Wednesday, November 23, 2011

White Merlot

A what?” “Yes, you heard me, a White Merlot.” Now, we all know what a Merlot is, but a white merlot? Let’s delve a little bit further to discover what this wine truly is about.

Merlot grapes were harvested on November 11, 2011, at 24° Brix. (Brix is a form of measuring the amount of natural sugar in the berry.) This number will help us determine the final alcohol of our finished wine.

After picking, the clusters were left in buckets for attendees of the URWT 2nd Saturday, Grape to Glass. Participants now had a great opportunity to get their hands a little dirty. This process consisted of de-stemming (pluck the fruit from the stem), sorting (bug, leaf & stem removal) and pressing. After we were sure that we had clean berries, the grapes were then heaped into a wood grape press. Luckily, we had some savvy participants here to help operate the manual press. Once the berries were inside the press, pressure was forced down upon the grapes by a ratcheting motion. This light pressing of the berries was just enough for the juice to flow without extracting the bitterness of the skins. The juice was then racked off into a 5 gallon carboy for fermentation.

The White Merlot was then inoculated with active yeast drawn from a winery tank. It was clear that fermentation had taken hold as the gasses released through the fermentation bubbler were filling the kitchen. It is now time to let the yeast work their magic. I realized today that we did not have to leave the back door open to ventilate the kitchen so I thought I would take the juice into Jean-Michel’s lab for testing. Upon analyzing the juice, it was clear that we were indeed almost finished! The Brix came in at 3.3 and the Ph was sitting nicely at 3.55. We will need to stop fermentation within the next couple of days as the desired outcome will be to have a slightly sweet wine. The flavor of this wine is delicate and has just the right amount of sweetness, without being too cloying, which is excessive sweetness. I’m still not sure what I can smell on the nose as there is still a lot of CO2 remaining in my glass which is a byproduct of the fermentation. After we rack this wine several times, the CO2 will dissipate. Stay tuned to find out what happens next!

No comments:

Post a Comment