October 16, 2006

Heading less than zero

Things are looking very good with my 2006 Wahle vineyard Pinot Noir. After lightly warming the must last Wednesday, all three bins began natural fermentation within twenty four hours. The ferments reached a peak temp of 93F over the weekend, and were above 90F for just over a day.

I battled some H2S, an eggy smell caused by nutrient deprived yeast that is a form of reduction. Air helps neutralize it, so I stirred the vats vigorous to add air and added some yeast nutrient to feed the ferment. Everything smells very nice now.

First brix reading two nights ago was 11, down from 24 at the start. Last night was 5.5. Tonight was 0 and maybe a hair under. I’m looking for –1.5 or so for total dryness. Cap temp is around 80 after tonight’s punchdown, and I’m cooling the fermentation room to let the wine temp cool gradually as primary fermentation finishes.

How does the new wine taste? A touch sweet even at 0 brix, but almost pretty smelling with fine tannin that I’ll watch closely. The acidity is likely covered by the sugar, and I hope so or else this could be a softer wine than I was hoping.

Pressing will likely be Thursday or Friday, depending on how things go. Just have to get the barrel and other containers prepped and the barrel area cleaned out. Then it will be time to open some nice bottles of wine and feast.

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