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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.






9 Responses leave one →
  1. Beppe saronni permalink
    January 5, 2017

    What’s the initial pH of that barbera ours
    same year and grape ) was . 9 ta.

  2. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    January 6, 2017

    Welcome to the blog. I do not have the TA Figures for the 2015 . But I do know the PH was around 3.5. All I can say is two things. One is with a TA of .9 I find that extremely high to the point I am questioning your Sodium Hydroxide being weak. If not then I sure would like to know your PH. Two, if you are correct I am wondering if that is the reason for a late MLF. I know the Bacteria is PH dependent but .9 Ta makes me wonder if at that acid level that is the problem. As a side note our 2016 Barbera is having a hard time finishing MLF and is about half way done. I have re- inoculated it and waiting to see if it completes.

  3. bzac permalink
    January 8, 2017

    VA & Brett , so2 issues?

  4. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    January 8, 2017

    So2 was never a problem Not sure how we got here at all.

  5. Anatoli permalink
    January 16, 2017

    Hello Gene, are you making any blends with Barbera? what were your numbers in 2016? I just received frozen must and measured 27Brix with pH 3.3. Although I’d wait for few more days to re-check pH, sugar was consistent last couple of days.

  6. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    January 16, 2017

    We were at 25.5 and 3.5 or so on the PH No blending is planned. I would like to see it as a varietal.

  7. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    February 13, 2017

    An update on the Barbera. We are at the end of the second stage of the treatment. Brett is almost 100 percent gone. I am pretty sensitive to it and it was very hard to detect. I have no doubt many would not be able notice a trace. The beautiful berries are back in the nose and taste. One more stage to go and I think we have it licked.

  8. Bzac permalink
    February 17, 2017

    Great news !
    I find that this stuff works well.

    It can turn a wine around . Post ferment ,
    I only use it when I have to , I find that it brings the fruit out , I think at the cost of a little complexity . I like to blend another varietal that hasn’t been treated , particularly an aromatic variety , then age it in a barrel for a while .
    I might even use a mix of French and American cubes

  9. Gene Fiorot permalink*
    February 20, 2017

    It works that is for sure. In this case with all the problems we had with it I think we will bottle in the Spring. We have some oak in there now. One more racking to go in a month.

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