RJ Cole Winery

Insights into the world of an amateur home winemaker.

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Cole Wines anagrams to Senile Cow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Update Day 12:

My trip was good. I had a lot of fun, met a lot of people, watched a lot of football and ate a lot of food! The flights were full leaving Panama City Beach on Sunday, so Kat and I rented a car and drove back. I was worn out yesterday! That's why my update is here today.

I got home and took a look at the wine, it's doing pretty well. There has been a lot of settling - I've got about an inch and a half to 2 inches of sediment on the bottom of the carboy right now. The wine is still pretty cloudy, so there's liable to be a lot more settling. There is also still a lot of gas in the wine as it's constantly bubbling. Most of the bubbles in the wine are very small, but they're coming up pretty fast. I've read a lot on Winepress about malolactic fermentation, and I'm wondering if that's what this is. The way I've seen it described on that site, it sounds like it, but then again, I haven't checked the SG since the transfer, so I need to do that. It's possible that it's still the regular fermentation going on.

Malolactic Fermentation is a process that can occur naturally when malolactic bacteria (creative name, I know) convert malic acid into lactic acid. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some winemakers will actually introduce cultured malolactic bacteria into a wine in order to cut the acidic "bite" caused by malic acid. Lactic acid, while still an acid, has a more smooth, almost creamy feel to it, making the wine easier and feel more bodied than with malic acid. However, it can be overdone, leavign the wine tasting (or feeling) kind of "flat". Most of what I've read about this is that it comes down to personal opinion on what you prefer. So my next step is to test the SG of the wine to see if it has fermented out, and if it has with all these new bubbles, then I should probably rack the wine to get it off the lees that have formed and see where I stand then. I may need to go out and purchase a SO2 testing kit and check the sulfite levels. The sulfite can either kill or keep the malolactic bacteria from reproducing (I'm not sure which) and if needed, I will add some Campden Tablets (which I need to do anyway.)

I was reading back through my post about aging sur lie, and I came across this sentence: If finely particled gross lees form after transfer, it is best to forego sur lie with the current batch. Well, that looks like what has happened with all of the sediment, so I may have to give up on that idea. I'll check either Winepress or Jack Keller to see if there is another way to improve mouthfeel after fermentation.

That's it for now!

Update: Evidently, the trick to improve the body later in the process is th addition of glycerine. Glycerine is normally found naturally to some degree in wine, and it does nothing more than add a little sweetness and body, if used in the right amounts. It's non-toxic, but if too much is used, it can ruin the wine.


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