Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Malbec berry #3 : The pips

Last part of the Berry : the pips, which are mainly composed of water, cellulose, bad tannins responsible for the astringency when not fully mature or too extracted, but very good for health and of course oil.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Maceration and extraction of Malbec

pumping over at chateau paillasDuring winemaking, while sugars are transformed into alcohol, the anthocyanins and tannins of the solid part of the berry (the skin and pips) move in the liquid part (the future wine).

But under the effect of carbon dioxide released, skins congregate in the so-called "marc cap" like a floating iceberg in the juice leaving part emerged above the liquid.

It is therefore necessary to continue to maintain contact of this cap with the juice to extract compounds. Several methods are available but at Château Paillas winery, we proceed with pumping over, which is to pump wine under the hat to sprinkle it above. The entire volume of the tank cross through the cap every day.

Maximum colour is reached in the first days of fermentation but tannins are extracted slowly so with tastings, we daily estimated extraction until what we consider the best, that will announce the running off.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Malbec berry #2 : The Pulp

malbec pulpIf the skin contributes with the structure and color of wine, the pulp will form its body.

It has in fact substantially the same composition as wine : it is more or less liquid to maturity, with about 80% water, 18% of sugars that become alcohol in the wine (about 200g per kg of grapes) and 2 % acids and minerals such as tartaric acid that is not found nearly as grapes and malic acid that comes into play in the second fermentation of wine from Cahors: the malolactic fermentation and so we talk later.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fermentation of Malbec

winemaking at chateau paillasAt the winery, the grapes are separated from their stem, lightly crushed to rip the skin and put in a tank.

Then starts the fermentation.

This is the most important process of winemaking, the one that will require the most attention to the winemaker ...

indeed, it is not limited to the transformation of sugar into alcohol, yeasts will also synthesize a lot of compouds as aromas, carbon dioxide and many other.

The success of fermentation depends on winemaker capacity to maintain the population of yeasts alive until it is completed because yeasts will produce alcohol and heat, two things which in high doses will be fatal for them.

So we must stabilize the tank at a temperature of about 28 °C (82°F) and the years with high alcohol potential (where the level of alcohol reached 13-14 %vol), introduce yeasts that will relay the indigenous yeasts to end fermentation, because they do not resist.

Le suivi de la fermentation se fait au chai en relevant régulièrement la densité du moût de raisin tout au long de sa transformation en vin à l'aide d'un mustimètre (voir photo).
Monitoring of fermentation is done with regular sampling of must density during its transformation into wine with a mustimètre (see photo). Indeed, grape juice, because of its sugar is much more dense than alcohol thus, the density decrease of about 1.091 to a value of 0.995.

When this value is reached, an analysis in the laboratory will then confirm the end of fermentation.

More information about the ethanol fermentation on wikipedia:

Monday, October 6, 2008

D-day : The harvest begin ...

harvest beginAfter a slow ripening, because of cold temperatures, the harvest began today at the Chateau Paillas, 10 days after the average date of the past 30 years and under a bright sun ..

The first plots harvested are Merlot, always the earliest, then we will go to Malbec and at last Tannat grapes.

Quality seems to be there, fresh mornings of September can allow an aromatic vintage.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monitoring of maturation

samples of berriesVeraison passed from about a month: The harvest will begin soon !

It's time to control precisely ripeness to estimate precisely the date of harvest and eventually forecast any additional operations to be carried out during the vinification.

To do this we conduct sampling of berries on every parcels in order to have a "snapshot" of the vineyard. Of course, this sampling must be rigorous and regular to be representative.

The first part of the berries (on the picture, you see each sample in plastic bag) is analyzed in the laboratory.
Three main parameters are measured, and more than the results, their evolution until harvest must be considered :
First is the alcoholic level which correspond to the measure of sugar in the grapes (yeasts convert about 17 grams of sugar per liter of grape juice to get 1 %vol of alcohol). The sugar concentration increased regularly until stabilizing at maturity and to assert AOC Cahors, 11.5 %vol of alcohol at least are required in the wine.
Second is total acidity which is the sum of the acids in grape berries that you find later in wine. It decreases until maturity before stabilization.
Finally the pH, which measures the strength of acids and is essential for aging of wine.

We complete these analysis by tasting berries, which is essential for estimating the aromatic potential and cellular decomposition of the skin and the astringency of the tannins of the pips which when ripe, have a characteristic "nutty" aroma or even "roasted".

So the date of the harvest will be determined taking into account in addition to the present and future health of the vine, particularly considering weather forecast conditions.