The rewards and frustrations of home winemaking

Tag archive: merlot

“Barrel” Tasting

My in-laws are visiting from Germany, and that seemed like a good reason to check the progress of all of the vintage 2009 wines in the shower.  I pulled 100 mL samples from various carboys for a taste. We started with the Fallbrook syrah. This wine already has great aromas with big fruit and good […]

Cleaning Airlocks

We are planning to bottle the syrah soon, and I will also probably bottle the primitivo as well. The merlot and petite sirah in the barrels have not picked up enough oak for our tastes, so we’re going to leave them for another year. I realized I haven’t cleaned out the airlocks on my carboys […]

Best of Class Award and Silver Medal at SD County Fair!

I entered two wines into the San Diego County Fair Homemade wine competition: ‘Bahia Belle’ Bordeaux Blend, a 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot made from fresh grapes, and ‘Sail Bay Sundown’ RJ Spagnols Argentinian Trio Limited Release white blend.  One of my fellow winemakers also entered the same cabernet sauvignon and merlot as […]

Syrah Malo and Oak into the Barrels

It’s been about 4 weeks since I added fresh malolactic bacteria to the syrah to try to get MLF going again.  I’ve been stirring it once or twice a week and keeping a heat pad on it overnight and in the cool parts of the daytime to keep the temperature between 70 – 80?F.  I […]

More White Film on Wine

I checked in on the wines in the shower to make sure the airlocks weren’t contaminated or dried out, and saw another white layer on our 6-gallon carboy of merlot.  This was the first time I saw this white layer in this container, I found it previously on a smaller bottle of this merlot as […]

Wine Chemistry Day

I’ve been meaning to set up a free SO2 aeration/oxidation (A/O) system for a while to test our wines. I’ve mentioned before that the “quick tests” are difficult to read (especially for red wines, since it relies on a color change in the purple range) and are notoriously inaccurate.  From the information I could find, […]

‘Belmont Park’ Merlot 3 Month Tasting

Since we were talking about our barrel wines while pruning yesterday, I wanted to check the progress of the 2008 merlot.  It wasn’t as clear as I wanted when I bottled it, and so I wanted to check if it was OK, or if I needed to open them all and let the solids settle […]

More Infection Problems

I discovered that one of the 4-liter bottles of merlot has a funky white layer similar to the one I found on the rescued petite sirah. I hope I can remedy this one better, since the infection came back in the petite sirah after racking.  Before racking I dipped cotton swabs in a Kmeta solution […]

Wine Update, Syrah Taste, and Giving Up on PS Sludge

I got an email from Dave today, he and Paul checked out the merlot and petite sirah on Friday. Since this is our second year in the barrel, neither wine is very oaky yet. By this time last year the wine in the barrels had much more oak.  The petite sirah is a little more […]

As the Lees Settle

Another full day of wine racking and shuffling!  Dave sent me an email that the merlot barrel needed to be topped, so first I racked off the smaller bottles of merlot and took 2 cleared bottles to the office winery to top off the barrel.  I thought I had enough to top off and leave […]