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Concord/sunbelt And Steuben Grapes


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#1 tim221

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Posted 01 September 2012 - 08:13 PM

Hi All!
I am picking up 50# of Steuben, and 50# of Sunbelt (a variety of Concord) grapes in the next few days--shooting for about 3gal of each.

My big question is: any problem doing MLF with either of these? I have CH-16 and Opti-Malo.

In case y'all have some suggestions, here's my game plan:

Steuben: 0.3g Lallzyme EX, 4oz American Medium oak in primary, 0.6g Scott'Tan Tannin, 5g Opti-Red, GO-Ferm, K1V yeast, Fermaid K. Let ferment run uncontrolled on temp. Press when dry. Then do MLF before adding more K-Meta.

Sunbelt: 0.3g Lallzyme EX, 4oz American Medium oak in primary, 0.6g Scott'Tan Tannin, 5g Opti-Red, GO-Ferm, Montrachet yeast, Fermaid K. Ferment at 80F, when dry press. Then do MLF before adding more K-Meta.

Steuben 2nd Run Rose: want to try making a batch of Rose from the steuben, will add water, acid, sugar etc to get a good balance and then put the post-press grapes into the fermenter and see if I can get a decent second run rose. Won't do MLF on a rose.

Thanks in advance for any tips!
Tim

#2 Howie

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 03:32 AM

I make Steuben every year and never put it through MLF. In most years, Steuben, while being a black grape, does not yield much color, so it comes out as a rosé. Crush, destem, K-meta, pectic enzyme, EC-1118 and ferment on the skins for 4-7 days, press into carboys, complete fermentation, rack, K-meta and cold stabilize. I have sometimes had it bottled and ready to serve for Thanksgiving dinner.
Howie Hart

#3 Green Zeus

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 05:47 AM

The Steuben grapes here in my area are very low on acid. So be sure to check the PH and adjust them to about 3.4 or else the wine will be like dishwater. We won a blue ribbon for our Steuban, one year. Might also be a good idea to add a little tannin to them. Concord, and concord-like grapes also need some tannin to stabilize color.

We never MLF these kind of grapes. Do a nice, warm ferment on them and you'll have excellent color, or do a cool ferment and get the rose color you're looking for.

Montrachet does a nice job on Steuban, bringing out some fruit notes----just be sure to cut your meta by half at the primary so you don't have H2S problems.

You could do a secondary oaking on the Steuban, which would also give it some tannins and make this grape taste more robust.

#4 tim221

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 07:36 AM

Thanks gents -- appreciate the info.

@Howie-- you usually do a Steuben rose (from reading other posts/threads), do you think it would work to try for a darker red wine, and then do a second run rose from the Steuben?

@GZ-- Will definitely check the pH (have SC-300) but a question for you: do you consider the pH or the TA the more important? So if 3.3-3.4 is a good pH range for Steuben/Sunbelt, and a TA of 6 to 8 a good range for TA for a red wine, which set of numbers would you get in range if you could only end up with one? I ask to be prepared to deal with an imbalance.. wasn't prepared for this question on the Traminette, so went with pH (got it down to 3.4, but that left the TA at 6.2 which looks a little low for a white). Of course a follow on is, any harm in pushing more to get pH closer to 3.3 and in turn the TA up higher?

So the general practice is to NOT MLF either Concord/Sunbelt or Steuben, even if making as a red wine?

Thanks!
Tim

#5 Howie

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 08:13 AM

@Howie-- you usually do a Steuben rose (from reading other posts/threads), do you think it would work to try for a darker red wine, and then do a second run rose from the Steuben?

Last year, for some reason, it came out darker than it had in the previous 25 years. It's still lighter than most other reds and I aged it on some American oak. I usually finish it off-dry (about 1.5% RS). The wine always has a strong fruity - spicy character, which, I believe, lends itself to a nice rosé, so MLF I believe would defeat that character. Some wineries here in NY even make white from it.
Also, last year, since my Steuben was darker than usual, I blended some of it - 60% Steuben, 20% Vidal and 20% Cayuga. I finished this bone dry and it is a very aromatic, juicy rosé.
Howie Hart

#6 Lindsey S

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 11:52 AM

I would have to say every Steuben wine I've had has a nice, crisp, almost citrus taste to it. I would think MLF would negate those lovely traits. I hope to make a Steuben sometime in the near future. Howie, your blend sounds quite tasty! Some of my favorite grapes!

#7 Green Zeus

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Posted 02 September 2012 - 05:52 PM

tim----We always consider PH to be more important because it affects the flavor so much. On a fruit or grape we are working with for the first time, we will begin to adjust the PH and also do taste tests at the same time. On something like Steuben, you'll norice how the taste improves as you get the acid a bit higher. Stop adjustment when you are happy with the flavor and the tang of the acid along with it.

Cool weather grapes are not fussy like some high brix grapes where you need the TA and PH in good balance. For our local grapes,and the fruits we work with, we essentially ignore TA. Some grapes do not taste good with an MLF. In 23 years of making wine, we only had an accidental MLF one time---on a blackberry. I don't consider MLF as an option on our local grapes. When we want to enhance flavors on them, we use oak and have also started bench testing with vanilla. Vanilla on concord is fabulous Secondary oaking works very well on concords and would be a fine option on the Sreuben too. We have used American oak, but french oak would be good too because we've gotten some chocolate notes from it that really makes the wine interesting.

As a side note---if you have blackberries and elderberries, these fruits are great when blended with concord or Steuben. We make a nice blend of 2 parts oaked concord, 2 parts elderberry,one part blackberry. Everyone who tastes it thinks its some complex blend of Calif grapes! It's the favorite of our red wine drinkers. The humble concord and Steuben can be great wines when you work with them a little.

#8 tim221

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Posted 03 September 2012 - 12:30 PM

Thanks everyone!

@GZ-- I happen to have a bunch of blackberry in carboys right now, so may try mixing some with some of the grape wine. Nice tip!

Thanks all
Tim

#9 Green Zeus

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 06:19 AM

Niagara mixed with concord is a real winner too. Other good choices are concord/burgundy,concord/elderberry.

#10 tim221

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 03:14 PM

Hey All--
I screwed up when adding tartaric acid to the Steuben (this is why my wife doesn't like me "helping" in the kitchen), and the overdose resulted in the pH going from 3.8 to 3.0. I went ahead and let it go through alcohol fermentation, and it did so without any issues, but pH is still right on 3.0.

The flavor is harsh and sour, makes you screw your face up after you take a sip. Really way off profile from the way the grapes tasted (light and spicy).

I've read over Pambianchi's book, and it says that you should only use cold stabilization (CS) to increase pH if the pH is at 3.6 or above; otherwise it will actually cause the pH to go down further due to the potassium (so it will get MORE acidic vice less acidic if I try CS).
He mentions Acidex but doesn't give a lot of details; however I did a search on the forums here and it seems like it is not recommended post-fermentation.

So it appears my only option at this point is to add some sugar to try and help balance the acid (with potassium sorbate to avoid re-fermentation, and right before bottling), and hope for the best? Or is there something else I can do to bring the pH up into the more desired 3.3-3.4 range?

Blending is an option but not preferred.. but on the other hand, I've got to do SOMEthing.

Thanks in advance for any tips!
Tim




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