Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pressing the Napa River Ranch Cabernet

This morning I pressed off the 2007 Napa River Ranch Cabernet, after 25 days of cuvaison. I pretty much duplicated the protocol I followed to press the 2007 Rancho Sarco Cabernet last month.

The only difference this iteration was that I followed and documented a more rigorous pressing program. As before I started the pressing in automatic heavy press mode. Once this mode tripped off at max pressure I switched to manual press mode and went to full press every thirty seconds for ten cycles. I followed this with five trips to max pressure every 60 seconds for five cycles, and then five more cycles at 2 minute intervals. Last I went to max pressure every four minutes for ten cycles, giving a total manual program time of 62 minutes.

I could have pressed more – I never got to the point in this pressing where the max pressure hit at motor startup – but got bored with it. Also suggesting there was more pressing to be done, the yield was only 10.6 gallons where the Rancho Sarco pressing yielded 10.9 gallons. The difference may have been due to more water added to the Rancho Sarco ferment with the various additions I made.

But the enzyme I used with the Rancho Sarco also may have had an effect, or effects. For certain the must in the prior ferment did not overflow the top of the Pod as it did with the Napa River fruit. And it is possible that using the enzyme allowed more efficient pressing of the Rancho Sarco must, since with a casual manual program I was able to fully compress the cake, where with this more determined pressing the cake remained spongy.
Bottom line – I believe that I want to use enzyme in my future Cabernet ferments in the WinePod (1.3 grams of Lallzyme EXV or 1.9 grams of Lallzyme EX). In fact, I would recommend Lallzyme for all red grapes except Pinot Noir (where, in my experience, enzyme use actually yields a more tannic wine).

After racking the wine out of the Pod into pails and returning it to the Pod to complete malolactic, I moved the temperature setpoints to 70° and 72° F.

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