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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.





5 Responses leave one →
  1. Glenn permalink
    December 23, 2016

    I know a wine maker who uses olive oil in his barrel once he starts filling his 1 gallon bottle. Every few days he uses a tap on his 30 gallon barrel to refill his 1 gallon bottle and does not top up the barrel. the oil protects his wine and at the end of the year cleans the barrel and dries and sulfites for the next year. barrel is very old.

  2. Bzac permalink
    December 26, 2016

    I’ve read about using oil , in a book from the 50’s . Old school

    I’d be inclined if oil worked , to try noblesse fining .

  3. Bzac permalink
    December 27, 2016

    Found another reference to this , Jackische in modern winemaking , usp mineral oil is used to treat disulfides.

    I once tried the olive oil protection thing in a demijohn , what a pita!

  4. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    December 27, 2016

    Jackish? I need to dust off that book! Thanks for the Noblesse info.

  5. carmine Frattaroli permalink
    December 27, 2016

    I Know somebody that has a 200 liter stainless steel tank from Italy he fills it with wine adds oil to the top of wine puts the lid over it the lid is loose he gets his wine from the bottom spicket oil and lid moves down inside the tank as he takes the wine out as he needs it . He says wine does not mix with the oil. He has a temperature controlled wine cellar that’s what keeps his wine from not spoiling.

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