Bottling Beckstoffer

I recently bottled my 2012 Carneros Merlot that I made from Beckstoffer’s Las Amigas vineyard.  I bought these from M &M.  I was impressed by the freshness of the grapes and the size of the berries.  They were extremely small and flavorful.  I followed my normal winemaking procedure, except for one small difference.  They were at 26 Brix so I decided to water it back with 6.0 g/L tartaric acid to get to 25 Brix.  In hindsight, I shouldn’t have done this.  26 Brix is not too far off normal, so I should have left it alone.  Next time I’ll know, but I was trying to just make a decent wine with no flaws, so I thought 25 would be better.  I probably thinned out the wine a little bit, but don’t know for sure.  Anyway, the bottling process was the same for this wine as all the other wines.  I set up the enolmatic and everything.  I had 12 gallons to do, and it took me about 45 minutes by myself.  I didn’t have any real hiccups, as the only thing that slowed me down was changing the carboys.  The cleanup then took another 30 minutes, but wasn’t too bad since the carboys had almost no sediment due to my racking schedule.  I put everything aside for 3 days for the corks to reexpand, and in the meantime printed and put on the labels.  When I was putting them in the new racks I built, I realized I was running out of room, so might have to build some more racks.  Good thing I didn’t dismantle the jig from the last time.

2012 Tasting

Last week, I tasted my 2012 Rhode Island wines.  I also did a comparison with my 2012 Carneros wine, just to see the differences.  One of the problems I had with the 2011 Rhode Island wines was color.  I did not use any enzymes, so I ended up with a rose.  I did not plan to do that, but it just picked up almost no color.  The alcohol was also pretty low due to the starting Brix of the grapes.  I didn’t have any problems besides that, so those were things I wanted to rectify.  In terms of color, I used Lallzyme EX and FT Rouge to help fix the color.  It definitely helped.  I had a rich color in the 2012’s, and it is light years ahead of the 2011.  In terms of the alcohol, we got better ripeness than last year on the grapes, but I still decided to boost the Brix by a small amount.  I figured this would help with the “oomph” of the wine.  It did, as there is more body to the wine.  So, I would consider the two changes I made to be a success.  Additionally, I decided to do a blind tasting of the Carneros Merlot versus the Rhode Island Merlot.  The Carneros wine had deeper color and more fruitiness on the aroma.  Both are still very young, but it is clear that the Carneros wine is a better wine.  I followed the same winemaking process for both grapes, so the difference was inherent in the grapes.