How was it? I think it needs more time! The initial pour had a SHARP bite to it, so it needed to breathe for a while. The appearance was actually beautiful – deep dark ruby and garnet, clear as can be! The nose had notes of anise, mint, black licorice and tobacco. Once it breathed (for a very long time!) I tasted again, and it was a very herbaceous, vegetal wine. Mint, green peppers, pine, vanilla, tobacco, earth, and leather – with just the slightest hint of young cherries. It was still a little hot too, strange because the ABV should be around 11.8%.
Honestly, I went to winepress, and got some advice from Twitter folks about what to do with this. At this moment, I would not serve this. Two options continuously came up as I asked around about this:
1) Let it continue to age for another 6 months or longer, then taste again. Consensus seemed to indicate it would only improve.
2) Make a Merlot and/or Cab Sauv and blend. Cab Franc is a grape that is most often used in blending with these softer, more fruit forward wines.
Cab Franc is known for its herbaceous, vegetal, green taste. The ones I tasted before I made it had some of that, but still had quite a bit of fruit. But now that I think back on it, I’m not sure how many of those were 100% Cab Franc.
Regardless, my choice for now is to wait a while longer, let it age a few more months, and try again. Hopefully, it will have mellowed a good bit. At that point, maybe I’ll have something to blend it with if necessary.
Fruit was picked on October 2, 2006, at Medley Meadows Vineyards in King, NC (owners are Randy and Vivian Fulk.)
The numbers for the fruit once I got it back to Charlotte: 21.5 Brix, 3.55 pH, and .47 TA (so I had to add a bit of Tartaric acid.)
Grapes were destemmed by hand, and crushed by very thoroughly washed feet! I may have left too many stems in, which would add to the vegetal taste. Pitched yeast on 10/3, pressed a week later. I used medium toast American Oak cubes, adding and replacing them at rackings. I racked just a few times throughout the process. I never fined or filtered. It aged for the last year in bulk in a basement with constant 65 degree temps.
I think my ’06 Blackberry may be done already. It oxidized a bit in bulk, so it has a brownish hue to the color. It still has a strong blackberry flavor, though, so it might last a while longer. Now that I think about it, even though this one was made in a red wine style, it may be a good idea to chill it first…