Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I inoculated the must shortly after pressing, using the Epernay II yeast. This morning the yeast was not very active, probably because it was cold in the garage overnight, but moving the container into the darkroom and then later in the day into the living room, the usual foam is beginning to develop on the surface of the liquid and the airlock has begun to bubble. The trick will be to keep the fermentation going without letting it become too vigorous. A fermentation of about 10-12 days should be about right. Last year it took 14 days. In the first couple of years I made rosé, I didn't understand that a fast fermentation can allow a lot of good flavor and aroma components to escape, and I let things move too quickly. At the extreme short end, one fermentation went to completion in about four days--which is too fast. So far, everything is going smoothly this year. The Cabernet is pressed and in its second day soaking. I like to give the Cabernet a pre-soak of about four days before inoculating, as that seems to result in better color and more flavor extraction.
Monday, October 24, 2011
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).
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.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
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