2023 Cabernet Franc

October 2023

This fall’s plan for the barrel wines is to make 3 batches: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. The CS and CF will be barrel aged, and next fall we’ll make 2 blends. The current thought, that will be adjusted by bench testing in a year, are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Cabernet Franc 30%, Merlot 10%
  • Cabernet Franc 60%, Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, Merlot 10%

This will make two distinctly different wines.

Any leftover Merlot will probably be blended with the Chambourcin (French-American hybrid) that I purchased from Glade Spring Vineyards in Virginia.


Ingredients

Fruit 8 lugs Lodi Central Valley Cabernet Franc
Maceration Enzyme 8 ml ScottZyme Color Pro
Nutrient 10 tsp Fermax
6 tsp YAN
Acid
Fermentation Oak 4 cups American oak chips
Sulfite as needed
Yeast/Starter 3 tsp Renaissance Avante, 1/2 tsp Fermax, 3 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp Renaissance Bravo, 1/2 tsp Fermax, 3 Tbsp sugar
Aging Oak
Glycerin
. .
. .
. .
. .
. .

Method

Crushed 8 lugs (288 lbs) of grapes, which will be fermented in two batches of 4 lugs each.

Batch #1 will be fermented with Bravo and Batch #2 with Avante. Made starter for each yeast with 1 cup water (~95 F), 3 tsp yeast, 1/2 tsp Fermax, 3 Tbsp sugar.

10/28/2023
SG —
Checked the SG and pH on both batches prior to inoculation. The SG on both is good, although the pH is high on both (#1: 3.77, #2: 3.75). Since both are below 3.80, I will not adjust them at this time.

Added 5 tsp Fermax to each fermenter, then the starters.

10/29/2023
#1 SG 1.096
#2 SG 1.094
Fermentation took off, as expected. I realized I did not add Color Pro or oak, so I added 4 ml Color Pro and 2 cups oak chips to each fermenter. 10/30/2023
SG —
Added 3 tsp YAN to each fermenter at the morning punch down. I have not checked SG as it probably has not dropped enough to matter. 10/31/2023
SG —
Yesterday I checked SG — 0.995 and 0.996. Both are in good shape, better than the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

We pressed 9 gallons from each 4 lug batch. The overall SG was 1.004, which is fine. Not optimal, but fine.

11/05/2023
SG 0.995
Racked the wine. Checked SG and pH on each carboy before racking:

#1 Bravo – SG 0.996, pH 3.37
#2 Bravo – SG 0.995, pH 3.41
#1 Avante – SG 0.993, pH 3.40
#2 Avante – SG 0.993, pH 3.36

The average SG is 0.99425, so I logged it as 0.994. We’ll see if the SG drops, which indicates the Bravo wasn’t quite done.

Filled the new barrel, which appears to have a capacity above the nominal 56 liters I was told it is. I have only 1.5 gallons of topup.

11/12/2023
SG 0.994
Added 3/4 tsp K-meta. Topped with 1.2 liters of wine. 02/03/2024
SG 0.994
Topped with 750 ml wine. 03/05/2024
SG 0.994
Added 3/4 tsp K-meta, stirred for the final time. Topped with 2.25 liters of wine. I lost track of time and went too long between topups.

Note: This is in the newest barrel, which was 2 years old at the start, but had been used for roughly 13 months. I was concerned about over-oaking, but there is no evidence of such.

06/04/2024
SG 0.994
. xx/xx/2024
SG —
. xx/xx/2024
SG —

Notes

Yield ?? bottles
Alcohol estimated 13.7% ABV
. .
. .
. .
. .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *