red wine to change the flavor profile like I did, in order to hide the acidic taste, I thought the WC had enough sorbate to stop another fermentation.

You can also stop a fermentation early to hold residual fermentation sugar for a more 'sweet' red wine by stopping the fermentation at 1.002 or 1.004 etc. on your hydrometer...I would have to research the brix count for those numbers.

In my case, I fermented until dry, .994 in my case and then added in some Wine Conditioner and brought it up up 1.003 or somewhere there close. The bottles have picked up a secondary fermentation and the Specific gravity is now at 1.000.

As you know, oxygen is not good for wine so leaving the bottles open to 'air-out' isn't something I really want to do for a long period of time. Lastly, I don't want to finish another ferment as I do want the sweetness to remain.

In regards to MLF and adding sweeteners after the fact, I need to understand that better, as this wine went through MLF months before bottling.
@Mekpdue can I ask what the original gravity of your cab sav was before you added sugar?
 

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