2023 Cabernet Sauvignon

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 Sauvignon
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 Bravo, 1/2 tsp Fermax, 3 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp Renaissance Bravo, 1/2 tsp Fermax, 3 Tbsp sugar
Aging Oak
Glycerin
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Method

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

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

[I made 6 starters, 3 Avante and 3 Bravo, with one of the Bravo being a smaller amount of yeast as it’s for a 1 lug batch.]

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: 3.75, #2: 3.72). Since both are below 3.80, I will not adjust them at this time.

Added 5 tsp Fermax to each fermenter, then the starters. This is where I screwed up — I added a Bravo starter both batches because I was rushing and not paying attention as I should have. The larger Merlot batch got the Avante starter planned for CS #1. I was momentarily irritated with myself, but realize that in the grand scheme of this winemaking season, if this is my worst mistake I’m doing fine.

10/29/2023
#1 SG 1.102
#2 SG 1.103
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 — 1.011 and 1.020. YIKES. While neither batch appears ready for pressing, everything is lined up.

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 1.004
Racked the wine. The overall pH is 3.45, which dropped a low from 3.75 and 3.72.

Filled a barrel, and have a bit over 3 gallons leftover. Being out of 12 liter carboys, blending with the roughly 1.7 gallons of Merlot, producing a 19 liter carboy that is roughly 2/3 Cabernet Sauvignon, 1/3 Merlot.

11/11/2023
SG 0.996
Added 3/4 tsp K-meta. Topped with 1.35 liters of wine. 02/05/2024
SG 0.996
Added 3/4 tsp K-meta and stirred for the final time prior to bottling. Topped with 2.5 liters of Cabernet Franc. I’m out of CS for topup, and it’s going to be blended anyway. 06/04/2024
SG 0.996
. xx/xx/2024
SG —
. xx/xx/2024
SG —
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SG —

Notes

Yield ?? bottles
Alcohol estimated 14.5% ABV
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