Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wines I'm Making: 2011 Cabernet Bottled (January 4, 2013)

Finally got around to bottling the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc. It was a small batch last year. We produced only 33 bottles of wine, but it's quality that counts. I had a tough time of it this time around. First, I used a slightly larger diameter tube for siphoning the wine and a shorter length--mostly because when replacing my siphon I couldn't remember what size I had used in the past. The large size made the wine flow much faster than I'm used to and the shorter length combined with cold weather made the tube stiff and unwieldy. The result was much more spillage than usual. I estimate I lost more than a bottle. In a commercial winery that might be a miraculously small amount of spillage. Here, making wine from the grapes we grow in the back garden, it's 3% of annual output. Second, the crushed Campden tablets failed to fully dissolve. It really is important to see to it that the sulfite is evenly distributed throughout the wine. Finding much left at the bottom of the carboy, I had to laboriously siphon thirty bottles back into the container and then rebottle them. I didn't want some of the bottles to be unprotected and others to have much too much sulfite. Two lessons learned the hard way. Anyway, the wine is now in bottles awaiting capsules and labels (which I have yet to design and print). Judging from what I consumed while siphoning, the 2011 wine will be good, but it is more tannic than usual and has a bit more acidity, suggesting that it will take time to open up. I estimate it will start showing well around 2018.

I also did the first racking of the 2012 wine. Working on the assumption that enough time had passed to allow malolactic fermentation to go to completion, I sulfited the wine lightly and transferred it to clean containers, leaving behind the gross lees. I added oak staves, as usual. The wine (8 gallons, or 40 bottles) is now resting.

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