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Making A Big Red

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Tim F

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I want to make a big Shiraz this year and one of the links I found when researching was this talk from Max Schubert about how he makes Grange. I am following that article as much as possible to see if I can come up with something like Grange of my own ;) Seems like the main points are:
Start with good grapes
Control fermentation temperature to lengthen skin contact
Heading down boards and rack & return used to increase skin contact/extraction
New French oak for 12-18 months

I started today by picking some nice grapes at McLaren Flat - probably the best I've seen in the few years I've been making wine. pH was 3.46 and TA about 7g/l so I didn't need to add any acid at all. 27 Brix which is maybe on the high end but quite a bit lower than my last few wines. The grapes were from 17 year old vines and in great condition.

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I crushed/destemmed about 200kg and ended up with about 175l. Added SO2 and now it is sitting overnight. Check out the new destemmer.

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The first step was rigging up some kind of cooling. I got some good ideas from a thread here recently but grape season came much quicker than I expected so my cooling isn't as good as I wanted. But my brother in law is a marine biologist and said this same setup is used to cool large aquariums - we'll see how well it works. Basically I have a large water barrel with a powered immersion chiller in it and a pump to pump the water through poly pipe coiled around the fermenter. I wrapped some foam insulation around the outside of that. Feel free to laugh ;) Next time I will either have a mini coolroom with air con, or some kind of stainless heat exchanger, or a fermenter that fits in my chest freezer.

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Tomorrow I'm pitching the yeast, using Vinters Harvest R56 which should be interesting - it is supposed to be complex but preserve fruit character. Next step is to make something to hold the cap down for the next 2 weeks - I was going to use a sheet of HDPE from Bunnings but they don't stock it any more so back to the drawing board.

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hughyg

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I'm doing the same. Im about to head up to Clare to 1/2 of Shiraz. Probably the thing I will do different is not add so2 till after MLF. And im not using new oak. I'm trying to control the temp by freezing large 20l cubes and sitting hem in the ferment
I'm creating a blog for it it at hugewino dot Wordpress dot com
 

hughyg

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ps Ive got the same crusher destemmer without the motor. Its manual so Im thinking Im going to get a really good work out!!
 

Tim F

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ps Ive got the same crusher destemmer without the motor. Its manual so Im thinking Im going to get a really good work out!!
I reckon you're right, didn't know you could get them without the motor!
Good idea about the ice. I might chuck a couple of cubes in the frezer now as a backup.
 

kirem

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Although yield is about 1/2 of what has been forcast, the quality is extremly high in McLaren Vale this year.

We got some whole bunch stuff in to transport off to another company last week and in a casual conversation with another winemaker he said those blocks used to be contracted to Southcorp and most years made Grange.

I went to Coriole yesterday for a look around and to taste some ferments, there is something about old school opens that really gets the blood pumping!

I am having a ball this vintage, enjoying most of it rather than just going through the paces.

I wish I had time to make my own this year, I suspect this will be a vintage to remember.
 

Tim F

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Yeah the grapes I picked were lovely - the colour and flavour is amazing and I noticed from chewing up some seeds that tannin chalky feeling on the tongue was much smoother than what I picked last year. Looking forwards to this vintage too, if I don't stuff it up ;)

Just pitched the yeast!
 

Tim F

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The mad scientist temp control plus 1 x 10L cube of ice during the day is keeping temperature at 20-22C nicely and it is fermenting out as planned, down to 1.090 now after 2 days.

I am still surprised by the low pH given the grapes were perfectly ripe! Maybe I'm just used to picking average grapes in previous years...

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Check out the colour:

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Muggus

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The mad scientist temp control plus 1 x 10L cube of ice during the day is keeping temperature at 20-22C nicely and it is fermenting out as planned, down to 1.090 now after 2 days.

I am still surprised by the low pH given the grapes were perfectly ripe! Maybe I'm just used to picking average grapes in previous years...

View attachment 52720

Check out the colour:

View attachment 52721
27 Brix Shiraz at 3.38pH!?
Bloody hell...us poor bastards in the Hunter have it bad...
 

Tim F

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The vineyard we picked at was for sale too... asking $600k for 3 acres of vines plus a house. Very tempting... if only I had a few hundred k lying around I could sell our house and start living the dream, I'm sure the missus won't mind :D
 

Muggus

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The vineyard we picked at was for sale too... asking $600k for 3 acres of vines plus a house. Very tempting... if only I had a few hundred k lying around I could sell our house and start living the dream, I'm sure the missus won't mind :D
Damn! That sounds good!
Haven't got the missus to worry about, but sadly don't have a lazy couple of hundred grand either unfortunately...
 

DJR

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Damn, can someone hook me up with some Adelaide hills/Vale fruit please? Most of NSW has turned to mush.

Looks like awesome numbers
 

Tim F

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I got to do some research today with dinner guests bringing an 87 Grange ;) Very nice wine but one thing I learnt - I don't think that level of oak is necessary, it was easily the dominant flavour. I will probably go with a more conventional oak addition for this wine. I picked up some of the Oak Solutions Group tank staves today in their Rhone and Bordeaux toasts and will go for a blend of these with maybe .75 staves per carboy. The dude also gave me some samples of their tru tan oak tannins which I might use - has anyone else used oak tannin before?
 

Muggus

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The dude also gave me some samples of their tru tan oak tannins which I might use - has anyone else used oak tannin before?
Used oak tannin products in most of the red wines i've been involved in producing.
There's a few different ones available; some best early on during maceration to help build up tannin levels during that time, whilst others used a "finishing" tannins.
Tancor Grand Cru is one i've used a couple of times to boost tannin structure a month or so before bottling. Another one, Quertannin (?) seemed pretty good, gives a nice hint of vanilla/spicy oak as well as tannic bite.
 

Tim F

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Yeah there are 3 in the range I have, one for fermentation, one for finishing and one for aging. The dosages seem to be a pretty wide range, how much would you usually use Muggus?
 

Muggus

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Yeah there are 3 in the range I have, one for fermentation, one for finishing and one for aging. The dosages seem to be a pretty wide range, how much would you usually use Muggus?
The range, off the top of my head, for the Tannin Grand Cru I used in one of the Shiraz (quite a light bodied one mind you) was from 50-150ppm. I went the to 50ppm with the finishing tannin and it did seem a bit overt at first, but gave it a bit of needed tannin and nice hint of oak after maturation in old oak barrel for the best part of 9 months...which was overkill.
I've done trials with them in the past at different rates and it seems, at least for finishing tannins, that the low end of the spectrum works best...but it's hard to judge how that will change over time.
If the fruit has good colour and has is properly ripe, you could probably do without fermentation tannin, and consider an extended maturation for more extraction. If you're going with staves that should probably give you the oak character you need. If your wine hasn't got the tannin structure you were looking for, then you may want to consider the tannin products.
 

Tim F

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Maybe I should just stick with the staves. Already have a lot of body with just a week on the skins. The tannins smell amazing though...
 

Tim F

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I've been having problems with very slow/stuck fermentation on this one. Started out fine dropping approx 8-10 gravity points per day for about 8 days, then it slowed pretty quickly to a few points per day then almost nothing. It is sitting at 1.022/3 degrees Be. The cap temperature has consistently been 20C. Haven't had any H2S smells during ferment or noticed any other taste/smell problems.

2 days ago I rehydrated 100g of 2226, then added a bit of must in stages over an hour to match temperature and acclimatise the yeast a bit and pitched that to see if it would restart but no further change in gravity. Last night I took out a sample and aerated it and held at 30C overnight and did notice a few bubbles this morning.

I'm wondering if I should give it another day then press it to aerate a bit and then try to keep the carboys warm for a while? Or if I should make up a more active starter of 2226 and pitch that? I read up on the AWRI recommendations for acclimatising rescue yeast and found I could have done that a bit better.
 

hughyg

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I've been having problems with very slow/stuck fermentation on this one. Started out fine dropping approx 8-10 gravity points per day for about 8 days, then it slowed pretty quickly to a few points per day then almost nothing. It is sitting at 1.022/3 degrees Be. The cap temperature has consistently been 20C. Haven't had any H2S smells during ferment or noticed any other taste/smell problems.

2 days ago I rehydrated 100g of 2226, then added a bit of must in stages over an hour to match temperature and acclimatise the yeast a bit and pitched that to see if it would restart but no further change in gravity. Last night I took out a sample and aerated it and held at 30C overnight and did notice a few bubbles this morning.

I'm wondering if I should give it another day then press it to aerate a bit and then try to keep the carboys warm for a while? Or if I should make up a more active starter of 2226 and pitch that? I read up on the AWRI recommendations for acclimatising rescue yeast and found I could have done that a bit better.
I'd press it and use ec1118 or uvaferm43. 2226 might work. But these 2 are better at stuck ferments
 

Tim F

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Cheers, I might press it then and if no change in a couple more days try a different yeast.
 

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