Homemade wine saga Part III

Today we finally got to bottle our Cabernet Reserve. What makes it a Reserve you ask? Good question. It taste better than the other 3 gallons of Cabernet we had in glass. Very much better. In fact it surpasses some Napa bottlings I have had in the $12-$15 range. Nice fruit, good mouth feel, great balance. Nothing negative, and that’s what we really were seeking, a wine that did not suck. It kicks McManis’ ass! [berserker.gif]
We were able to get 27 bottles under cork. We then put the other 3 gallons into the barrel and put it away for another month or so. It had a nail polishy/acetone note to it I did not like much. We’ll see.

Next it’s our Petite Sirah. Maybe tomorrow morning when it’s cooler.


Congratulations! The hardest part of making small lots is dealing with the potential for oxidation.

Do you know what level sulfur the cab you didn’t bottle has, total and free?

No. Pure non-intervention style Peter.
I did use argon in the bottling though so hopefully those will not oxidize.

Unless you are eating fermented fruit from the vine, winemaking is an intervention. You should consider the use of SO2, you will make better wine and it will have a shelf life.

This has “sig line” written all over it. Well done, Petey.

There is an innate need to reach back to our roots and towards a more pastoral/agricultural tradition in all of us. Wine is an ancient beverage, an agricultural product as well as containing a psychoactive substance!

There are a thousand ways to do anything. In Italy my family makes wine without sulfur, but each August the previous vintage is distilled into Grappa, in our town at the foot of Monte Grappa in Veneto, Crespano del Grappa. (Talk about tradition.)

My favorite question to throw at my Italian winemaker friends: What is the role of experimentation in traditional winemaking? (I’ve gotten unlimited frequent flier miles with that one. Make sure you have lots of food and wine when you discuss this question!) [cheers.gif]

We completed the Petite Sirah on Sunday morning. pretty much what we did for the CS. There was more floating materials so we did a mesh filter. 25 bottles later, we moved the balance of the petite in the glass to the barrel and we will check it in a month. The petite is a deep purple in color with some vilots on the nose. The palate shows a very subdued wine, especially after bottling the CS on Friday, but is a very ‘varietally’ correct wine. We took advice and shot the Argon into each bottle before corking.

Had some family over for a BBQ Sunday and opened a K Vintners Milbrandt, 2005 Ruston CS, our Cab and Petite. The Cab went over tremendously. Everyone loved it and could not believe it was homemade. My cousin Mike (Who I am training to be quite the taster) told me he expected the usual high alcohol undrinkable stuff he is used to tasting when homemades hit the table, you know the ones that people put peaches into and stains your teeth blackish? He LOVED it. Me? I liked it. It had some rough edges (its only under cork 2 days). There is some cassis, blackcherries, & plums. A nice acid/tannin balance and an ok finish. Its quite a decent cab if I must say so myself. I still can’t believe the color we were able to extract from those grapes.

Next year we do it all in my garage with a little more intervention. If we could make a wine like this without knowing squat, imagine what we could do if we ‘applied’ ourselves?