WineMaker's Report 2007

By Mark Holler

12/23/10 Estimating Acidities and Alcohols for Labels. I should really do some final analysis which could be done from bottles but, I am lazy and taste is the ultimate criteria at this ;point anyway. Still its useful to know to establish quantitative targets for future vintages before the full flavor of the wine has developed.

Barrel Blend T.A. Alc. % Vol.
Q1 50/50 Cab/Merlot 5.87 15.1 60
Q2 100% Merlot 5.65 15.6 60
C4 66/16/16 Carmenere/Cab/Merlot, 85% 2007, 15% 2008 late swap. 5.54 14.2 26

11/14/09 We were fortunate to have Marketta Formeau former winemaker at Chateau Potelle, visit on this day pressing the last of the 2009 vintage. She tasted the Carmenere from 2007 and 2008 and identified that the 2007 Carmenere is somewhat overoaked now and should definitely be bottled immediately. She also did a little blending experiment and showed us that a 15% addition of the 2007 to the 2008 would improve the 08 Carmenere significantly and make it ready for bottling which she recommended to capture the fruit that the 08 still has. We went ahead and made this swap of 15 % of the Carmenere between 07 and 08.

10/4/08 Barrel tasting at 08 crush.  

1/2 barrel recoop with 66% Carm/16.6%Merlot/16.6%Cab   Unanimous agreement that this is an excellent wine, best of 07.   Very smooth, unique nose that is pleasant, perfect balance.  Relatively low alcohol I think.  

1 barrel Merlot  Good sound wine, simple one dimensional.   Balance good. 

1 barrel 50% Cab/50% Merlot   Coming along.   Probably has some V.A. which the Cab had significantly in the tanks - White film.  Had a bitter finish when first put into the barrel but, that is fading.  It will be O.K.   

4/12/08 Racking to Barrels and Blending


Q1 50/50 Cab/Merlot 60 gal. From 29.2 gal tank D Merlot + 12.5 gal B Cab + 18.3 gal. E Cab , 2 yr. old Fr. Oak

Q2 100% Merlot 60 gal. 31.4 gal tank A Merlot + 26.4 gal. C Merlot + 2 gal. D Merlot , 2 yrs. old Fr. Oak

C4 66/16/16 Carmenere/Cab/Merlot 5 gal. tank C Merlot, 5 gal. Cab, 20 gal. Carm F New French Oak Recoop half barrel

Barrel Mix/Blending Blind Tasting

See Notebook:

Racking Tank to Tank off of Lies

Wine was left on the lies quite a bit longer than usual this year.  Cindy and I finally racked the wine off of the lies on 2/18/08 but back to the tanks.  Flavors from the yeast hopefully will add some complexity to the wine.  Sur Lies is a common technique for this purpose in white wines.   Less so in the reds.   My assessment is that the wines are rather bitter now especially the Merlot with its high alcohol levels.     I anticipate that we will need to add some more tartaric acid to improve the acid alcohol balance.   M.L. fermentation is probably also complete which reduces acidity and may have contributed to the imbalance.

Mouth feel is also still out of whack due to lots of CO2 still in the wine. 

Post Fermentation Analysis below was performed on 11/28/07 M.H. Racking back to tanks also shown.

Tank-Varietal    Vol.             T.A.      pH        Alc.   New tank 2/18/08  Vol.      Taste

B- Merlot          44.8 gal.     5.5g/l   3.57pH    15.4%        A    31.4 gal.     Good balance, lighter

A- Merlot          44.1 gal.     5.85g/l  3.61pH    15.8%       C    31.4 gal.     Good balance, Odd flavor late palate

C- Merlot          31.6 gal.     6.0 g/l   3.63pH    16.4%       D    29.2 gal.     Cloudy

D- Carmenere    25.6 gal.     4.5 g/l   4.34pH    14.3%      F    22.9 gal.   Flat low acid, added 1g/l acid after measurement.

E- Cab              28.2 gal.      6.05g/l  3.61pH    13.8%      B    24.5 gal.      Slight green pepper in the nose.

F - Cab              28.2 gal.      5.5g/l   3.84pH    13.6%      E 26 gal.


Learned at Wine and Grape Symposium that Temperanillo has similar low acidity to Carmenere and highly variable yield.  I suspect there is a genetic link between these two varietals. 

M.L. innoculations were done by Cindy on 10/29/07.


10/28/07 we pressed the wine.   Tim and Glista were the key participants this day.    

First monitoring of must via wireless sensors. See actual mass and temp data there for these fermentations. Peak fermentation temps were almost 10 degrees F cooler than in other years because of the cool temp in the cave and no attempt to heat the ambient as we usually did in the garage in Palo Alto.  Peak temp was 74F instead of 85F in previous years.  This was done somewhat on purpose to back off on total tannins extracted into the wine.  The idea being to make the wine more approachable at an early age. 

The Harvest Gang crushing the Cab and Carmenere. Alan Broad was our champion sole helper when we crushed the bin and 3/4 of Merlot. 

9/16/07  We harvested the Merlot with a Brix of 27.8 and crushed in front of the main portal of the new cave for the first time. 

Harvested 1 3/4 macro-bins of Merlot;  From volume 126 gal must x8.41lbs/gal x1.118 +100lbs stems = 1283 lbs. = .64tonThe must put into tanks as follows:

            vol. pre dil.                                                                       T.A.                                          vol. post dil.

B-Mer.            42 gal.         27Brix         1116 S.G.        3.53 pH       4.95-5.2g/L    66F       7.8% dilution   45.3 gal.

A-Mer.            42 gal.         27.6 Brix      1119 S.G.        3.57pH                            68F       9.4% dilution   45.9 gal.

C-Mer.            42 gal.         27.6 Brix      1120 S.G.        3.60pH                            67F       5.2% dilution   44.2 gal.

10/6/08  Cab and Carmenere Harvest as follows:

D-Carm.          32.7 gal.      26 Brix         1110 S.G.        4.03pH       4.6g/l             62F      3.5% dilution    33.8 gal.

E-Cab              39.3 gal.      26 Brix         1111 S.G.        3.62pH      6.0g/l              64F      9.8% dilution    43.2 gal.

F-Cab              39.3 gal.      26.5 Brix       1115 S.G.         NA             NA                64F      11.3% dilution   43.7 gal.

The Carmenere yield was very low due to a poor fruit set probably due to lack of molybdenum spray this year on time.

No Dimples

Nice dimples.

Nitrogen Data from Gusmer taken on bunches pre harvest, date?

Block #                           Amonia Nitrogen            NOPA        YAN(Yeast Available Nitrogen

1 at mote 6                        24ppm                        41ppm       69ppm

2 old vine                          75ppm                        53ppm       128ppm

3 row 45                            <15ppm                      22ppm        22ppm

4 row 57                             63ppm                       55ppm       118ppm

Merlot                                 <15ppm                     53ppm        53ppm


Winemaker, Mark Holler

Last Updated 2/20/08  M.H.