2022 Rhone Blend

October 2022

This fall’s main wines are a departure from the last few years. Instead of making field blends, we are making two main varietals, Grenache and Tempranillo, and a third field-blended wine (Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Syrah) AKA 2022 Rhone Blend.

Note: “field blend” means that I select the grapes and combine them, then ferment them. This is common is some areas in Europe, e.g., whatever is in the vineyard goes into the wine. It’s more common to ferment and age the different varietals separately, then bench test (AKA tasting)  to determine blends.

The Grenache and Tempranillo will be barrel aged, and the Rhone Blend will be carboy aged. Given that the barrels are long since neutral, all three wines will be aged with medium toast Hungarian oak cubes. A year from now we will selectively blend the Rhone Blend into the other two, based upon bench testing.

Fruit 1 lug (36 lbs) Mourvedre
1 lug (36 lbs) Petite Sirah
1 lug (36 lbs) Syrah
K-meta 3/4 tsp (total)
Maceration Enzyme 1-1/2 tsp ScottZyme ColorPro enzyme  (total)
Nutrient 6 tsp Fermax (total)
Acid 6 tsp tartaric acid (total)
Fermentation Oak 3 cups medium toast shredded American oak (total)
Yeast 4-1/2 tsp Renaissance Avante
Aging Oak 3 oz medium toast Hungarian oak cubes
Glycerin 4 oz glycerin

Crushed grapes by varietal (1 lug each), adding 1/4 tsp K-meta to each batch. At home each batch received 1/2 tsp ScottZyme ColorPro, 1 cup shredded oak, 1 tsp Fermax, and 2 tsp tartaric acid (based on results of pH test strip).

Made 3 yeast starters with 1 cup 95 F water, 1/2 tsp Fermax, and 1 tsp sugar. Each received 1-1/2 tsp Renaissance Avante. The starters were put in wine bottles, left on the kitchen counter for 4 hours, then moved to the cellar next to the fermenters.

I didn’t bother checking  SG at this point.

SG —
Stirred the batches and checked SG. The Petite Sirah is  higher than I like, but when averaged with the Syrah and Mourvedre, it should be fine. The average is 1.103.

Added the respective starters to each batch.

Mourvedre: 1.095
Petite Sirah: 1.110
Syrah: 1.104
Starting today I do punch downs 3 to 4 times per day. During the first few days I don’t bother with SG readings, as it’s a PITA. 10/10/2022
SG —
Added 1 tsp Fermax to each fermenter prior to the morning punch down. I checked SG and all were around 1.065, about 1/3 of the way through fermentation. The exact reading is not important — I just need to know roughly how far along the ferment is. 10/11/2022
SG —
All batches are at or below SG 1.020, so I gave a final punch down and sealed the fermenters. All will be opened on Day 14. 10/13/2022
Mourvedre: 1.008
Petite Sirah: 1.020
Syrah: 1.018
Pressed the wines using rice hulls, combining all three batches. It’s amazing how much rice hulls increase the yield. The raw wine is 9 gallons total.

Combined pH is 3.67

SG 0.996
Racked and  homogenized the containers. Added 1/2 tsp K-meta, then racked into secondary containers. Added 3 oz oak cubes to 23 liter carboy — other secondaries do not have oak. 11/05/2022
SG 0.996
Realized I haven’t added K-meta recently, so added 1/4 tsp to the carboy. Made solution of 6 Tbsp water with 1/4 tsp K-meta, and added 1 Tbsp to each 4 liter jug. 04/07/2023
SG 0.996
Racked the 23 liter carboy into a 19 liter carboy, using the excess as top up for the 2022 Grenache and 2022 Tempranillo. Added 1/4 tsp K-meta to the carboy. 10/26/2023
SG 0.996
Bottled. Used all the wine in blends with the Grenache and Tempranillo. 11/10/2023
SG 0.996

Yield 0 bottles, as the wine was entirely used for blending into the 2022 Grenache and 2022 Tempranillo.
Alcohol 14.5% based on average OG 1.103
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