For Paul B.

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For Paul B.

Postby Kim Adams » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:53 am

Hey Paul, don't know if you've seen this:

http://info.detnews.com/wine/columns/silfven/details.cfm?id=339
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:24 am

Wow! PaulB hits the press! Thanks for posting!
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Paul B. » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:03 am

Well sure I saw it. But you can't toot your own horn all the time ... :wink:

At best, I just hope it gets more winemakers at least thinking about stepping outside the box with our native grapes and trying new styles.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Dan Smothergill » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:34 pm

A tip of the hat Paul! Whenever I've come across Silfven's column I thought it was pretty good. This time of course it's wonderful.

By the way, I've taken the pledge: No more ameliorating. This is one of the 'ways to make wine' that came down to me unchallenged but that I've lately come to realize ain't necessarily so. Your case against it is persuasive.

On the other hand, another piece of the canon I've also reconsidered probably won't arouse your enthusiasm. The old way said to ferment dry and then just leave it alone. Now I'm not so sure that a little sweetening can't be beneficial. Rather than cane sugar though, I've been playing around with using the juice itself.

A small amount of the original juice can be set aside and prevented from fermenting by sulfiting and refrigerating. It can be racked too to remove leftover debris. When the rest of the juice has fermented out, a little of this can be blended in and prevented from fermentating by adding sorbate.

Sweetening this way has the virtue of preserving varietal character. Might that make it just a venial sin?
Last edited by Dan Smothergill on Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:55 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Paul B. » Mon Apr 24, 2006 12:38 pm

Dan, I'd say it ain't even a venial sin! :D I actually applaud your method - it's much better to re-sweeten the wine with actual unfermented juice, as opposed to cane sugar. I use cane sugar only for chaptalization and I don't mind it because the sugar gets completely converted to alcohol - there's none of it "left" in the wine, so to speak.

I think that up to 1% rs in a pure, well made labrusca wine is just fine, though my personal preference is for bone-dry.

By the way, Dan, how are your wines? Have you bottled everything from '05?
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Ed Draves » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:16 pm

Paul, good for you. You a great advocate for the Labrusca grapes and deserve all the credit in the world.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Paul B. » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:45 pm

Ed Draves wrote:a great advocate for the Labrusca grapes and deserve all the credit in the world


Awww, shucks ... :oops:

I appreciate the sentiment, but it's the grapes that need the attention more than me! I like to think of myself as merely a simple, humble worker in the vineyard - borrowing from Pope Benedict's words ;)
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Dan Smothergill » Mon Apr 24, 2006 2:12 pm

By the way, Dan, how are your wines? Have you bottled everything from '05?

Not yet. Everything has been racked at least twice. Some carboys aren't as clear as I would like, but overall nose and taste is promising. I go from carboys to one gallon jugs, and then to bottles as needed. Jugging usually gets done in early summer.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Paul B. » Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:31 pm

Thanks for getting their opinion, John.

I do believe that trying malo on Concord is a very smart idea. However, if you cold-stabilize, you already lose a lot of tartaric, and if you do malo, the malic acid gets softened down - at which point you may have to keep an eye on pH. I disagree with them vis-a-vis the wine "needing" some sweetness in the end - this enters the realm of desired style. If the acidity is toned down by (1) malolactic fermentation and (2) precipitation of tartrates, then it will be much mellower than without either of these procedures having taken place.

It's like asking two paysans who makes the "best" cheese in their village or region ... they'd be arguing about it all day! :)
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Thomas » Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:50 pm

Kudos Paul.

In my book, amelioration was always a no-no. I don't even like it that the word is used for the process of adding water to wine--the definition of the word is "to make better!"

Anyway, there will be a malo-lactic seminar at the Geneva station on May 12. I'm going to be looking for a winemaker who does it to labrusca. I'm covering the seminar for Wines and Vines Magazine.

John, are you going to the seminar?
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Ameliorate

Postby Dan Smothergill » Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:39 pm

In my book, amelioration was always a no-no. I don't even like it that the word is used for the process of adding water to wine--the definition of the word is "to make better!"


Quite right. It's interesting that the wine-making meaning of amelioriate and the more general meaning are so different. The connotation of goodness probably provides the bridge.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Bob Henrick » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:05 pm

My congratulations too Paul. I bet your buttons are busting...mine would be. I guess those naysayes will sit up \and take notice now. :-)
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Apr 24, 2006 10:06 pm

Way to go there Paul B. Keep em coming!
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Cynthia Wenslow » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:04 pm

I've sent your webpages on dry Concord and dry Niagara to my father, Paul. Perhaps it will encourage him to try it!

At the moment I think my stepmom is the one who really likes the sweet versions he makes. (Which is most likely why he makes them, no fool he!
:wink: ) He is in the Southern Tier in Western NY.

Thanks for being a good example!
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Mike Filigenzi » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:06 pm

Very nice!! Well done, Paul. Sometimes the passion really does get you somewhere.


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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Tom N. » Mon Apr 24, 2006 11:19 pm

Paul B. wrote:At best, I just hope it gets more winemakers at least thinking about stepping outside the box with our native grapes and trying new styles.


Congratulations Paul,

Your passion has been rewarded by some well-deserved recognition. Glad to see the article. I hope to see you again at MoCool this summer and this time I will remember to bring the Wiederkehr's Cynthiana (norton) to the picnic for you to taste.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Paul B. » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:09 am

Tom N. wrote:I hope to see you again at MoCool this summer and this time I will remember to bring the Wiederkehr's Cynthiana (norton) to the picnic for you to taste.

Thanks, Tom! Seeing as I tried my first Norton and Cynthiana at MoCool, that would be continuing a tradition! :)

Of course, I really hope that the three-tier system becomes obsolete because then it would be much easier to have Missouri or Arkansas Norton shipped across the country and to enjoy it whenever visiting family or friends.
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Re: For Paul B.

Postby Paul B. » Tue Apr 25, 2006 12:22 am

Cynthia Wenslow wrote:I've sent your webpages on dry Concord and dry Niagara to my father, Paul. Perhaps it will encourage him to try it!

Sure, Cynthia! But if he likes the sweet style, that's alright too, of course. I have admittedly been somewhat of a warrior for dry labrusca, but not to get people to stop making sweet or off-dry labrusca wine - it's been a battle against the view that labrusca wine must be sweet or else there's something inherently "wrong" with it; this is the view that I am opposed to.

Just a few points to add to this discussion for anyone reading who may wish to make the wine dry. Often it is said that labrusca should be sweet to counter "high acidity" from the grapes. I believe that there are two options that allow one to deal with acidity without compromising the purity and flavour concentration of the wine:

<li>cold stabilization - precipitation of tartrates</li><li>malolactic fermentation - conversion of sharp malic acid to lactic acid (also aids in stability)</li>
I'd love to see winemakers trying this combination while watching pH - instead of using residual sugar as a matter of dogmatic practice.
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