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NorCal

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51EE0F92-D739-4909-89F5-DA37770037AE.jpeg In 2016 I made right around 150 gallons, all centered around a GSM blend. The Mourvèdre was a hold over from the year before, but the Syrah and Grenache were new ferments in 2016. The Grenache, Syrah and the Rhone blend were bottled in July of this year. The Syrah was ok, the Rhone blend and Grenache was disappointing (note rollercoaster is going downhill). This year I was real excited about doing my first Cabernet Sauvignon. Paid more for grapes than I ever had before $2,000 per ton and the fruit was excellent, with one exception. The brix ended up at 23.5 (versus 25.5 reported) and the flavor profile was not what I wanted. (note rollercoaster at its low point and questioning my chosen hobby.

The rollercoaster seems to be heading in the other direction as of late. The Grenache and the Rhone blend have gone from being an embarrassing wine to something I’d be fine with all but my commercial winemaking friends tasting. The Grenache flavor component has really changed for the better. The Cab has also seemed to turn the corner as well, just 10 weeks post ferment. So, I guess, I’ll continue the hobby and I’m even thinking of entering these wines in the State Fair this year, even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t.

Do you go through the same emotional rollercoaster with your winemaking?
 

Stressbaby

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Yes. Hit a nadir last night when I opened a fruit wine and got so PO'd that I poured the whole bottle down the drain.
 

Johnd

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View attachment 44942 In 2016 I made right around 150 gallons, all centered around a GSM blend. The Mourvèdre was a hold over from the year before, but the Syrah and Grenache were new ferments in 2016. The Grenache, Syrah and the Rhone blend were bottled in July of this year. The Syrah was ok, the Rhone blend and Grenache was disappointing (note rollercoaster is going downhill). This year I was real excited about doing my first Cabernet Sauvignon. Paid more for grapes than I ever had before $2,000 per ton and the fruit was excellent, with one exception. The brix ended up at 23.5 (versus 25.5 reported) and the flavor profile was not what I wanted. (note rollercoaster at its low point and questioning my chosen hobby.

The rollercoaster seems to be heading in the other direction as of late. The Grenache and the Rhone blend have gone from being an embarrassing wine to something I’d be fine with all but my commercial winemaking friends tasting. The Grenache flavor component has really changed for the better. The Cab has also seemed to turn the corner as well, just 10 weeks post ferment. So, I guess, I’ll continue the hobby and I’m even thinking of entering these wines in the State Fair this year, even though I promised myself that I wouldn’t.

Do you go through the same emotional rollercoaster with your winemaking?
I did the first time I made wine from grapes. Now I realize that it’s the wine on the rollercoaster and that the ups and downs early in development, if you’re a good engineer, turn into gradual ascent once bottled.

In time, looking down the tracks, I think that some of my harshest wines may turn out to be my best, or is that the end of the tracks I see?? Who knows....
 

Boatboy24

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Definitely a roller coaster. Most times, things come out pretty drinkable in the end, and I even have a few I'd say I was proud of. Good thing I love roller coasters.
 

Mismost

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I have enough roller coasters in my life! I just enjoy the process and hope for the best.
It's not like I'm an expert or even really know what I am doing....yet.
It's one of the things I do for fun. When it ceases to be fun, it ceases period.
 

tjgaul

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Time is (almost) always your friend in this hobby.
I have had some less than pleasant tastings, especially soon after ferment, Luckily, so far, time has been the healer of all things evil. I still have one blend that is in question. I threw some oak at it and am waiting to see what happens. When I am losing my stomach on the steep descents I am comforted by a relative surety that the track will end on a nice up-slope.
 

balatonwine

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The Grenache, Syrah and the Rhone blend were bottled in July of this year. The Syrah was ok, the Rhone blend and Grenache was disappointing (note rollercoaster is going downhill).
As others already said, patience. Let them sit and age in the bottle a few years. Then decide. These varieties all need aging.

Aside from that, take the time to perfect your wine making art. One can not create a masterpiece without some practice. And despite the science/measurement based methods employed by many, that will only take you so far. The rest is only going to come from experience. ;)
 
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FTC Wines

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True roller coaster! After 8 years of wine making we got a Vinmetric 300, it's works great, BUT, I think tinkering with the wine to meet ## hasn't helped much. Sometimes it may have hurt. Then we went to real grapes, ILO kits & concentrates. Our Cabs are a Huge disappointment. 2015 & 2016, to early to tell on 17. They are way too light in color & taste with low PH. Our fruit wines & concentrates get us thru the LOW spots on the roller coaster! Roy
 

sour_grapes

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Then we went to real grapes, ILO kits & concentrates. Our Cabs are a Huge disappointment. 2015 & 2016, to early to tell on 17. They are way too light in color & taste with low PH. Our fruit wines & concentrates get us thru the LOW spots on the roller coaster! Roy
That sound you just heard was the sound of my expectations being re-evaluated...
 

FTC Wines

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I should have added my 2017 Petite Sirah from Calif grapes is Very promising. Have 9 gals. Very dark color, great legs, tastes bold and it's only 7 weeks old! May have my favorite wine. Roy
 

NorCal

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I should have added my 2017 Petite Sirah from Calif grapes is Very promising. Have 9 gals. Very dark color, great legs, tastes bold and it's only 7 weeks old! May have my favorite wine. Roy
You see, that’s just the set-up. You feel great, you feel you are at the top of your game, that you have this all figured out, then bam, it turns on you. Some things growing on top, a little H2S smell, a funky flavor develops...feeling good is part of the Wine Rollercoaster
 

Boatboy24

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You see, that’s just the set-up. You feel great, you feel you are at the top of your game, that you have this all figured out, then bam, it turns on you. Some things growing on top, a little H2S smell, a funky flavor develops...feeling good is part of the Wine Rollercoaster
My 2016 Chileans are a prime example. Tasting and smelling great during fermentation, though a little bite. Never could get MLF going on any of them. After a couple months, taste started going south and it never came back. I ended up dumping all 4 batches.
 

FTC Wines

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Wow! Jim, Dumping 4 batches I'd be crying in my wine. My Chilean juice buckets from 2016 turned out well. Cab & Pinot Noir. Its truly a roller coaster. Roy
 

Boatboy24

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Wow! Jim, Dumping 4 batches I'd be crying in my wine.
I was wringing my hands for many months over it. In the end, I knew I wouldn't drink it, and they were taking up 4 6gal carboys, a 3gal carboy and a couple 1 and 0.5gal jugs. And it wasn't improving at all, no matter what I did. In fact, might be getting worse. I still have 3gal of the blend, just because I haven't needed that carboy. It isn't cheap, but I'm actually tempted to send a sample to Vinmetrica and have them test for VA. I've been through lots of possible causes, but lately, I'm feeling somewhat certain that is the cause.

Good news is, this wine is from juice buckets (with some grapes added), which are relatively cheap. Had those been all-grape wines, I'd really be crying.
 

zadvocate

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I cant tell you how glad I am to hear all of this. I feel the exact same way. I had a gallon of Chilean Merlot with a purple ring around the neck and it had a faint smell. I racked and S02d it but I thought to myself I am about to give up. Prior to that I have been dealing with H2S. then I go and taste my Sauvignon Blanc from last year and I think I added too much acid. One day my Cab tastes good the next its not.

It is a Roller Coaster Ride for sure, but for some strange reason I still come back wanting to ride again.
 

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Definitely a roller-coaster, but mostly uphill going from concentrates to cheap kits to expensive kits to juice buckets to all grape batches. But had one go off the tracks this past spring, south african cab turned out very good but the chilean malbec is still a work in progress. Think I'm going to pass on chilean grapes this coming spring and get more south african grapes. Seems to be too many issues with chilean grapes. Although my 2016 carmenere is still aging and is not bad.
 

NorCal

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Among the barrel and Spiedels are the carboys. The Chardonnay is nice, Cab Franc is drinkable now, the Tempranillo which was really fruity (had RS), now tastes like another young wine.
 

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