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Is my Malolactic Fermentation Complete? Trouble Getting MLF to Finish

2013 December 10

Is my Malolactic Fermentation Complete?  Trouble Getting MLF to Finish

Reading you would think a Malolactic Fermentation was like preparing to receive your First Communion under the tutelage of Sister Eugene ( yes there was a Sister Eugene when I received so shut up she was a bitch). If you spend anytime at that illuminating forum of mostly nonsense  you quickly find out a ML fermentation is the most feared procedure a winemaker can take on.   Even the guy who is the resident ALL IN ONE Vacuum Pump Purveyor admitted to me he never does a MLF.   No Shit!  Too Complicated.  And as a retort or innocent question he asked, “is it really necessary?”  For those who know why I lost a job at a Westchester Grape Supplier the answer is, Nope not necessary since you make shit wine anyway.  If you don’t know the story don’t hesitate to ask me in person.  HOWEVER.

There are times when getting a complete MLF seems to give us fits.  Especially Merlot it seems.  I have never had the Merlot Curse prior to this year but it seems we have a full blown case for this vintage.   What is worse is when the Accuvin doesn’t agree with the Chromatography. Then we really have a nightmare.  And that is exactly what we seem to have this year.  So you can’t look at the Chromatography and say “Yeah I think it is half done”  you can’t even say it is three quarters done.   But the Accuvin says you are at 50 ppm not the 30 where you really want to be.  So which one do you believe?  And what if it goes no further after a few weeks at a nice 70 degree environment?  What’s your plan winemaker?

First let’s ask the question.  Are all commercial wines complete of MLF before bottling?  A trade secret no doubt. But where does that leave us? First doing a MLF to remove the harsh malic acid is only one reason to do it.  If we get a wine from 500 ppm to 50 I think it is safe to say we have reduced quite a bit of harshness due to the malic acid.   The other reason is wine stability.   With 500 ppm one could assume stability could be an issue but what is the risk at 50 ppm over getting to 30 ppm.   Can anyone answer that question?  Ok while we wait for that person to appear…

So the other day I get an email from the Beverage Supply Group.  They are selling a product called Bactozym SG.  It is really a product which is a Lysozyme Mixture. And we all know Lysozyme stops and controls ML Bacteria.  But what got me was this statement, and remember this is directed to Commercial Winemakers, “Situations arise in winemaking which require controlling the bacterial charge without using excessive doses of sulfur dioxide.

Hmmm shouldn’t we consider this strategy when dealing with incomplete ML fermentations instead of pulling ones hair out or worse crying on   Seems reasonable to me as a tool to use.  Your thoughts….


Al Battista has found a new cure for sluggish MLF

al's Cellar

114 Responses leave one →
  1. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 11, 2013

    Great subject: and as usual, I have only more questions, no answers.
    1. When you say we do MLF not only to make our acid profile less harsh, but also for stability,
    stability in what sense? I have heard this many times, but never understood it, other than for stabilizing a white against MLF, when you don’t want it. And isn’t there some concern that if a white that has been sorbated starts MLF, you will get geraniums? So what’s the concern in a red, with an already too high pH, if you don’t have a “completed” MLF?

    2.What is a considered “completed”?

    3.Regarding Bactozym SG and ““Situations arise in winemaking which require controlling the bacterial charge without using excessive doses of sulfur dioxide. ”- could it also be used to help keep a high pH wine from spoiling, without the high doses of SO2 we need?

  2. MrWines permalink
    December 11, 2013

    1. Stability refers to the fact that mlf bacteria is practically all around us and if the wine is bottled without adequate protection (more then regular preservation may be necessary) it’s highly likely that mlf will occur in bottle. Since the wine is capped, there would be no way for CO2 to escape and it would dissolve in the wine, giving it a slight fizz, which is undesirable.

    2. I would say “complete” refers to when there is no more malic acid left. No malic = nothing to convert. But at low levels, maybe this is irrelevant.

    3. Since the product is gram positive, it is ineffective against gram negative bacteria, like acetic acid bacteria. So no, it won’t stop the most common cause of spoilage

  3. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 11, 2013

    @ Dan the stability concern is if you leave Malic Acid in a wine and it is bottled a spontaneous MLF can start in the bottle producing fizz. It would not be the first time I have had a commercial wine with some degree albeit minor on the tip of my tongue. So doing a MLF is like our Mothers would do by taking us to the house where the kid had the chicken pox so we could get it and get it over with at a safer younger age. But what is complete. Conventional wisdom says 30ppm but is 50 or 75 a threat of restarting in a bottle after So2 is added? So where is the safe level where we can count on the So2 to do the job especially when we have getting a MLF to complete? And Mr. Wines answered your question regarding protection from acetic bacteria and the like.

    SO my thinking is I don’t see a downside to using lysozyme product when not being able to get completely through a MLF. It seems to me it IS better than more SO2 to do the job.

  4. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 11, 2013

    Are you having problems with the Atlas Peak Merlot?

  5. carmine Frattaroli permalink
    December 11, 2013

    Man i cant believe this I am having problems with my chardonay it won’t finish mlf It just died chromo tells me that it was just about finished acuzin strips tells me that i have 75 to 150 left this is been going on for weeks I did a coinoculation this year and all my wines finished so i reinoculated a few weeks ago and nothing still hasn’t changed I have been keeping the chard warm under a heating blanket and the temp has been 70 to 72 degrees so yesterday morning i racked the wine and s02 it so hopefully in the spring it will go and finish mlf i am going to keep it in cellar all winter where it’s warm. So i might have to Lysosome the wine before i bottle

  6. Gene Fiorot permalink
    December 11, 2013

    Dave’s chromo showed incomplete. Two weeks ago Al’s accuvin was dark purple. My 30 gallons is mixed with 10 gallons of lake county can sav and show 50 ppm with accuvin.

  7. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 11, 2013

    Dan explain this “other than for stabilizing a white against MLF” I think there is some confusion here.

  8. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 11, 2013

    Gene, regarding whites: I was referring to the idea that while most people want their red wines to undergo MLF, many do not want certain whites to undergo MLF. So steps must be taken to prohibit the unwanted MLF to occur.

  9. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 11, 2013

    Ok now I get it. True maybe except for Chardonnay. In my experience I have not used lysozyme with my whites and I have never had an unwanted MLF in a bottle. There could be a few reasons for this. The Ph is lower and the TA are usually a lot higher than the Reds and my last stage of filtering is at .22 microns. I even bottled the results of my 2011 Saignee GSM back sweetened Rose and didn’t have any activity or use of sorbate. I credit the filtering with this. However I did MLF that wine, I should have not from a taste profile standpoint.

    While I am a fan of filtering even I am reluctant to filter a Red at .22 microns. Even though my experience tells me it probably would work that strategy is not what I would use for a Red Wine with an incomplete MLF.

    To be clear and to address the issue of a sterile bottling in an Amateur Environment, I have used in the past the filter cartridges that are rated at .22 microns. They are not absolute. I have since purchased but have not used 99.9% absolute filter cartridges from Critical Process Filtration. I would have even more faith in them but this does not negate all what goes into a absolute sterile bottling line.

    I live in Florida many months of the year. The Liquor Stores are not any cooler than 78 degrees. I never see a commercial bottle with a pushed up cork. You ask me I think there is a lot of sterile filtering going on and that is with reds too. But I am more sure they would deny it.

  10. bzac permalink
    December 12, 2013

    how long has it been going through mlf?

    sometimes it can take a long time.

    I’ve never , ever not had an mlf complete . just sometimes its not until February.

    once or twice I’ve had to reinnoculate with a more robust strain , either because the first strain was questionably viable or the grapes had sulfur issues (late spray or chilean fruit) in which case vp41 took off and completed

    a little warmer , more optimalo and a stir usually works as an intervention.

    whats the issue this year?

  11. bzac permalink
    December 12, 2013

    “Situations arise in winemaking which require controlling the bacterial charge without using excessive doses of sulfur dioxide.

    99% of the time , this is for Californian and Australian winemakers who’s wine is very high ph and they don’t want to bottle at 180ppm so2 , because the wine will taste like matches
    so you add some lysosyme and alot less so2 to your 4.2 ph , 16% alcohol monster and it will survive in truck and on shelves longer.

  12. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 12, 2013

    Zac it looks like the Atlas Peak Merlot is giving some of the guys fits. AND interestingly this year we are finding much high PH and more Brix so we might be in the same boat with the Commercial guys. Our next task will be some good PH recording to see where we are at. I never trust the readings until MLF is done.

  13. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 12, 2013

    Zac, your comment on using Lysozyme to reduce the SO2 needs of high pH wines confirms what I asked.

    Regarding the Atlas Peak Merlot, I have the same concerns about the Silverado 6, which was even higher Brix than the APM. I fermented both of those at the same time from frozen must.

    I inoculated the APM at 3Brix, and the Silver6 at 9Brix, hoping to get the culture established before the alcohol content went through the stratosphere. I pressed both batches on 11-19, so I haven’t even bothered to test yet. Plus I have been having trouble keeping my MLF chamber warm because it’s been so FREEKIN’ COLD!!! this month.

    But back to theory: It seems to me you don’t really have to make a decision on Lysozyme, or Bactozyme until you go to barrel, and our friend Crazy Run wouldn’t even worry about it then.

    I’m thinking that these MLF cultures are isolated commercially for their ability to thrive in harsh environments, and if the environment is that tough on them, is the risk for problems from environmental sources also diminished?

  14. Gene Fiorot permalink
    December 12, 2013

    There is no reason to not have mlf in a barrel it is done all the time. I would say before bottling would be the protocol if using it, Or in the case on Chardonnay to stop it early to preserve the butter dycetl.

    To answer your question the answer is yes higher alcohol and low ph. Contribute to keeping wine safe . Both factors make mlf more difficult .

  15. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    Ok so it seems to me to bring this ethereal discussion back to the real world. Let’s start with the famous Atlas Peak Merlot. Dave reports the following:

    Merlot pH 3.28 TA 10.05 at 71 degrees

    Lake County Cab pH 4.18

    Sangiovese pH 3.86

    Gamay pH 3.49

    Can we look at the Merlot numbers ….
    Pinot Noir pH 4.13

  16. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    Wow 3.28 and Ta 10.05 and at crush it was 3.61 Ph Nice! and .75 TA even better. SO WHAT the F *** happened. Nothing I would not expect. Sorry if you thought differently. More importantly what conclusions do you draw from this? AND how would you proceed? Your prescriptions await….

  17. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 13, 2013

    The Atlas Peak Merlot: as I recall you watered back, and did not add any acid. That’s what I did.

    I just checked my notes, and before fermentation my APM pH was 3.61 (frozen must), but when I pressed it was 3.27….just like Dave measures. So we have a high Brix, high alcohol wine…

    The Silverado6, before ferment was 3.98 (frozen must), post ferment, 3.66…

    My Sangio measures 3.86, same as Dave’s.

    My Pinot was 4.10, I added 2.1g/l tartaric, but it looks like a lot of it is dropping out.. Have not remeasured pH.

    That AP Merlot is all going to get blended with high pH wine eventually. Why not blend it now and give it a chance to MLF? I haven’t sulfited my Lake County Cab yet.

  18. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    I have my ideas …yours???

  19. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    For the Pinot Noir, add more tartaric to 3.55 and cold the crap out of it. I like the Silverado Six and I need to see more before I would make a determination, Sangio is fine as the winemaker sees fit to adjust. For the Merlot, BUT Why not blend it now????? Do you think by blending you will re-energize MLF? That is an interesting proposition.

  20. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 13, 2013

    My AP Merlot was not frozen, but prior to destem was around 3.3 or a touch lower. Stayed there until pitching, so I boosted up with a field blend of a little Petite Sirah (around 3.7 pH) for acid taste reduction, as well as the MLF facilitation angle you mention. Tasting is showing a big drop in Malic acid and is getting close to endpoint. No numbers yet, but progression is not out of usual as far as I can tell so far

  21. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 13, 2013

    I do see the reason for why not, as it may give more ‘problematic’ volume. I don’t think that a little more time(unless in barrel) is a bad idea, and even if only near complete, it shouldn’t be a big issue.

    But like they say the best way to get it to start is by bottling…

    Like Zac I leave my MLF until spring in glass and I really rarely have issues. I mostly relax my obsessive checking and judge by taste, as the wine softens and lactic roundness and mouthfeel increase. I have tested some lots I had questions about with accuvin strips, and they were always pale beige indication. The Merlot did have a bite that was Malic in nature, but it is mostly gone now.

  22. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 13, 2013

    My original plan was to blend the AP Merlot with the Silver 6, but the 6 is already at 3.6, and I don’t think I’ll be adding much if any 3.27 Merlot to that.

    I had the same problem with my Las Amigas Merlot last year, 3.3, and it too was high alcohol. It MlF’d out but it took a while, for sure. I will definitely be using some of this year’s APM to blend down the Lake County to an acceptable pH, and keeping some in glass to help with next year’s high pH stuff if that’s an issue. So why not blend some of it now?

    After the Lake County Cab finishes, I will have some 4+pH wine sitting around waiting for some Merlot anyway.

    I used VP 41-, which according to the Scottlab Manual should cut the mustard in a 3.3pH wine, but slowly.

    Puppy, what was your pH of the APM-PS field blend? What do you mean by blending maybe causing a “problematic” volume?Are you talking about taste, or barrel capacities?

  23. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 13, 2013

    as far as obsessive testing, I am more concerned about my high pH wines, so I can protect them, than I am about the low pH wines moving too slowly. I hate having this stuff sitting around at 3.9-4.1…unprotected.

  24. Dave O'Brien permalink
    December 13, 2013

    My plan was to use the Sangiovese, some Cab and some Merlot to make a Super Tuscan so the pH’s should actually balance themselves out. Rather than mess with the pH with acid addtions and changing the taste profile I will use the 15 gallons of Merlot and the 15 gallons of Cab and do a 50/50 blend with some PS or Verdot as taste requires… Perfect year for blending in my opinion.

    As for the PN at 4.1+ I am curious about taste on your PN / Gamay blend Gene. Since the PN is at 4.1+ and the Gamay at 3.3 we have another opportunity to blend without messing up taste with too much acid addition. Would love to leave both as a varietal but may need to compromise… Only time and some bench testing will tell.

    As for the Merlot with the 3.2 and 10.05 it would seem that this wine may benefit from being out in the frozen garage for a few months. I am not sure how much acid will drop out but it certanily can’t hurt.

    Back to the MLF on the Merlot, I am not seeing any action in the carboys. I am going to try to get one of them up to 76* this weekend with a gentle stir and see what happens..

    Have a great day folks!!!

  25. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 13, 2013

    Dave, your plans for the Sangio, Cab, Merlot blend, and a Cab/Merlot/PS/PV blend mirror my thoughts exactly. It is pretty much what I did last year as well.

    I think what we will find is we still have Merlot left over, because at that acidity, it brings down the pH of the higher pH wines in a hurry.
    I suspect some of that acid is dropping out in the barrels because the pH is rising a touch as it all barrels.

  26. bzac permalink
    December 13, 2013

    I don’t miss California fruit .

    I know it can be great , but I haven’t had to do a sugar addition , water back or acid adjustment on my wines since I went Washington in 2008.

    those of you who tasted my wines tasted the blends , which level out the minor highs and lows I get .

    I also belive that musts in a moderat band with less peaky sugars and acids are less work.
    I don’t have 26 brix plus musts and resulting alcohols that inhibit mlf , nor the uber high PH’s to worry about.

    I’ll take Red Mountain over Napa any day.

  27. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    LOL I was waiting for ZAC to say that. lol! Zac we used to bitch about Central Valley now we thought we had it made and we did for a few years but….. @ dave I really didn’t want to talk about my PN/G blend. thanks lol! All I can say it looks to me you all have your ideas as what to do. May the best man win. lol! And to Dan’s comment about blending to help MLF now. I blended my 30 gallons of Merlot with 10 gallons of Lake County Cab Sav from pressing and it looks about done to me. But I can guarantee my MLF temps are higher. If Dave can swing by and get a sample he can include it with his next Chromo run.

  28. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    Hey Zac does this mean you will be heading to Napa this next season?

  29. joey permalink
    December 13, 2013

    so which do you trust. chromatography or accuvin. is it possible one of them could be giving you an inaccurate reading. or is that not possible.
    or is it better just to err on the side of caution and wait until you get a good reading from both methods.

  30. crazy run ranch permalink
    December 13, 2013

    As a grape grower, I’ll say “don’t blame the grower”. With a few exceptions, the only time grapes get picked at high Brix is due to the buyer wanting it that way. Growers want them picked early without fear of rain, mold, or dehydration. If Napa grapes are trending high Brix/high pH its because high alcohol fruit bombs are still selling well, despite what some of the press says. Pinot at 4.2 pH, crazy stuff.
    Again with the California bashing Zac? You are painting broad strokes. A good deal of premium vineyard land here is cooler than WA state vineyards. It certainly is in my back yard. If you have been there you know they are growing grapes in an arid desert. No disrespect to them, there are some very fine wines coming out of there. But with 6-8 inches of annual rainfall and no coastal effect, the biggest concern should be that all the wines from a certain area will taste the same since the climate is uniform and water from irrigation.
    Back to winemaking. Were the magical increasing acid grapes dehydrated some? Not only sugar dries up and “hides” from you but acid can too. Usually a Zin thing. I would be curious about alcohol levels of some of the slow MLF’s. I am maybe half through MLF this year at best. We have had a cold snap and everything stopped. You nailed it Dan, I’m not worried, will resume in the spring. Topped up in the barrels, its all good.

  31. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    First Steve keep in mind the Brix around 25 has been pretty consistent since 2008 it is the PH that I see rising in the Suisun Grapes and starting last year in the some of the Napa grapes. But to focus on the Atlas Peak Merlot. There is no question this is a Hide and Go Seek Year. Not the first time I have seen TA rise post fermentation. Marty talked about that years ago when first making Lanza grapes. But the PH remained fairly level. Yes there was dehydration and I added water without acid. Here were the original numbers prior to adding the water. Ph 3.61, Ta .75. Brix 26.

    Now after some completion of MLF , Some?, the numbers are Ph 3.2 and an extraordinary 1.05.

    So Puppy thinks they shut down the vines and let them dehydrate. But I really don’t understand that. I know they don’t water that late in the season , I think. And I know if it gets too hot the vines shut down and the sugar in the grapes go back in the vine. So can you explain what this dehydration thing is all about? I can tell you the Bump UP in brix with the Silverado Six Cab Sav was unreal. I watered back from 28n to 25 and the next day it was back at 28. This I have never seen. And Steve you think this is purposeful on the growers part? Who wants to deal with this in the commercial world? I mean 26 is big enough NO? I am just a humble vintner at the mercy of growers. LOL! Come on Steve what gives here?

  32. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 13, 2013

    Hey Joey glad you posted. Well to begin the Accuvin is a test measures quantitative results. That is to say you get a number of parts per million of Malic Acid remaining, you want none. The Chromatography measures qualitative results it shows malic and lactic conversion and can show none. Each test has its limitations. However the bigger problem with both these tests is they rely on interpretation and there is an element of subjective analysis by the tester. Having said that if you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder you probably should send your wine to a lab.

  33. Al Battista permalink
    December 14, 2013

    …What’s the Labs number? LOL

  34. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 14, 2013

    In your case for good reason I am forwarding you the number privately.

  35. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 14, 2013

    Dan after the blending of about 7 or 8% (exchange) between PS and APM the post ferment APM was just under 3.4. I expect to end up around 3.45 when done and That is where I anticipated prior to blending. I will let it go another 2 months or so anyway, but it is around 80 to 90 percent done I think, based on taste profile, which I judge pretty well by small weekly sampling to judge progress.
    Gene, the logic behind the water depriving is that the heat developed the sugars too early, so to keep them from rising too high the vines shut down and allow what is there to come to a phenolic maturity without dropping the acidity along with raising sugar, as happens in scenario of just letting them hang ( or just too long) to develop phenols. The result is better phenolic maturity, and no high ph, low acid scenario. The trade off is dehydration,both from low water and high temps.

  36. crazy run ranch permalink
    December 14, 2013

    Hey Gene, growers want the fruit off when its in good shape with no dehydration since dehydration translates into less weight/less $$ for the grower. But it is up to the buyer to call the picking day. Usually the buyer can also at least influence late season watering. I suppose that fruit packers have logistics producers don’t have like available trucks. In one vineyard I purchase from, you choose your rows and they label them. I took Petite at 24 Brix but my Mourvedre rows were nearby. A week after I took my PS, I was checking my MVR and noticed some PS rows still hanging. I looked and it was a winery in New York. I couldn’t help but check sugar and its was 28 brix! That fruit was still there another week later and was dehydrating. Who know what was going on there. I can’t explain 6 Brix of dehydration and the huge spike in acid, again, I would have words with your source.
    Proud Puppy, interesting theory that I have never heard. In my experience, you shut off water to push sugar up and water to maintain or reduce (if there is dehydration). Maturation brings reduced acid. This is not a precise science, and I can’t really imagine anyone attempting to dehydrate grapes to hit perfect numbers. But my area is cooler than Napa or Suisun. I cracked 25 Brix this year in my Syrah for the first time ever in 2013 with no dehydration at all.

  37. bzac permalink
    December 14, 2013

    LOL , Ok I was stiring the pot.

    And Steve you know we’ve had this discussion before , I am really expressing frustration at the California fruit available to home winemakers .

    I’ve said many times that russian river and sonoma coast are my favorite regions in California because of the climate and fruit profiles , I belive thats your neck of the woods.

    but I can’t get my hands on that fruit .

    California bashing ? I didn’t think I was that strong, more advocating more moderate fruit be more available to home winemakers who don’t live in California.

    There is post after post on Gene’s blog about acid adjustments and mlf issues .

    Gene seems to have influance with his supplier , and if I can speak frankly a bit of a fixation with NAME vineyards and famous locations .

    I thought I might highlight that it doesn’t have to be famous to be good.

    maybe M&M can find some growers in my favorite California region , your backyard .

    As for washington , I’ve never seen fruit with the same kind of profiles as is almost defacto sold to homewinemakers (even ones like our westchester friends are willing to buy in their uuest for the best) , are parts of Washington hot? yes , there are parts of British Columbia that are as hot or hotter than Sonoma too. but maybe the nights are cooler .

    I didn’t even buy tartaric this year .

    I sent some wine to Gene and friends to try out becasue I think there is a perception that you can only get fruit forward wines in California , everywhere else is green and unripe .

    California bashing? Maybe promoting the underdog too much.

  38. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 14, 2013

    Well, it has been an interesting change for the guy from The Finger Lakes.

  39. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 14, 2013

    I wasn’t involved in the process 2 years ago, but as I recall it was cold, and harvests were late in the same regions we bought from the last 2 years (namely Suisun and Napa), some fruit in 2011 harvested in November, trying to get the sugar up there.

    The next two years, hot as hell everything is high Brix and in Suisun anyway, low acid. It’s kind of a crap shoot for M&M, and the home winemaker out east, because commitments have to be made before we know what kind of year it is, no?

  40. bzac permalink
    December 14, 2013

    when I was living back east and working with alot of finger lakes and niagra on the lake grapes , I must admit I sought out the California Grapes I now “bash”
    ripe low acid , very fruity.

    amadore & susian cab and merlot were perfect partners for finger lakes cab franc.

    pinot noir from a warmer part of sonoma to pair with niagra gamay noir.

    and central valley zinfandel to blend with the Frontinac monster.

  41. bzac permalink
    December 14, 2013

    I did buy some merlot this year, from california.

    inspired by the bungun funny merlot is back advert I thought I’d do a melot .

    I bought 500 lbs of it from Lodi , a small independednt grower a local urban winery buys from.

    I’m going to blend it .

    60% red mountain merlot , 35% california merlot , 5% red muntain cab franc is the plan.

  42. bzac permalink
    December 14, 2013

    whew , got that off my chest , feels like a winemaker’s anonomous meeting!! LOL

  43. bzac permalink
    December 14, 2013

    that gunbun ad

  44. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 14, 2013

    Versace,Valentino, Armani, Beckstoffer heck we are Cosmopolitan New Yorkers. Of course we are fixated. But wait in my defense… Let’s look at this historically. In the days of buying Central Valley fruit we didn’t even know the county the fruit came from. So when we could actually say Suisun Valley and then Lanza Vineyards and then Scarlett Ranch we thought we died and went to heaven. We made a Vineyard specific wine. You dream about this in New York. Then a year of two later our supplier Frank Musto says, How would you like to make a Rutherford Cab Sav?” Really? Andy Beckstoffer’s no less. Ok so we are going to make a Cab that retails for over 100 dollars a bottle? You have to be kidding.

    Let’s move along to the fruit. Brown seeds! Look we actually have brown seeds! Ripe grapes now there is an improvement. What do we know about ripe fruit. We are accustomed to getting 24 brix green seed grapes with the character of Walmart. And with no Acid and crummy PH too. Thank you Napa and Suisun for that change. We like Sonoma too but it seems to present challenges for the Packers.

    What have we learned while trying on our Armanis. There are probably no bad grapes in Suisun or Napa. While we may have learned this very well in Suisun our experience getting a variety of them from Napa remains elusive. So we are pretty happy with Andy Boy. Now this year Atlas Peak has come into play, we like this too. I wish we had more to choose from Sonoma too. We have also learned how to handle fruit from these areas. Quite a bit different than the old days when if you had to add water to a Must you knew you would have Rose’ by the time it was done.

    Guilty as charged!

  45. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 14, 2013

    I agree CRR but the fruit did not have high acid but normal when rehydrated(both Cabs).
    The Merlot was a different animal. Decent fruit. Some of us had a low pH and some of us around 3.6. The dehydration was the Atlas Peak Cab, and the Silverado Cab.

    Our transit time has never given this high a brix, so it is not that. Also the high Brix usually went hand in hand with a low TA and high pH expected from long hang time. This year, acids were mostly normal, requiring only water, (pure dehydration) had good maturity, and when restored, acidity was relatively and still is normal range. And they needed a lot of water. Numbers were good after the water was added. Luckily we did not use acidulated water, or only a very small amount of acid, which gave a very good final balance. I’m at a loss to explain any other reason for this bump, especially considering the high heat early and into mid season this year.

  46. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 14, 2013

    What would be a real gift like manna from heaven (hint hint) is if somebody in the early links of the supply chain was reading (probably are) and could chime in and help these little blind mice figure out the aspects of this , because maybe we are off course completely.
    Not that the fruit is a problem, but it really gives us a heads up on what is required of us and when. I am very happy with this years fruit don’t get me wrong. We could have easily gone the known route and added fully acidulated water and really fouled things up.

  47. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 14, 2013

    “pinot noir from a warmer part of sonoma to pair with niagra gamay noir.” Ahh Ha!

  48. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 14, 2013

    If the Atlas Peak Stage Coach Vineyard is a repeat for next year maybe we can get some information from the grower and or a winery that uses these grapes. I am sure Berton ( Delta Packing) can help us out.

    Maybe Frank can mention this to him and see what he can report before we reach the 2014 harvest.

  49. bzac permalink
    December 14, 2013

    LOL too funny Gene,

    bottom line , its all about the care taken to grow , supply and make it.

    and I fully aknowledge it was California growers who made the whole world lift their game.

    And I used to make alot of caldwell Napa cab every year to try and make my own cult cab.

    great fruit but 28 brix 3.9 ph 4.5 TA numbers took some work, they looked like CV numbers but it certainly wasn’t anything but great wine.

    My pallet has changed and after 2 years of drinking almost nothing but French wine in 2011 and 2012 , its moved even further that way.

    this has also influanced what I like to make .

    my taste is not everyones taste.

    chacun a’ son gout .

  50. David O'Brien permalink
    December 14, 2013

    When life gives you lemons, make lemonaid…

    I spent some time today staying warm and dry and played with some very early blending ideas. The wide range of numbers in our grapes may actually play into our favor. For one, our very high pH Pinot Noir blends really, really nicely with the low pH Gamay. I was able to get the blended pH to about 3.6 with what tastes just fabulous. The Gamay this year is a true fruit bomb and really helps bring the Pinot Noir to life… A little research says that the blend is actually called Dole in western Switzerland.

    In the the other carboys the very high Lake County Cab and the Atlas Peak Merlot balance out to a nice 3.55 pH with the help of a little Verdot. Anyone have a little Cab Franc laying around…And again, these wine compliment each other nicely…

    Maybe tomorrow I will play with the sangiovese and see what else I can plan when these wines make it to the barrel in springtime.

    Lemonaid…bah humbug, I think with a little patience and creativity this seasons problems may land us some wonderful wines!!!

    In the spirit of blending I think I will celebrate this evening with a nice GSM courtesy of Gene.

    Happy Saturday folks!!!

  51. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 14, 2013

    When Life gives you a snow storm you stay in the house and go into the cellar and do what you should have been doing as a winemaker all along. It seems Dave you are not the only one who found his way to the cellar today for me to test some wines and the other to escape decorating the tree.

    Dole you say. And here I thought I was breaking new ground or did I?

    So here are my results. No post tartaric additions there are no new PH numbers. These wines are in tanks and the acid needs time to integrate.

    75% Merlot 25% LakeCounty Cab was ph 3.70 I did not make adjustments this is destined to receive 20 gallons of Silverado Six for a 60 gallon barrel.

    50% Lake County Cab 50% LAnza Musto Sangiovese was PH 4.01 TA .675 That kinda sucks but I raised it to TA .72

    50% 50% Gamay/Pinot Noir Blend was 3.72 no adjustments made

    85 % 15% Zin/Petite Sirah was at PH 3.9 TA .60 raised it to .675

    Malbec was Ph 3.96 Ta .525 raised it to .63

    Enjoy the Hungarian GSM tonight the French Oak GSM has yet to be bottled. Now that will be a very nice comparison to make.

  52. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 14, 2013

    Scroll up to the top to see Al Battista’s cure for sluggish MLF.

  53. crazy run ranch permalink
    December 14, 2013

    “I fully aknowledge it was California growers who made the whole world lift their game”
    Now that’s more like it Zac! I hope you know my busting you for your comments is about like two guys arguing over which sports team is better. I know that you are fond of the cooler areas of Sonoma (my back yard) and I share your frustrations with growers pushing the limits of ripeness while ignoring pH and acidity levels. Diurnal temperature variation is actually much higher the closer you get to the coast, around here anyway and much greater than the Willamette Valley in Oregon. So I think there is more to the acidity equation than night temps. One thing that could play a major role is the length of our season. With Syrah in particular, my vineyard will often plateau around 22-23 Brix then the acid slowly drops while the last couple points of sugar rise and seeds brown up. In 2011 (cool year), we picked at 3.9 pH and 22.5 Brix, basically because we didn’t want a higher pH and it was late October. We could have picked a month earlier with the same Brix and lower pH. I didn’t because I was going for full maturity and hoping for a little more sugar. The point is that sometimes in California, the extra hang time can drop acids even if its not hot. I think Oregon is usually up against the weather so no dicking around there.
    My tastes have moved more towards lower alcohol, balanced wine as well. Its seems to be a slow moving change here in Sonoma.

  54. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 14, 2013

    I too took advantage of the snowstorm and the wildly dissimilar pH wines to blend my APMerlot with my Lake County Cab…I didn’t bother taking a pH yet.

    I had already blended my P Sirah with last year’s Las Amigas Lemonade, and that will likely round out another blend.

    It should be fun tasting these at the 2015 Bacchanalia.

  55. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 15, 2013

    Dan you mean the 2014 Anna Parenna. Don’t Miss this event Members, coming soon to your favorite Restorante this Spring. And keep the Viagra handy for what ever should attempt to arise.

  56. bzac permalink
    December 15, 2013

    when my wife lived in switzerland , just before we got married we used to drink Dole’ a local 50 50 blend of pinot noir and merlot .

    that inspired my blend.

    the sonoma pinot and gamay from niagra were disapointing on their own.

    blended , they won second overall (by one point ) in the hotly contsested pinot noir category at the Canadian nationals.

    have faith , sometimes you can surprise yourself with blends.

  57. bzac permalink
    December 15, 2013

    I think soil composition and elevation may inpact acidity levels .

    the areas where I get my grapes from are typicaly 1000-2000 feet.

    But Steve if I was buying my own land to farm , your area would be in my top 4 .

    I’ve tasted your wine, and it was excellent .

    you don’t get those results without first rate fruit.

    I just wish I could by lugs of it .

  58. bzac permalink
    December 15, 2013

    this was an early year for grape for me , October 15th . previous earliest November 2 . the long season may also inpact acid levels.

    I get my grapes the day after they are picked.

    back in my CV days , I once had grapes in Vancouver by August 29th!

  59. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 15, 2013

    I don’t profess to know anything about grape growing, but Puppy’s “dehydration” hypothesis seems to me to explain what happened in my ’12 Las Amigas Merlot, and my ’13 AP Merlot and Silverado 6 Cab

    It turned out to be a fortunate break for me that I had to wait to do this year’s, and did frozen must, because I had reports of the wild drop in pH in the Merlot before I acidulated my amelioration.
    Tasting every day during punchdowns, somewhere around 8Brix, the taste went from nice to very very acidic. In ’12 I figured I must have messed up on my acidulation, but I checked and rechecked, and re-re-re checked, and had, as planned, added 1/2 of what I thought I would need.

    So, it happened again in ’13, but thanks to reports, at least I didn’t add to the problem.

    BTW, if the club decides to try to get something from Washington, I’m in.

  60. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 15, 2013

    @Dave, the Gamay you had last week at the dinner, that was just straight Gamay, right?

  61. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 15, 2013

    It’s funny how these Big Red Dudes love my attempts at Languedoc-Roussillon with GSM and Gamay. Tastes must be evolving. (Valdiguié is a red wine grape grown primarily in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France)

  62. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 15, 2013

    Dan, I’m not sure that was the story with the 12 Las Amigas Carneros Merlot. I had that last year fresh, and I was spot on with the #s and it needed nothing. Recalling from my head there was 3.55 or 3.6 pH and 25 to 26 brix, amd no dehydration. I also got the same grapes 2012 frozen must this year, and almost the exact same #s. No manipulation needed. I’m not sure why you had a need to add acid or water to thos e, unless you had frozen and not completely thawed, giving high brix and low acid (acid drops out and water stays frozen without sugar giving low acid and high brix).
    The Cab we had this year was dehydrated for sure, but I’m not sure what happened to your Las Amigas, as it was so good I got more this year.

  63. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 15, 2013

    I racked some carboys of Petite Sirah today. It was at 76 degrees in the boiler room. It had tartrates! Now Al reports a 4.08 Ph not exactly an acid bomb wine for tartrates. 2013 the Year of Weird.

  64. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 15, 2013

    @Gene, regarding tastes evolving, I think in my case it’s more my eyes being opened to wines I’d not been exposed to, at least not at the level of quality we’re drinking at club gatherings.

    Puppy, you are probably right about me being fooled by the frozen must, but doing the math, it is still weird how much the acid moved relative to my addition.

  65. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 15, 2013

    The 2012 Las Amigas Merlot. At crush Ph 3.65 Brix 26.5 fermented with no water addition.
    Actually Dan I was poking a bit because for the past 3 years the converts to the Gamay have been impressive and now the accolades over the GSM from comments that amounted to , ” GSM What’s that? ” Actually Zac I am trying to get to that elegant French style. So they start to become believers. Wanna bet how many ask to make GSM next year? And I was thinking since the Grenache Noir is tough to get I think I will replace it with the Lanza Valdiguie. So it will be a bigger wine than made as a varietal but Languedoc-Roussillon all the same. I like this idea as a reward I will have a Martini now.

  66. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 15, 2013

    Gene, whatever you decide along this line of thinking, I’m in. Martini included.

  67. Al Battista permalink
    December 15, 2013

    OK GUYS!!!! My Latest on the Atlas Peak Merlot. After using about $30.00 worth of Acuvin strips This wine isn’t done with MLF. Gene asked what the wine Temp is, I took it and it was 71 Degrees. He told me to increase it. Well i have an electric blanket over my carboys and temp is set on I added a couple of blankets over the top….And happy to report after a day ,wine temp up to 76 degrees I’m getting some action which i didn’t see before.. So there is HOPE.. But all my wine except the Merlot have a High PH.. added Tartaric Acid to only my Malbec and Petite Sirah Petite Which had a PH of 4.08. What A crazy Year!!

  68. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 15, 2013

    Good going AL. So fellas now break out your rectal thermometers and measure your Merlot wine temperature. Vaseline and all and get back to us .

  69. Gaetano permalink
    December 16, 2013

    Gene, I’m going to be one of the Gamay converts and really interested in making a GSM next season, as Dan put it, my eyes have been open to a lot of great wine at the Club get together.
    Dan, you mentioned wanting to make Washington grapes, I just tasted a sample from my Yakima Cab, it is really nice, really young, but really nice, I cannot wait to try it again after a few months in a barrel, MLF on the cab finish fairly quick according to the Chromatography test, the Lanza Sangiovese still has some more time to go, but I cannot wait to sample that as well!.

  70. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 16, 2013

    Gaetano. Washington State grapes are in play. But Mr. Musto we want to start with Pinot Noir Sir. So can you make this happen this coming year? Nope Oregon won’t cut it. Oh and welcome to Languedoc-Roussillon. Isn’t it wonderful? Buy some taste some. Vin de Pays Languedoc-Roussillon. The beginning of the trek to Elegance.

  71. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 16, 2013

    One of the basic varietals of Languedoc is Carignan, which was quite good when M&M had the Old Vine Carignan in 2008 or 2009. Nothing spectacular, but a solid varietal used mostly as a base blend. If I am not mistaken I believe it is by volume the highest produced varietal either from France or Europe.
    Languedoc has some solid wines and is usually ‘overshadowed’ by other appellations, not that it is a lesser quality producing area. I’m not a big french style fan, but some Languedoc wines I had were quite nice.

  72. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 16, 2013

    Yes the Balestra Old Vine dry farmed Old Vine Zin and Carigane in Suisun. Great fruit if it doesn’t burn up and since it all ripens at different times makes it difficult to pack for Ron. multiple gold medals in 08 with the fruit from that vineyard. Not one year goes by I don’t ask for that fruit. Since 08 it is a long time. BUT a Lanza Gamay Balestra Carignane and some Lanza Syrah and some Paso Mourvedre Oh Boy !

  73. Gaetano permalink
    December 16, 2013

    Sounds great!

  74. Glenn permalink
    December 16, 2013

    Put me in for that one Gene

  75. crazy run ranch permalink
    December 17, 2013

    Good to hear talks of making GSM. I find it so much more food friendly than Cab based wines. Finding good Grenache is the trick and cooler climate Syrah tends to match up to Grenache better or use less of it. Mourvedre can be a little odd tasting on its own but brings some unique flavors to the blend. I make a saignee rose’ from these grapes to get a GSM rose’ that is really tasty. I find that a GSM blend usually is better than any of the individuals on their own.

  76. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 17, 2013

    I agree Steve about the synergy of the blend. I have a Mourvedre Story. It was told to me as a true story but I cannot document it. A Winemaker goes into his cellar and confronts the Cellar Master and his Crew and accuses them of smoking in the cellar. They protest this and say they would never smoke in the cellar. Leaving that story for a moment, Paul Gatti, our Club Member turned commercial, arrives one day at a pressing during lunch and produces a bottle of wine for us to evaluate. I taste it and love it. AND what impresses me is the quality of oak, the maturity, the entire aging of this wine. He informs me with a laugh included it is not mature. NO? ok then I move to the obvious question What was the Barrel American (naw not a possiblilty) French ( naw not elegant for that) Hungarian ( Bar B Que yeah I could think that ) The response from Paul WRONG! NO BARREL.

    I guess that Winemaker was smelling his Mourvedre was not smoking after all. I swear if you drank this wine you would lose your shirt totally convinced the wine was in a barrel. It was not. In glass with no oak chips in case you needed to ask.

  77. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 17, 2013

    Al’s reports continued MLF action in the Merlot at 76 degrees.

  78. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 17, 2013

    While we deal with 2013 I guess others are having problems with 2011 we didn’t have. You can attribute this to Frank Musto and Ron Lanza and it was not without some issues but we made it all and all pretty decently if not fabulously. Others have a different take….

  79. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 18, 2013

    as I try to sort through the fuzz of what i remember from Bacchanalia, I recall some 2011s. They were all good. Gene, was the GSM you provided a 2011?
    I didn’t make any 2011; I went to Italy in October and THOUGHT I’d miss the harvest. When I came back, on the last weekend of October, everyone was still waiting.

    i had mixed feelings, because I was upset that I missed the season, but then, everyone was on pins and needles about the late harvest and I wasn’t sorry to be missing that.

  80. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 18, 2013

    2011 was rough on me in the winery getting it all done with the temperature dropping like a rock and me going to Home Depot every two days for a couple of propane tanks in order to keep the place warm. Not fun. The only real wine issue was the Primitivo which was late sprayed and had some H2S issues which cleared up quickly. The GSM was 2011 and it was a field blend. Frank managed to get all three to me at the same time. Usually Mourvedre is a late harvest grape so being a late season probably accounted getting all three at the same time. As far as the GSM is concerned hoping the Grenache Noir would be good and it did look good I still resorted to doing a 10 percent Saignee.

  81. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 18, 2013

    I know you’ve mentioned this before, but what were the % in the GSM?

  82. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 18, 2013

    67% G 23% S 10%M

  83. Gaetano permalink
    December 21, 2013

    Is everyone still alive? I haven’t seen a post in days, I need my fix…LOL!

  84. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 21, 2013

    that means it’s time for our Blogmeister to write a new piece.

  85. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 21, 2013

    LOL yes ! We are alive. Think of it like waiting for a MLF to finish. I have been looking for a topic to start but so far I have not found one that would generate some interest. I did make a comment that Dan picked up on. It was about me finding tartrates in the Petite Sirah when I racked it at 76 degrees. I have never seen this before. I might expect it if it was a high acid wine but it is not. Upon retesting I did get a PH of 3.9 down from 4.05 and a TA of 60. Al had similar PH numbers but his TA was not right as I think his NaOH was stale. Al didn’t have the KHP (potassium hydrogen phthalate) to standardize his NaOH. Anyway at .60 I am thinking of raising it to .67 to see where it winds up.

    Dan also mentioned a thread in winepress regarding post fermentation numbers. The idea that you can lower your PH to 3.6 and ignore the TA to some degree, then cold stabilize with the result after CS of the TA going back down and the PH staying the close to 3.6 is a good idea. Except there are limits to the amount of tartaric you might be willing to add without creating a problem. I think it is a good idea within the limits of a normal addition based on a low TA to begin with. I would be hesitant to do it with a wine that already had a decent TA. But I will admit I have never tried it in that case. I would love the Petite Sirah at 3.6 but is already at Ta.60 Would you go to .80 or more to achieve 3.6 and then pray for a serious CS? I just don’t have those balls. It may work on paper but in real life I need convincing.

    Also Dan refers in an email to me about the winepress discussion regarding post fermentation numbers. What strikes me about that discussion is it designed for who can be the Chemist of the Week. You make wine like a chemist you make wine that tastes like it. That’s how I see it.

    Hey maybe that should be the new blog piece! I need to think about it. Written well if could ruffle some feathers.. “You make wine like a chemist you make wine that tastes like it.” hmmm

  86. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 21, 2013

    I want to add to what I said above. Since I am in tanks it is hard for me to risk making adjustments which might be too extreme. However for the sake of trying if you have multiple carboys of a wine and you adjust one of them to a PH of 3.6 and say to hell with where the TA lands then give it a really cold shot and see where your TA and PH ends up I don’t see any problem if it doesn’t work if you are blending that carboy with the others for a barrel. Someone should try it with Malbec or the Petite Sirah. I will be interesting to see the results. Volunteers?

  87. Zac Brown permalink
    December 22, 2013

    Wine like a chemist !

    I know two people , both who have forgottan more about wine theory than I’ll ever know .
    Both went commercial ,

    Both make wine I think tastes of the lab not the grape .

  88. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 22, 2013

    Zac there was something about Flanagan’s posts that led me to think this. Not exactly sure what it was. Of course Greg had to trump the thoughts. LOL Come on Greg I know for sure with all your chemistry expertise you don’t approach the ART this way. We all know it.

  89. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 23, 2013

    Seriously, check out the pH on this:
    They make quite decent wines including a single varietal Mourvedre, which was excellent.
    I think around half of the P.S. from different companies that I have seen and tried are 3.7 or over.
    With that tannin and anthocyanin level, you have no worries about microbial growth even at moderate or below ‘pH adjusted ‘ SO2 levels. Oxidation aint happening either. Yes that brand and label says 3.8 pH and it is not likely to be loaded super high with SO2. Of course, sterile filtering may help (possibly done but not sure) .

    And if anybody adjusts anything, I think the Malbec should be the victim ….it is just begging for that adjustment

  90. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 23, 2013

    PS: not Petite Sirah, but post script
    I meant to link this:
    but it goes to show it is not just Petite.
    that is almost 3.9!!
    this is over 3.9:
    I wouldn’t get panties twisted over 3.7 or 3.75 or 3.8. If it tastes good, and balanced, leave the tartaric on the shelf, you will be happier.

  91. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 23, 2013

    Is it not the trend for the lush “New World” style wines to be higher in pH than the traditional European counterparts?
    I seem to remember reading somewhere about a non SO2 method to protect higher pH wines, something available to the commercial wineries but beyond the scope of the amateur scale winemaker.
    IN fact when Gene mentioned “Biozyme” I was wondering if that was it. Unfortunately, I can not remember any more than that or where I read it.

  92. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 23, 2013

    Anybody finish MLF with the Silverado 6 yet?
    Particularly Gene’s batch, which was done at the same time as mine.
    I was planning on doing some chromo this week, with all the time off for Christmas and all.

  93. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 23, 2013

    The Six is still banging the air lock in the tank every 30 minutes or so. Not much going on in the PV tank as far a air lock action.

  94. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 24, 2013

    Don’t know who else got the Atlas Peak Cab (somebody had it frozen) but there is an interesting nose developing, although very subtle. I think I am picking up a note of Amarone which is very nice, but I don’t think it could come from the dehydrated grapes, as they were not fully raisins and they still had purple color. I actually think it is a good thing, as far as complexity, but like I said, subtle. There wasn’t even that much present, and mostly there was an overall dehaydratin, with a few shriveled clusters.

    Do you guys get any of that with the Silverado 6, (as that would be more intense as it had a bit more dehydration)?? I have made dehydrated grapes in a few past vintages, but I never had any Amarone notes. At first I smelled it it was familiar, but I couldn’t identify it, as not expected, and then it came to me. Let me know if anybody gets that on AP Cab or Silverado 6.

    I think my AP Merlot is about finished with MLF, by taste anyhow. Really dropped in acid profile alot. It won’t get racked anyway for at least a month or two.

  95. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 24, 2013

    I didn’t get the AP Cab but we have the Silverado Six Cab. It is doing well now under MLF. I have not tasted it. I am sure it will be too fizzy to make any kind of judgement

  96. Proud Puppy permalink
    December 24, 2013

    I forget that not many people sample until way after MLF. I get a fizzy interference at the end of AF, but don’t pick up any during MLF sampling, save for the start when CO2 is still left from AF.

    Under pressure as in MLF post bottling,(luckily never had) it would surely be fizzy. Easy to get the aromas also after a quick swirl and letting the MLF gasses blow off.

    For me it is a reliable way of sensing what is there and where it is going and very predictable starting around the end of MLF. The overall profile is apparent then, but the subtle notes and complexity change usually for the better.

  97. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 27, 2013

    Well Al reports via Accuvin the Petite Verdot is just about done. Another week or so and it is time to rack. Can anyone else confirm?

  98. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 27, 2013

    My chromo is drying as I type. I’ll let you know.

  99. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 27, 2013

    I sent Gene a copy of the Chromo but here is how I read it:

    My Lanza Sangio is not done. This was fermented in September and co-inoculated. How is everyone else’s Lanza Sangio. Is it time to reinoculate?

    PV is done, my Atlas Peak Merlot/Lake Cty Cab Blend is done, and my Silverado 6 is almost done. I was worried about the S6, due to the high alcohol.

    I am perplexed by the Sangio.

  100. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 27, 2013

    I did see Dan’s chromo and I agree. But he has had significant development of Lactic in the Sangiovese. I wonder what an Accuvin would say.

    I did check my Petite Verdot using Accuvin and it is done. Racking this Sunday.

  101. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 27, 2013

    As for re inoculating. I think it is time to use Accuvin during the next 2 and 4 weeks. If you see no progress from now then you should inoculate again or if you have stock in a ML bacteria producer feel free to add more ML bacteria now.

  102. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 28, 2013

    Gene, I used Bacchus this year, because you can buy it in small batches. Zac told me it is the same as VP 41 but you can buy it in 1gm packs. I have an extra pack, so money is no object.

    I used it in the Silverado as well. Also the AP Merlot, but wound up blending that with your Lake County Cab, so it had some help there.

  103. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 28, 2013

    Interestingly, for the Sangio I made a super culture, and for the Silver6 I merely hydrated and added.

    I will wait to hear how others have made out with their Sangio before proceeding.

  104. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 28, 2013

    We racked the Petite Verdot today and I tested the Silverado Six for MLF completion. Not even close using Accuvin. Makes me want to try a Chromatography to see what it produces. Above, Dan says almost complete. Here is an example of wanting to use both tests. At least the Chromo would indicate some lactic production where at this point in the game for me the Accuvin is pretty purple which could lead one to believe that MLF has not even started.

  105. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 28, 2013

    How can you tell that there has been lactic production with a chromo? that lactic may have been there at the start, no?

  106. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 29, 2013

    NO there is no lactic unless produced by MLF

  107. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 29, 2013

    Well to be exact some yeasts will produce some.

  108. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 29, 2013

    I did not know that. I thought there was some naturally occurring lactic, and MLF added to that by converting malic. Pretty basic stuff for me to just be learning now, I guess. And just when I was about to go commercial.
    thanks for the knowledge. again.

  109. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 29, 2013

    Well if you use a yeast like BDX it is pretty unlikely you are going to have any conversion of Malic. But for learning purposes do a Chromo next season after you press before you inoculate. See what you get. Or get a Lactic Acid Accuvin Test kit and then you can see if you have any Lactic present.

  110. Dan Lodico permalink
    December 30, 2013

    Any progress reports on the Lanza-Musto Sangio MLF from the crew?

  111. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 30, 2013

    Al reports his is done. My Blend is done.

  112. David O'Brien permalink
    January 5, 2014

    As of 1/5/14 the Merlot is no closer to being done than it was 4 weeks ago…the Verdot is done!

  113. Dan Lodico permalink
    March 1, 2014

    2-28-14, My Lanza Sangiovese FINALLY tests (chromo) completed for MLF. Fermented back in September.

    Something about this wine? Last year my Lanza Sangio was the first I fermented and the last to finish MLF.

  114. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    March 3, 2014

    I think it is safe to say the Merlot will not finish as a varietal. Blended at pressing presented no problem.

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