Sunday, December 10, 2006

Assmanshausen does Cabernet Sauvignon

Sounds like a strange couple indeed. In this context, Assmanshausen, as you may or may not know, is a yeast (originated from Germany) often used for the fermentation of zinfandel or pinot noir. Following a surprisingly positive test last year, I have elected to ferment my entire 2006 vintage from Napa and Sonoma (including cabernet, merlot, syrah and zinfandel) with Assmanshausen. Here are the buckets just arrived from Brehm and thawed.

I reconstituted the Assmanshausen yeast with Go-Ferm, built up a starter including must from the pails of crushed grapes. And here is the wonderful sight of yeast taking root in one of the pails (this one is the Suscol Ranch Napa Merlot).

For the techies among you, I am starting this fermentation in a warm room. I will move to my 55-degree cellar after fermentation takes off fully in the next day or two. The balance of the fermentation will be conducted cool, as successfully tested for my Lodi zinfandel (and as done by Mollydooker for its stunning The Boxer shiraz). Following an extended cool maceration, I will press the grapes; after two days rack the juice from the gross lees into carboys; and only then begin malolactic fermentation via innoculation. The carboys will be held in a warmer environment for a few weeks for malolactic conversion. Voila. It's a plan!

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