Monday, October 25, 2010

Wines I'm Making: Cabernet Malolactic Fermentation Initiated (2010)

Yesterday (October 24) I introduced an Enopherm Alpha malolactic bacteria culture into the Cabernet Sauvignon. It's often hard to tell whether malolactic fermentation has started or not, but it should be under way. About two weeks of very tiny bubbles at the edge of the wines is usually all you can see. Right now there is a fair amount of foam at the top of the carboys, but I suspect that's the end of the primary fermentation--yeast using up the last traces of sugar--rather than evidence of the malolactic fermentation under way. Molalactic fermentation will convert some of the malic acid in the wine to the softer lactic acid, which is a pretty routine step in making red wines. Once that's done, it will be time to rack the new wine into clean containers to leave behind most of the yeast and other residues still settling into the bottom of the containers. So far, everything continues to look good. The Sangiovese rosé continues its primary fermentation in the garage.

As usual, after finishing the real wine I didn't want to throw out the pressed skins and seeds. It seems such a waste. I decided to make a second-run wine again this year. I tried it last year with poor results, but I made an incorrect acid addition and made the wine artificially sharp, so it doesn't really seem like it was a fair trial. So, I added water back into the spent pressings and enough sugar to bring the soup to 20 Brix again and it has started fermenting spontaneously. Plenty enough yeast is left behind to initiate a new fermentation. This, too, will probably be undrinkable, but, you never know. It looks like wine (below).

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