Thursday, October 9, 2014

2014 Grape Update

2014 in the Pac NW is a great year for grapes. Any poor wine from 2014 represents an inept winemaker.Here's my report from my winemaking:

Cayuga: Really good numbers: pH 3.38 and TA 0.68%. A really nicely low TA, due to our hot summer and long ripening period. Fermenting in carboys now; great fruit from Lon's 112 lbs and from our Le Mans vines 28 lbs. Just a great year with large clusters that got ripe with superb flavors. Will be my first dry Cayuga, given that low acid.

My Mixed Red ("Rosso Misto") from our Le Mans vines: 7 lb Cascade, 17 lb Regent; 10 lb Delicatessen. Great fruit; great flavors. I put in some Rayon d'Or (white) for color fixing but with those reds it isn't necessary. just racked onto oak and sulfited tonight. Smells good. Vivid dark rich, glass-staining purple. Drinking decently now; surprising for a raw wine. pH 3.54 and TA 0.77% (it was 1.16%!!! but MLF really took that acid down; I can drop it a further 0.05% with cold stabilization, so I'll end up with 0.72% TA, which is a bit high for a red so I might add the faintest hint of sugar to balance it up and if I do my job well the tasters wouldn't even notice.

Leon: Picked late due to my travel schedule, so the pH was higher than the target of 3.4 or less. But I wanted it to hang in our most excellent summer, to see how the flavors changed. It turned a bit bricky as pH shot up to 4.12 during primary ferm. But that was only for a few days, and I added tartaric acid to drop pH to 3.69, which returned the good purple color. When pH was 4.12, TA was 0.85%--too high--but MLF really did its job: Tonight I racked and oaked, and it tested at pH 3.73 (pretty good; wish it was a smidge lower) and TA 0.58%, which was low enough that I could add the least bit of tartaric, to squeeze down the pH and help keep the wine fresh and more-stable in terms of shelf life; I boosted TA to 0.62% and I can use CS to take it right back to 0.57% (while maintaining the new, lower pH). Color is a fairly deep purple for a Leon; I'm pleased. The wine is disjointed; hasn't come together yet, but has nice fruit. I don't pick up any off flavors that I could attribute to fermenting on the skins, but I will try a batch with limited skin contact (quick skin color transfer) next year, as an experiment, given advice received from other Leon-makers elsewhere in the US. I think adding the white grapes really does help maintain the color (the old Syrah-Viognier trick).

Need to bottle the 2013s soon. Running out of glassware!

Kenton