2020 Meritage Plus

October 2020I’m great at complicating things. My intention was to produce 2 wines this fall: 1st run Merlot-heavy Bordeaux blend that includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot — and a 2nd run wine using the pomace from the 1st run.

Then Lorraine & I toured the Biltmore Estate, and in the wine tasting I tried a wine that is a mixture of Bordeaux and Rhone grapes + Zinfandel. That got me thinking. So … I ended up substituting 4 lugs of Zinfandel for 4 lugs of Merlot.  Still gonna make 2 wines, a 1st and 2nd run …

During pressing I got a hare-brained idea and put free run wine (wine drained from the pomace without pressing) of both Merlot and the Vinifera Blend in the 54 liter demijohn, with the intention this goes in barrel #1. That wine is called Meritage.

Then there is this wine … the pressings from both Merlot and the Vinifera Blend, plus all the Zinfandel were combined. Since the other wine is “Meritage”, and this one is a similar blend plus Zinfandel, I dubbed it “Meritage Plus”.

Meritage — this is a name coined by the Meritage Association in the late 80’s to provide non-Bordeaux wineries with a way to identify their wines as a Bordeaux-style blend, without infringing on the “Bordeaux” copyright & trademark.


This wine is the pressings of 4 batches, which I’ve condensed into this log. As I’m keeping 1 gallon of each of those wines, those logs remain available.


I bottled 1 gallon of the unoak blend to compare against in the future.


Ingredients

Grape Merlot 1: 144# Merlot from Lanza Vineyards, Suisun Valley, CA, American fermentation oak, SG 1.102

Merlot 2: 144# Merlot from Lanza Vineyards, Suisun Valley, CA, French fermentation oak, SG 1.102

Vinifera Blend: 36# each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. French fermentation oak, SG 1.100

Zinfandel: 144# Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi, CA, American fermentation oak, SG 1.090

Enzyme 6.5 total tsp Scottzyme Color Pro
Fermentation Oak 2 lb shredded French oak, medium toast

1 lb shredded American oak, medium toast

Yeast 3 packages Red Star Premier Rouge
Nutrient 12 tsp Fermax + 6 tsp Fermax each
Sulfite potassium metabisulfite added at various points (see below)
Aging Oak 5 oz medium toast Hungarian oak cubes in the barrel

Method

This first section is an amalgamation of the starting of the 2020 Merlot, Vinifera Blend, and Zinfandel wines. 1 gallon of each of these wines is preserved separately so I’ll have 5 bottles of each available for later comparison. 10/10/2020
Crushed & destemmed the grapes. Grapes at 52 F, have to warm up to 65 F before inoculation.

Added Scottzyme Color Pro for improved color extraction and 1 lb fermentation oak.

10/10/2020
SG see above
Temperature rose to 67 F in the afternoon. Added 12 tsp Fermax and yeast to each fermenter.

Average SG is 1.100

10/11/2020
SG see above
Added 6 tsp Fermax to each fermenter. 10/14/2020
SG 1.058 to 1.060
Medium pressed the pomace of the Merlot 1, Merlot 2, and Vinifera Blend (free run went into Meritage blend). Medium pressed the Zinfandel. 10/20/2020
SG 0.997
Racked, filled barrel with excess in smaller containers. 11/20/2020
SG 0.995
Racked smaller containers, prepping to rack barrel. Homogenized all smaller containers. This produced 3 gallons of topup wine. 02/25/2021
SG 0.995
Racked the barrel and mixed in the topup wine to homogenize the wine. Added 3/4 tsp K-meta. Racked back into the barrel + topup jugs. 03/07/2021
SG 0.995
Added 3/4 tsp K-meta. 06/05/2021
SG 0.995
SG
SG

Notes:

Yield ? bottles
Alcohol 14.3%

6 Responses

  1. February 27, 2021

    […] Meritage Plus – The second barrel contains everything else, and is roughly 40% Merlot, 20% Vinifera Blend, and 40% Merlot. This wine is tracked in a separate log. […]

  2. February 27, 2021

    […] Meritage Plus – The second barrel contains everything else, and is roughly 40% Merlot, 20% Vinifera Blend, and 40% Merlot. This wine is tracked in a separate log. […]

  3. February 27, 2021

    […] Meritage Plus – The second barrel contains everything else, and is roughly 40% Merlot, 20% Vinifera Blend, and 40% Merlot. This wine is tracked in a separate log. […]

  4. February 27, 2021

    […] Meritage Plus – The second barrel contains everything else, and is roughly 40% Merlot, 20% Vinifera Blend, and 40% Merlot. This wine is tracked in a separate log. […]

  5. February 27, 2021

    […] The pressings from the Merlot and Vinifera blend, plus all the Zinfandel, goes in barrel #2, which is Meritage Plus. […]

  6. June 28, 2021

    […] Meritage Plus – The second barrel contains everything else, and is roughly 40% Merlot, 20% Vinifera Blend, and 40% Zinfandel. This wine is tracked in a separate log. […]