Monday, October 24, 2011

Wines I'm Making: Harvest 2011

I decided today was the day to pick our grapes. The somewhat warmer weather of the past few days seemed to be doing little to raise sugar levels and I was beginning to see signs of mildew in a few clusters, so there seemed little reason to wait further. It was a small harvest--having lost a great deal to animals this year. We picked 20kg of Sangiovese, or 44lbs and 43kg of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, or 94.6lbs. This is the latest we've ever picked. I waited in the hopes of getting the sugars up, but it just wasn't warm enough. The unfortunate timing of the rain we had in October complicated things. Some berries swelled with water and split, allowing mold to begin to form. All in all, the grapes look pretty healthy, but mold can take hold very quickly if left unchecked, so better to get the fruit in.

After crushing and de-stemming the grapes, we ended up with 4.75 gallons of Sangiovese must, which I sulfited lightly with three Campden tablets to add about 41ppm of sulfite. The must tested at 20.7 Brix by refractometer and a specific gravity of 1.084 by hydrometer. The pH tested at 3.35. pH squared times Brix equals 232--not at all bad for making a rosé. I took the measurements at 63 degrees F, so I didn't bother to adjust the hydrometer reading for temperature (according to my books, hydrometers are usually calibrated at 59 degrees F, or 15 degrees C).

We got about 10.5 gallons of Cabernet must, which I sulfited lightly with seven Campden tablets (about 43ppm). The must tested at 22.6 Brix by refractometer--somewhat lower than I was hoping for, but respectable, and at a specific gravity of 1.094 by hydrometer. The pH was 3.42. pH squared times Brix yielded 263, which is right about where it ought to be.

I will press the Sangiovese already late tomorrow morning, after about 18 hours on the skins, which has seemed about right in the past. I will then inoculate the pressed juice with yeast and set it aside in a chilly place (either in the garage or outside) for a cool, slow fermentation. The Cabernet will get a soak for a day or two or three before inoculation. And so our 2011 wines start their journey.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails