Bottling the 2015 Cabernet Franc
- Published: Friday, 23 September 2016 21:13
- Written by David DeCiero
I bottled the 2015’s today. Since I only had Cabernet Franc this year, blending was not going to be such a big deal. The two batches consisted of one fermented with BM4x4 and the other with BDX. It was the first time I had used BDX on the Cabernet Franc, since I previously had used BM45 (very similar to BM4x4, but has a longer ferment) exclusively. I did a bench test to determine the final blend. One other person joined me to test the following:
1) Both yeasts by themselves,
2) A 75/25 blend of each,
3) A 50/50 blend
The unanimous winner was the 50/50 blend, but it was clear that the BM4x4 fermented batch had a superior mouthfeel and taste. It had more cherry overtones and more substance in its body.
I got all of my bottles ready the night before by rinsing them with OneStep and placing them on the bottle tree. Since I currently only have room for 126 bottles, I improvised somewhat by rinsing out the 126 and then taking those off the rack and doing the remaining 50. Included within this was 4 magnums, as I always like to bottle a few large formats to see how they age. I then tested the free SO2 and bumped it up to 40 ppm to account for a slight drop during bottling. (I lose about 10 ppm free SO2 during bottling from previous measurements). The pH tends to be low on these grapes, so that 40 ppm will be fine. I then set up my Enolmatic, my corker and just got to work. It’s a fairly repetitious process, but I was able to complete all of the bottles within 3 hours. However, we all know that the hard part is at the end, cleaning out all of those empty carboys. This tends to be my biggest pain as each one has to be rinsed and rerinsed and then sanitized before being put away. This seems to take longer than the actual bottling. However, at the end of a long day, I was able to complete all 175 bottles of the 2015 and put them in cases. In a few days, I’ll go ahead and put the labels on them and arrange them in the racks for aging. I’m still only just now finishing drinking the 2012’s, so I will probably start drinking these in earnest in 2019. I was also able to bottle a Sauvignon Blanc kit that I had made earlier in the year. So, that added 25 bottles to the count. All told, I was able to bottle and cork 200 bottles in about 3 hours. Not bad.