Saturday, February 2, 2008

Not Quite Ready To Press Today

I have made two punchdowns on the 2007 Rancho Sarco Cabernet since my last post on this ferment. I had predicted that I would press this lot today, but I may put it off a day or two, for a couple of reasons.

One, while the aromas and flavors are coming together as I had hoped for the extended maceration, what I am waiting for is an evening-out of the color differences between the seeds and skins. The positive effects of extended maceration are at their peak once an equilibrium is reached between the wine, seeds and skins. In my experience there is a change in the appearance of the must where the seeds look less dark and brown, and more red like the skins, which signals this equilibrium.

Two, malolactic fermentation is not yet complete. It would be unusual for the malo to have finished in five days (I inoculated Monday and it is Saturday) but not unhead-of. However a sample taken to the lab yesterday showed with 0.56 g/L malic. I'm not necessarily going to wait until the malic level goes to "none detected" before I press, but I would like the secondary ferment to be closer to completion before I expose the wine to the low ambient temperature of the winery.

If the color change is complete and malolactic is not I will press, clean up, and return the wine to the Pod to hold it at 70° F until malo is done and I have added sulfur dioxide.

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