The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Rack and Test Home Merlots

wine lab I noticed that quite a bit of sediment fell out of the home merlots, so I decided it was time to rack them off again and test them for pH and acid levels.  I also figured the Free SO2 levels had dropped (I give up on the test strips) and added ¼ tsp Kmeta to each after racking.  Also, I wanted to check out the carboy of barrel merlot to see if the acetone was still present.

Lot A was at pH 3.73, and the malic acid levels looked like the might have dropped to below 200 mg/L, but it’s hard to tell with the strip.  If I really wanted to know I could send in a sample to a real lab, but I’m not too worried about it.  I’m more concerned with the taste:  lot A still has less fruit than lot B, and is still kind of harsh, but is not so acidic as before.  It seems to have mellowed out at least a little;  maybe this lot will be the cellaring lot and just needs time to chill.

Lot B was at pH 3.74 and malic acid had not changed since the last test, it was still at about 300 mg/L.  It is very fruit-forward on the nose with good oak and spice.  Overall it is quite spicy with good fruit, and is very drinkable already.  I racked this one out of a 6.25 gallon glass carboy into the 6.5 gallon carboy, and topped it with some excess barrel merlot.

And finally, the real test:  the carboy of barrel merlot.  Happily, the acetone is gone!  Big relief!  The pH on this lot is 3.53, malic acid reads high, 300-500 mg/L, so no change here either.  It tastes as nice as it did before, with a lot of oak and light fruit aromas.  It tastes smooth, with fruit-forward flavors of toasted oak, blackberry, and spice.  Excellent!

I think I’m ready to have a tasting/blending party with some friends and get these guys into bottles!

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