Friday, February 24, 2006

Vilafonte Harvest Wednesday Feb 22

Our Malbec says "feed me"
Bernard came into the cellar this morning and boy was it "stinky"! And it was due to our tank of Malbec..which had fermented down from 20 Brix to 15 Brix overnight…this is very fast…and in moving so quickly had used up its nutrients.When this happens the yeast start to stress and put off less-than-ideal aromas…in this case hydrogen sulfide (smells like rotten eggs). So he knew the minute he came in that the yeast needed feeding! We do monitor the natural nitrogen that comes in with the crushed grapes, but we don't know the natural level of vitamins and minerals. When the yeast start to stress (which may or may not happen during a fermentation) we give them a mix of yeast hulls, which have vitamins and minerals, and nitrogen. We want them to be happy so they will finish the fermentation, but not so happy that the sugars (Brix) will drop like a rock. We want time for the skins and fermenting juice, to mingle, so that all the "goodies" in the skins (color, tannins for texture, aromas and flavor) have time to be extracted out into the wine.
We love our Malbec wine; this is our only fermenter; as wine it gives flesh to our Series M blend. After feeding today, it reverted to its normal, ripe black fruit aromas, once again a happy fermenter.
Zelma Long

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