Saturday, April 29, 2006

Top-up time

Carboys are sitting in basement, just chillin'...

Oh yes, that's a bit of a problem in fact. The temperature change from room-temperature malolactic fermentation to cooler basement means the liquid has tightened up, filling less volume than before. That sets a reverse slow bubbling through the fermentation locks, filling the excess space in the carboy with air. If you peek carefully at the carboy close up, you can see the wine has settled to several inches below the neck.

The solution: topping-up the carboy with similar wine. I use what I call my "kitchen sink blend", which in this case is the Napa/Sonoma wine combination I have retrieved from on top of the lees from prior rackings. It doesn't have quite the tannic grip of the original varietals, but clearly comes from the same family of wines.

Topping off the carboys displaces the excess air, reducing future oxidation and letting the wine sitting a bit longer on its lees before racking.

Tucked inside the mouth of the carboy in the close-up, you can see one of the homemade Sonoma toasted oak staves that is helping the wine to age.

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