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The Roots of Karaoke and your Hydrometer.

2017 November 7
by Gene Fiorot

Well some of us had to sit on the living room floor while Grandma and Grandpa watched in Black and White Television the “Sing a Long with Mitch Miller Show”.   It was torture. I hated Leslie Uggams, but Grandma loved to sing along to the graphics of the lyrics at the bottom of the screen.   The Chyron wasn’t even invented but there are those who swear there was a bouncing ball over the words to keep time with the music.  There was not.

Like many false beliefs, believing in your hydrometer may lead you down the wrong road.   But before we can get to the reason for me to write about the “Bouncing Ball Syndrome” we need to first talk about your hydrometer.   If you purchased your Hydrometer for 8 dollars then you have an instrument that may be as accurate as Poll Counting Mitt Romney Votes in the City of Philadelphia.   Furthermore if you believe the forums which tell you to put your Cheap Ass Hydrometer in distilled water and see if it reads Zero and you are good to go.   You, like many, have believed this and have been had.  But it serves you right for reading But we are far from done.

You have to ask, what is the most important function you need your Cheap Ass Hydrometer to perform?  Stumped?  Well let me help you out.  You have One, ONE , that’s right ONE chance of measuring Brix at the beginning of the fermentation.  So the accuracy readings at the top of scale between 22 to 28 brix are the most important function that hydrometer can perform.   From experience the Prospero units are about as accurate as Ouija Boards.

So what is the fastidious Winemaker like you supposed to do?  Well you need a 25 Brix Solution so you can see if your hydrometer agrees with the solution standard.  If you need to add sugar or water to your Must you need to know that at the outset.  It’s too late once fermentation begins.   Or you can always ask a genius on for advice.  I am sure someone there will help you out.  Yes you need a Real Laboratory Standard Solution of 25 brix to use to test.   Now I know Geeks will read this and figure out a formula to make a 25 brix solution.   Congratulations in advance to the GEEKS of the world.  Me? I bought mine from a Lab.  After having to go to Summer School for 11th grade math I still avoid it. And you don’t, for sure , be a Math Major to be a great Winemaker for that matter a Chemist either.

OK so you have solved the problem and now know your Hydrometer reads 2 points higher or lower than 25 Brix.   What did you expect for seven bucks?  Hey you might get a good one that is on the money. Take care of that one or spend about 40 dollars and get a 0 to 30 Laboratory Standard Certified one. If you are a cheap bastard you still can use your messed up one by adding or subtracting the factor of the error when measuring Must.

But as a winemaker you are not off the hook just yet.  What about when you get to the end of your fermentation and you get close to Zero or below.   Would you actually make the argument that you can accurately read the very last markings at the Zero level of a Zero to Thirty Brix Scale Hydrometer?   No freekin way Dudes or should I say cismales?, and not to ignore  Women Winemakers this applies to you too.  That’s right when it comes down to reading the last graduations of a 30 to 0 Scale hydrometer you can’t tell eaten Baloney by a Male Cow any better.

So how do we solve this problem?   We all want to know when we go to Zero and even better we want to know when we go below Zero.  I like to press below Zero.  Oh and if you are one of those Specific Gravity Morons with all the decimals points, You probably passed 11th year math with a better grade than me.   Who cares? If you get a thrill up your leg with your Specific Gravity Hydrometer you can’t tell anyway for sure.  Admit it.  00000000 how many zeros?

What you should have, Geeks included, is a Short Range Hydrometer that reads positive 5 Brix —Zero—Minus 5 Brix.   This is where the scale is in inches not 1/8 of an inch on a Zero to 30 Brix model.    WHAT! They have them?  I did not know that!   Oh wake the fuck up.  Yes and sells them and even better they come with a lab standard certification.  In spite of the fact Corrados has no idea these even exist.   Sadly however, Moldy grapes they specialize in they know and understand, that is for sure.

But if you have you gotten this far reading then here are a few assumptions I might make. Is your curiosity peaked?  I know you love the slams to the suppliers of crap sold to wine makers, or you are seriously wondering where this entire piece is going?  Of course if you have been a regular reader here you already know there should be reason and rhyme for it.

This year I noticed a phenomenon which was not familiar to me.  When getting to 5 brix  I always switch to the 5 brix scale hydrometer.  Then as the Brix drops I can monitor the drop very easily getting to zero and below.  Nothing strange getting to minus 0.5 actually while still having a cap and watching the level go minus even more in the days to follow.   Except that is not what happened. Within 24 hours the Brix rose again to a plus o.5 and this Bouncing Ball went on for days.  From Positive to Negative with stops at zero as well.  After 5 days all vats came to a rest at  minus 0.25.   We pressed.

While we were pressing I noticed some very small whole berries in the must.  My destemmer is not a crusher so small berries make it intact going through the Must Pump.  Finding these berries I thought these berries may have some sugar contained inside.  I grabbed the Hydrometer and found 8 Brix in a berry the size smaller of a Pea.  So is this the source of the sugar being released at the end causing the “Bouncing Ball”?  I cannot be sure.  But your thoughts are always welcome. With Winemaking there is always a surprise.    




Allechant Vineyards in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 October 24




All the information about this fantastic vineyard and the fruit it produces is well explained in the previous Blog below which focused on the Pinot Noir we made during the last two weeks.   This past weekend we took possession of 2 tons of the most beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from the same Vineyard.  And what a pleasure it is to see grapes processed and delivered by the Musto Wine Grape Company to us in totally amazing condition.  Hats off Jeremy Porter for not only tending to this perfect fruit and the packing to the Cold Chain that gets it to the East Coast by Frank Musto.

So I am sure you are asking and I can report here.  The grapes arrived at 48 degrees and initial Brix was 23.  The PH was 3.4-3.5  there were 3 vats to measure.  Isn’t it nice to receive grapes under 25 brix when you know after a good cold soak when they get to 60 degrees the Brix will be 25.  And like the Pinot Noir that is exactly what happened again.  25 Brix.   72 hour cold soak , yeast pitched BDX today temps at 60 degrees.  Color Amazing already and smells off the chart of totally fresh fruit.  And so it begins …. Stay tuned .   I have already pre ordered for next year. You might want to consider it..

Making Rattlesnake Hills AVA Dijon Clones Pinot Noir

2017 October 8

A first for this winemaker is making Washington State Pinot Noir.  This year through the efforts of the Musto Wine Grape Company we were able to obtain some really outstanding fruit from the Allechant Vineyards in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA . 

The fruit was carefully grown by  Jeremy Porter.  Jeremy began his viticulture career managing a mid-sized vineyard and a winery in the Red Mountain AVA of the Yakima Valley. His initial steps through the vineyard were guided by the apprenticeship of the late Michael T. Moore, a graduate of U.C. Davis and a pioneering force in the Washington and Red Mountain wine industries. Jeremy later went on to earn a Certificate of Viticulture through Washington State University under the tutelage of the venerable Dr. Markus Keller, Dr. Michelle T. Moyer, and others. His vineyard management philosophies include low impact, sustainable farming practices, along with low-yield, stressed-vine management, mostly accomplished through the judicious use of regulated deficit irrigation.

We had some questions when arranging to obtain the grapes as to the clones.  While there are 2 clones which make a stand alone Pinot Noir, it is a widely accepted practice to use more than one clone to add complexity of character to the wine.   Clone 115 and Clone 777 are two of these stand alone clones if no other clones are available.   Obviously for us we wanted to be sure we were getting at least one of those.  We received the 777 clone and to our surprise we received an equal amount of Clone 92.   I am sure the Musto Team made this happen with our over 3,000 pound order.

So what is with these clones was our question months ago.   Many of us heard of Clone 777.  But Clone 92 was a mystery.   Here is what they say about Clone 777.  Small, compact cluster, small berries, low-yielding, strong and intense color due to thick skins and higher seed count, very aromatic with dense and complex black fruit flavors (black cherry, cassis), with leather, tobacco, and earthy notes. Can be a powerful, monster of a wine almost Cabernet-like if not carefully farmed. Highly structured with tannin structure to age. Tannins are exaggerated in warm locations where sugar accumulates quickly, even more so than clone 667. More consistent than clone 667 and similar in character to clone 115.

So that left Clone 92 to be explored.   This was not easy to find and took some crafty internet searching.  Firstly there are today about 43 certified Dijon clones of Pinot Noir in the Catalogue of Grapevine Varieties and Clones published by ENTAV-INRA® (L’Establissement National Technique pour l’Ameléioration de la Viticulture/Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France), and 15 are significantly propagated throughout the world as suitable for Pinot Noir still wine. There are probably anywhere from 200 to over a 1,000 genetically unique Pinot Noir clones, a reflection of Pinot Noir’s genetic instability. The ENTAV-INRA® trademarked clones are registered and assigned a unique certification number.   This took me to ENTAV-INRA’s website. Where I found, VCR 20, Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo, Italy.  Pinot Noir 92 (Proprietary VCR20 Vivai Cooperativi Registered and cannot be distributed without written permission of the owner.  Distributed by Novavine Grapevine Nursery.

So I took a look at the Novavine Grapevine Nursery website and found this,

deeper than average ruby red; complex nose of woodland fruit; excellent balance and structure for aging. Micro-vinification:  intense cherry nose, with mint and spice;  medium body, tannic;  slight bitter finish with lingering cherry and dark chocolate.

So it appears to me the grapes we have in the vats cold soaking and will be co-fermenting is going to produce a pretty dark and hearty wine.  We look forward to a 14 day fermentation with a nice 88degree heat spike.

A Note to Visitors of this Blog

2017 October 3
by Gene Fiorot

Make no mistake this Blog and its Authors take a very serious dim view of defamation of Italians and Italian Americans.   For many years there have been many examples of our members defending Italians and Italian Americans.  Many times others have been called out for what we considered defamation.   To those who can’t read English or have been led to believe otherwise we say go back and read the articles. Don’t listen to others who have an agenda against this Blog and Club.   We have a good idea who you are.  Either way maybe you thinned skinned Guineas  need a sense of humor .


Christina Musto Making her Mark in the Industry

2017 August 24


Those of you who are fortunate to be acquainted with Cristina Musto already know this.  She is a caring, serious and determined to make the Musto Wine Grape Company the premier source for wine grapes for Wineries and the Amateur Hobbyists. But her efforts do not end there. She works hard and is already recognized as a huge supporter for Women Winemakers in the United States of America. Good for her!   As the season approaches many of you will have the opportunity to communicate with her about your grapes, your orders, and other matters.  While you do please look at this link from  Inside Winemaking a podcast and educational resource for everyone interested in learning how to make wine directly from the pros. Here is a post featuring Christina.    Congratulations and hats off to you Christina.   Send her a note guys!

Allechant Vineyards Rattle Snake Hill Washington State

2017 August 22

This is the Vineyard we will be sourcing grapes this year.   Go to the website and look at the pictures of the 2016 Pinot Noir.  I think you will be very impressed.  Thanks to the Musto Grape Company for obtaining this fruit for us.

A Very Sad Time for Club Members

2017 June 29




The other day we received the unexpected news that our long standing club member Steve Marsiglia passed away.  Steve made wine with us since 2005.

He was with us year after year even on days when we were making vats he had no investment in.   Steve was a special winemaker.  He embraced biology and chemistry and often asked me questions which on occasion made me resort to research texts for answers.  He had a curious mind for the wine making process.   Never was there an occasion where he didn’t ask why or how.  Yet Steve, coming originally from the Old School, hardly was a disciple of that school. He was willing to adopt and adapt all the modern practices but still had a love for the “old ways” .   Often he longed to follow those methods even though I knew he truly knew it was not the best way to proceed.  Especially with the love for Science he possessed.  Yet I must say there were times when we had  conversations where I was challenged by Steve and would have to convince him.   Many times pulling my hair out doing so.

He had such respect for “old timers” in need his house was open for them.  When I was a bit upset with one of the old guys he lectured me.   I remember that lecture.  It changed my outlook.  I will thank him for that forever.

We are all going to miss him greatly.  He was our friend. He worked hard. He made us laugh. He cared deeply about us.  He is gone now.

We will miss him always.

Andy…Andy…Andy Beckstoffer ..What about us?

2017 May 25

You remember us Andy don’t you? We are the guys in New York that made all that wonderful wine with your fantastic grapes.  And not for just one vintage either.  Actually Andy we started in 2009 with Georges III.  That was the beginning of our relationship with your grapes Andy.  Lucky for us we continued year after year making wine from your grapes.   Here is a list of Vintages and Varietals of Beckstoffer Wines we produced…

in 2010 we expanded our cellars to include  Oak Knoll Orchard Ave Merlot , Los Carneros  Las Amigas Pinot Noir and Rutherford Georges III Cabernet…

In 2011 we continued with the Georges III Cabernet , the Orchard Ave Merlot, the Las Amigas Pinot Noir and amazingly added the Oakville AVA Missouri Hopper Cabernet…

In 2012… and we obtained Pinot Noir from Carneros Lake,  Los Carneros Las Amigas Merlot
Georges III,  Cabernet Sauvignon, and another opportunity to make Missouri Hopper.

That was the end of us getting your wonderful grapes.  We were very sad.  Remember  Andy how we waxed on here regularly?   We were so excited then and still are so proud we had the opportunity.  We used our Blog to share with other Amateur Winemakers our successes with all these vintages. But alas I am told some Commercial Customers of yours didn’t like the idea and objected when learning of lowly unknown Amateurs having your grapes.  Some people forget where they come from.

Now Andy I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle of your efforts in Lake County.  Andy what a wonderful idea you have giving a small number of winemakers each an acre of grapes to see what results they can have with a new area you are growing and obviously promoting.   Andy as you know we are very good already at promoting your grapes.   If you consider this Andy I am hoping you will consider us for a couple of tons.   Nothing could be better Andy.  All of us again making Beckstoffer Grapes!

Think about it Andy.  As you say Andy, “We’re farmers second, entrepreneurs first.”   Andy we are Amateurs.  How about one for the Amateurs Andy?  You also add it is a publicity stunt to give away grapes.  Andy we already proved our ability at publicity.

Thanks Andy for great grapes in the past.  How about it Andy, give us another shot…..

It’s up to you.


Gene Fiorot

San Francisco Chronicle Story

My Affair with Barbara

2017 May 2
by Gene Fiorot


As you read below Barbara was a difficult lady to deal with.  Nevertheless undaunted we proceeded to do everything imaginable to correct her bad behavior.  We need to thank Zac Brown for his link to Lallemand.  Having battled incomplete MLF, VA odors, and then Brett this was the biggest challenge this suitor has ever encountered.

Happily I can say we tamed her completely and restored her to her original beauty.  There are a few lessons here, especially for neophytes and those without patience.  “Never give up on a wine”

But there are some other interesting things about this Barbera.   Our 2016 vintage exhibits the same problem.  Incomplete MLF.   We tried everything including re-inoculation.  Stuck at about 50 % complete.  Accuvin and Chromatography confirm this result.  I was talking to Frank Musto and I told him about the trouble with this Barbera two years in a row.   He shared he was not surprised as he has been hearing that from everyone too.

So what did Ron Lanza do to Barbara?   I would love to know.    Before you go off thinking the Ph was too low for MLF   it was 3.55.


The 2017 Spring Winemakers Dinner

2017 April 26
by Gene Fiorot

We will host our annual Spring 2017 Winemakers Dinner at Ristorante Chianti on Sunday April 3oth. The dinner’s mission is to taste newly bottled wine and works in progress.   Chef Paul is preparing a gastronomical treat for those attending.   More to come…

After all these years the Zips have been found out to be correct

2017 March 12
by Gene Fiorot

What goes around comes around.  Sorta.     

You know the Zips.  You know who they are.  The old timers who were so cheap instead of buying a new barrel, they purchased used Whiskey Barrels to store their wine in.  As beginners we were astonished at how a winemaker would consider putting his wine in a barrel to impart Whiskey flavor to their wine.  And it did.  Wine tasted like Whiskey.  The only positive thing that came out of this practice was the wine didn’t go to Volatile Acid in a bad barrel only if the wine didn’t have Volatile Acid to begin with.  Which often times the Zip’s wine did.

So I am walking through Sam’s Club in Florida buying Paper Towels and Olive Oil.  Sam’s is the best place to buy Olive Oil where I live in Florida. I come up on this display.  I will admit I am floored.  It cannot be.  Are there no rules?  Has everything I have learned gone to hell? Is there anything that matters anymore?  Heck I have just been getting over White Merlot, and that has taken a few years.

So just when I think I have seen everything about wine making here comes Mondavi with a twist.  I ponder; maybe it is designed for the Southern States. You know where the White Men Red Necks who discovered wine in their later years. Because they were accustomed to getting a buzz from beer but finding it  too filling and taking too long a time to achieve. I don’t know. I am not a Marketing Expert for Mondavi.  Even so I can recognize horse shit when I see it.

So I am standing there in front of the display taking the pictures speaking out loud to myself of the idiocy of what I am looking at when a gentleman comes by and is looking at the bottles too.  I cannot resist, my big mouth takes over.  I say, “I cannot believe anyone would be buying wine that was put in a Bourbon Barrel”.  He looks interested in having a conversation.  I add, as a winemaker we would never use a charred barrel for wine.  Oops!  He tells me he has had the wine before.  Really?!  I ask, so is it like barbeque?  No he says.  When you first open it you get the taste of Bourbon but it fades quickly. Trying to be polite I tell him, oh that’s great.  For 12 dollars a bottle he says it isn’t a bad everyday wine.  So it appears Mondavi has not only used  new charred Whiskey Barrels, has used Used Bourbon Barrels.  The Zips have been  finally liberated even if it took over 100 years.

Who knows what’s next.  Maybe some High End Producer will be putting Port in their wine to make it smoother.  Ya just never know.

Have you met Barbra? Do you like High Maintenance Babes?

2017 January 3


This is a long twisted tale beginning in 2015.  What starts off to be a perfect engagement takes an unexpected turn. Never having dated Barbra before I was unaware I would be in for quite a ride.  No, not the ride you are thinking.  Our encounter and relationship begins in October of 2015.   The Barbera grapes arrive and they are beautiful.  It was the first harvest for the new vineyard released to the public.  The 2014 harvest was made on the estate for evaluation.  The Sugar was around 25 typical of the Lanza Doctrine.  The Ph was perfect at 3.5 and the condition of the grapes was perfect.  What could go wrong?  Nothing. It was a perfect fermentation without issues going dry and to MLF completion by December.

Going in a Tank for the winter the wine was then transferred to a 60 gallon French Oak Barrel with 2 wines behind it in April.   Ron Lanza and Frank Musto came to visit and we tasted a really beautiful wine.  We were all super happy with the results.  I am guessing Barbra feeling jilted had other ideas with me leaving for Florida for the Summer to return in September.

Anthony, the Cellar Master often checks the Cellar and makes sure all is ok when I am not around.  He performed a topping during my absence and all was well.   When I returned in September I went to the cellar and noticed the bung on the Barbera Barrel was off to the side.   I thought maybe Anthony topped up and forgot to replace it.  Of course I asked him and he said no he had not topped the barrel.  When I returned to the cellar the next day the Bung was off again.   I guess Barbra was pissed.

I placed an air lock on the barrel only to watch for 3 weeks the wine going through some kind of fermentation.  Was it residual sugar?  Was it another MLF?  As far as I could tell it was neither but the air lock did not lie.   Eventually the bitch calmed down and it was time for a taste.

OH NO!  I smell and taste VA.   I feel dejected.  How can a beautiful Lady become so ugly in so little time?  Now this type of affair was not my first.  I had a similar issue with a GSM in the same barrel the year prior.  With that wine I was certain it was residual sugar.  The cure for that was a hefty addition of So2 and any trace of VA like nose was gone.  So I decided to employ the same tactic with Barbra.  Maybe she would fall in love with me again.

I waited 2 months before approaching her again.  Other winemakers kept asking me if I called her.  I admitted I was afraid.  Finally I got enough balls to open the bung and have a taste.  The VA nose was gone and that VA like taste was gone.  Perfect right?   Nope.   This is one fussy lady.

Barbra decided to throw another blockade in our relationship.  While the VA issues were gone Barbra decided to take up and have an affair with Brett. I never liked that son-of-bitch. So after all of this it comes down to me or Brett.  Now my friend Scott has a way to eliminate Brett. No Brett Inside.  So we get some, not cheap and comes with specific instructions which must be followed exactly for it to work.  Unfortunately while No Brett Inside will dispatch Brett, it will not remove his Body Odor.   The chemical compounds Brett produces is not removed with No Brett Inside.  Barbra still smells like she was in the saddle all day.  Well maybe not all day but enough to somewhat obscure her beautiful fruits.  God she had beautiful fruits. What to do? We surly have reached the end of the road with this engagement.

Coincidentally and fortuitously, in a totally unrelated post recently about Rocket Joey’s Olive Oil Space Journey, Zac Brown posted a comment about using Noblesse to cure H2S disulfide problems.  He provided a link to an excellent flow chart created by Dominique Delteil a Lallemand Consultant explaining the uses of Noblesse. I have known for years Zac’s liking of this product but I had never seen the actual recommended application in such detail by Lallemand.   In the 20 page PDF file I scrolled down to page 5 and low and behold staring me in the face was a method to remove the effects of Brett.  Will Brett finally be gone for good?

So as we speak Barbra has been sent for Cosmetic Surgery.  Her first phase is completed. We already see some improvement some fruit is returning and the saddle is diminished.   But it will be a 3 stage, three month process before it is all completed.  All we now can do is hope our relationship returns and meets our expectations.  Barbra is one high maintenance woman. Oh yes and in case you were wondering the Barrel’s future is furniture or free to a local brewery that needs Brett. They can have him.






The Winery Christmas Story

2016 December 27
by Gene Fiorot

‘Twas the night after Christmas, when all thro’ the winery ,
Not a creature was stirring, maybe an errant mouse,
The tanks were filled in the winery with care,
In hopes that  Bacchus soon would be there;
The Winemakers were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of 95 points danc’d in their heads,
And Anthony in his wet sneakers, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our pumps and filters for a long winter’s nap-
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the winery to see what was the matter.
Away to the corker I flew like a flash,
Tore open the Chrusher and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Another Winemaker’s sleigh, and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old Salvatore  Contradore  so lively and quick,
Not sure I thought in a moment it could be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now! Mike,  Dave. Frank, Andy, Nick now! Kevin, and Vixen ,

“On! Joey , Anthony and Dave and Blixem;
“Sal Please don’t fall off the wall !
“Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
Al prays the wine completes MLF before the wild hurricane fly,
Hoping they meet the spring bottling , mount to the sky;
So up to the winery top the corks they flew,
With the sleigh full of bottles – and Salvatore too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney came Joey Edwards came with a bound:
He was dress’d all in pink fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnish’d with sale tags and soot;
A bundle of olive oil was flung on his back,
And he look’d like a Ron Lanza just opening his pack:
His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like Frank Musto , his nose like a cherry;
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin could have been Carmine in the future as white as the snow;
The stump of a cigar, Bobby he held tight in his teeth,
And  the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He really was Gene , and a not quite so trim  round belly
That shook when he laugh’d, like a bowl full of jelly:
He was chubby and plump, and not quite jolly the old self,
And Virginia laughed when she saw him in spite of herself.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.



The Wine of Planet X-23YW or Olive Oil and the Malbec

2016 December 20
by Gene Fiorot

Let me preface this piece by saying I have heard about using food grade oil to top off or seal a container of wine less than filled to the top eliminating all air space.  No I have never done it. I never found the reason to do it. Much like why would never own a Prospero Waxed Barrel.  This is not the 1930’s.

Is it possible we are going to talk about the 2011 Chilean Malbec once again?  Well I guess in the interest of “Never Give Up on a Wine “  Mantra we will.   Yes the 2011 Malbec was a challenge. Plagued with H2S after the pressing it has given all of us who made it fits.  Those with less experience, lacking patience, or just plain giving up before they tried to correct the issue dumped their wine.  The Muse (lol) told kept telling them to persevere.  Some did.

When the wine first exhibited H2S after pressing the wine was treated with Reduless and a dose of Opti Red.  Nope this was not good enough.    Then the wine was treated with the Blue Bomb after a dose of Ascorbic Acid.  Yes it was a major improvement.  But there was a Nose that took away from the fruit of a young wine.

Yes we let it rest.  And we went back to it .  Yet that Nose really took away from enjoying the wine underneath.  So what to do?

My thought was to use a lot of American Oak to mask that Nose.  That strong Vanilla would surely make a difference.  I suggested others do the same.   As for mine it worked.  It is an enjoyable wine albeit if you like American Oak Vanilla or some might call Chateau Du Plywood.  Me? I don’t but I have a good stock of Beckstoffer I can turn to.  (Elitist Snob remark)   But now the story begins.

While I treated with American Oak so did the collaboration between two other winemakers.  Following the advice they added American Oak Adjuncts.  After an appropriate time they bottled the wine.  Now we all know how one can get fooled at the level of Oak when bottling only to wonder where it all went 4 months later when opening one for a taste.  In this case a year later in one case it was not enough Oak.  In mine it was fine and a very nice drinkable wine.

Now meet Rocket Joey.  I call him Rocket Joey for good reason.  A collaboration between Al and Joey.  Joey while traveling in space somewhere, Al decided to bottle the wine thinking the Oak was enough.  Rocket Joey lands from an undisclosed Universe, tastes the wine and is not satisfied.   So he decides to take alternative action learned on the planet X-23YW.   Having visited there numerous times he decides to employ a radical fix only known to him.

The Fix?  Following the procedure, remove enough wine from the carboy to the level of the shoulder add about ¼ to ½ inch of olive oil and shake the crap out of the carboy. I mean really shake to the point measured on the Richter Scale.  Let it settle for a few days.  When all the oil rises to the top you rack by sucking off the wine below the level of the oil.  Crazy?

Yes it worked.  The infamous nose was gone. ( so was the Oak) But while the fruit was apparent one new problem appeared.  The wine was slightly oxidized.

Me I think that if Rocket Joey had added a bit of K meta to the carboy after empting the corked bottles that could have been avoided. But even the inhabitants on Planet X-23YW have things to learn.





The Rules Change in New York

2016 October 31

The rules have changed in New York State.  In the past those who need to fortify wines have been forced to go to Connecticut or New Jersey to purchase 190 proof grain alcohol.  This has changed and you can now purchase 190 Proof Grain Alcohol ( Everclear, Graves) in New York State.