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Bathtub Winemaking Project Day 5 – Working on Tannin!

14 Mar

Grape Seed Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan

Today’s one of the peak days during fermentation. Where about half way through now. The yeast are moving fast, sugar is dropping quickly, heat is being generated and alcohol levels increasing. It’s time to focus on tannin.

My little assistant winemaker helping plunge this morning!

The video below explores  some of the tannin management I’m doing this year taking a look at skins, seeds and stalks.

Reaching down to the bottom of the vat to scoop up seeds and remove them.

Digging seeds up from the bottom of a vat of fermenting wine Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan

It’s dirty work, but, someone has to do it!

Vintage 2015 Fermentation Management Full Body Contact by Paul Kaan

You can see a green seed from some second crop accidentally picked during harvest.

Bright Green Second Crop Grape Seed Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan

A handful of the seeds removed from the fermenting vat of grapes.

Grape Seed Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan

Passing solids from the bottom of the vat gently through my ghetto style seed separator, a bakers cooling rack. If you look carefully you can see a few seeds falling through. The skins stay on the top and are returned to the vat.

Sieving Grape Seeds Using a Cooling Rack 2 Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan

Sieving Grape Seeds Using a Cooling Rack 3 Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan



Filthy Good Vino Wine Project Day 2: Managing Fermentation

12 Mar

FGV Bathtub Winemaking Project Day 2 Fermentation Management by Paul Kaan

The yeast are starting to get buggy moving! Flavours are looking good!

Filthy Good Vino Project Cabernet Ferment Day 2 Part 2 Adding Acid

Home in time for a midnight plunge! Love the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! Attention to detail! Even after 5 decades of Gaja, funky Nebbiolo from Barbaresco Subscribe to to follow our vintage diary & exploits! Next post will review the evolution of Gaja’s Barbaresco over 5 decades!

Home in time for a midnight plunge! Love the #FilthyGoodVino bathtub project! Attention to detail! by Paul Kaan

Vintage 2015 Part 2: Time to Pick our Yarra Valley Cabernet – Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project

10 Mar

Picking our Yarra Valley Cabernet Vintage 2015 by Paul Kaan

Beautiful day to pick our Cabernet for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! We’ll be posting regular updates taking you through the winemaking process step by step for Vintage 2015.

Beautiful day to pick our Cabernet for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! by Paul Kaan

Cabernet is picked – BOOM!

Cabernet is picked - BOOM! by Paul Kaan

Even the Sheep are loving the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project!

Even the Sheep are loving the #FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Winemaking Project by Paul Kaan

Down the guts of the Crusher as the Cabernet makes it’s way through! The blurry paddles beat the berries off the bunches & feed the stalks out the end for me to collect for tea bag production later! All will be revealed!

Down the guts of the Crusher as the Cabernet makes it’s way through by Paul Kaan

Making a stalk teabag! Wrapping a bucket of the spicey colour fixing beauties in muslin to chuck in the ferment! I pull them out toward the end of the ferment before the hard, bitter stuff starts to be extracted! Timing as they say is everything & everyone likes their tea made THEIR way!

Making a stalk teabag by Paul Kaan

My stalky teabag pokes it’s head up through the vat full of must (crushed grapes) I’ll push it down to expel trapped ear and allow it to steep later!

My stalky teabag pokes it’s head up through the vat full of Yarra Valley Cabernet must by Paul Kaan

Pushing my stalk teabag to the bottom of the vat!

Pushing my stalk teabag to the bottom of the vat! by Paul Kaan

Analysis Done! Temp 18C sugar 12.6Baumé! Most importantly flavour = Yummy & the tannin is ripe! That’s what you get with 17 year old vineyard yielding sub 2 Tonnes/acre, looked after by lots of worms!

Analysis Done! Temp 18C sugar 12.6Baumé by Paul Kaan

Reflection on Yesterday’s Cabernet Pick! Transferring must from fruit bins into our bathtub vats using the old school bucket pump! Matt & I last worked with grapes together back in 2000 at Yering Station 12-15 hour / day 7 days a week! Not sure how we did it! After 1 day this year I was knackered!

Reflection on Yesterday’s Cabernet Pick by Paul Kaan

The Bathtub Winemaking Project is Go! Part 1: Samples from the Vineyard

1 Mar

100g Cabernet Sauvignon Bunch & Dissected Grapes by Paul Kaan

Vintage is almost upon us! The first grapes for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project are about to be picked!

It’s an incredibly early season. The last time I picked Cabernet in the Yarra Valley was at Yarra Yering in 2003. We started picking on the 10th of March. Yarra Yering always picked at least a couple of weeks earlier than everyone else.

In 2015 we’ll pick on the 4th of March. Yields are low and flavours look good. Check out this beautiful 100g bunch of Yarra Valley Cabernet for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! Nice small berries, tannin is so close to ready!

A 150g bunch of YV Merlot! Notice how much more open the bunch structure is. Softer, floppies stalks. Bigger berries, riper tannin than the Cabernet, perhaps over ripe! Yielding higher at 3.5+ tonnes/acre. We won’t be taking this fruit it’s lost it’s natural acid and freshness due to exposure to the hot afternoon sun.

Dissected Berry Close-up! Cabernet on top, Merlot at Bottom. Notice the general darker, browner seed colour of the Merlot. Crunching on them the tannin is riper than the slightly greener seeds of the Cabernet. You can see the clear flesh of the grape, all the colour & tannin being held in the skins will be extracted during fermentation.

9 Merlot Berries in varying States of Health!

3 Healthy ones on the left, lovely blue colour, a nice bloom, the frosty looking skin. It was rubbed off a bit by my handling the berries.

The 3 berries in the middle are scorched by afternoon sun from the West. Without a canopy to protect them the sun has bleached them, note the browner more transparent skin.

These berries have less acid and flavours are thinner and a bit cooked, lacking the freshness of the 1st 3 berries.

The 3 berries on the right are the next progression caused by sun exposure and have shrivelled to varying degrees, just like dried sultanas. The sugars in these are difficult to extract during ferment.

The preference would be to sort fruit to remove berries like those in the last two columns.

Measuring sugar levels in the Cabernet. 12.4Baumé should give a final alcohol around 13.6% Nice to know. The most important factors are flavour & tannin ripeness. These babies are ready to pick! Had to go Ghetto and use a bottle instead of a measuring cylinder to float the hydrometer in!

Juice tasting time! Merlot & bunch stalk on left, Cabernet on right! Stalks have an incredible spice about them that. I like to throw a few in the ferment to layer in some yumminess! Juices tasting good. Same sugar levels, better acid and flavours in the Cab. It’s go time! Let’s do this!

Respect for History, for Tradition, for Wisdom marked by Silver Hair. Bartolo Mascarello, Langhe, Barolo.

21 Feb


Serendipity, well Twitter actually, delivered a new friend to my iPad. We share the common passions of Filthy Good Vino and Barolo. A tweet soon followed that included a link that took me to a Documentary on the Langhe.  The Langhe is a region of spectacular beauty in Piedmont, Northern Italy.  It is home to some of the great Artisans of the culinary world. Think unctuous cheeses, white truffles, in addition to being home to the Founder of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini. These are not producers of product by recipe on mass. They are custodians of land, animal and vine pursuing excellence in their chosen field.

The link took me to footage of one such custodian, Maria Teresa of Bartolo Mascarello, who shared her philosophy on the production of Barolo.  Made only from Nebbiolo grapes, Barolo at its best, is without question, one of the worlds most unique and greatest wines. Befitting wine of such calibre it is also one of the most challenging wines to produce. Bartolo Mascarello hold some of the most prized lands of the Langhe. Maria Teresa’s dedication, her sense of obligation, of duty to preserve the essence of these lands is clear.

Archival footage of her late father demonstrated wisdom that can only be earned by the passage of time and was marked by a head covered with silvery grey hair.  His clarity of thought and wry humour in pursuit of an authentic expression of his vines was unclouded by new winemaking technologies that have often confused the wines of others choosing to employ them in Barolo. It is interesting that so many of the great winemakers of the world reflect that it is just as critical to understand what not to do, as what to do, as you guide a grape from the vineyard to the bottle.

Although I have yet to taste the wines of Bartolo Mascarello, five peeps who live and breathe for the wines of Barolo, peeps, who combined have visited the Langhe on an enviable number of occasions, had only unanimous praise for the craft of Maria Teresa and the the exceptional expression of her wines. I can’t wait to try them!

If you enjoyed this snapshot of a Barolo custodian, check out the Langhe Doc for other stories of Langhe Artisans.