2020 Vinifera Blend

October 2020

I’m making a Merlot-heavy Bordeaux style blend this year. The blend includes small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, which are all fermented together. I’m calling this the 2020 Vinifera Blend, as it contains all of this fall Bordeaux grapes except the Merlot.

This log tracks the fermentation and pressing of this blend. Post-fermentation I have 3 records to track:

Unoaked Vinifera Blend — I’m reserving 4 liters of this blend, which will remain unoaked, and bottled separately. This wine is for comparison purposes in future years, and will continue to be tracked in this log.

Meritage — One barrel contains only free run wine, a blend of 2/3 Merlot and 1/3 Vinifera Blend. This wine is tracked in a separate log.

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.

Note: I’m using the name “Meritage”, which is copyright by the Meritage Alliance. This group was founded to create and protect a name for Bordeaux-style wines that does not violate French law regarding the use of the name “Bordeaux”. Commercial wineries pay a fee to the Alliance to use the name. I’m not commercial, my wines are not for sale, and will never be tasted by anyone other that family and friends, so I don’t feel bad about using the name. If I went commercial, I’d join the Alliance.

I bottled the the 1 gallon samples of the Merlot, Zinfandel, Vinifera Blend, unoaked Meritage, and unoaked Meritage Plus with a simple label:

Grape 36# Cabernet Sauvignon
36# Cabernet Franc
36# Malbec
36# Petit Verdot
Enzyme 2-1/2 tsp Scottzyme Color Pro
Fermentation Oak 1 lb shredded French oak, medium toast
Yeast 2 packages Red Star Premier Rouge
Nutrient 12 tsp Fermax + 6 tsp Fermax
Sulfite potassium metabisulfite added at various points (see below)

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.

Note: The SG is the combined SG of all 4 grape varieties.

SG 1.100
Temperature rose to 67 F in the afternoon. Added 12 tsp Fermax and yeast. 10/11/2020
SG 1.100
Added 6 tsp Fermax. 10/14/2020
SG 1.060
Drained the free run wine. I reserved 2 gallons, which will continue to be tracked in this log. The remainder is part of the Meritage blend.

Medium pressed the pomace. This is moved into the Meritage Plus blend.

SG 0.997
Racked. I reduced this batch to a 4 liter jug and a 1.5 liter wine bottle. The remainder is moved to the Meritage blend. 11/20/2020
SG 0.996
Racked. I reduced this batch to a single 4 liter jug. The remainder is moved to the Meritage blend, as I only want 5 bottles of the unoaked Vinifera blend. 02/25/2021
SG 0.996
Racked, added K-meta, bottled. 09/28/2021
SG 0.996

Yield 5 bottles
Alcohol 14.1%
09/28/2021 The Merlot and Zinfandel were tannic at bottling, but oddly enough, this one is not.