Grenache by the numbers

холни масиOur numbers are back from the lab, and they look better than we thought. 26.9 brix is high, but a lot better than the 29 we’ve been getting on the hydrometer. And look at that pH: ideal acidity!

The tricky bit will be the fructose and glucose number, which translates to approx 17.7% alcohol — fine for powering machinery, but not for powering a decent meal. So we’ll water back 1.5 brix, see how it feels, and then maybe notch it back another brix or so near the end of fermentation. I’m told by a winemaking hero of ours that our open-top fermenters will probably also dissipate some of the alcohol, so with luck, we’ll cruise into bottle around 15%. Not exactly what you’d call an “elegant” wine, but with the right massage it’ll be in balance, which is all we really want, anyway.

Les numeros:

brix 26.9 degrees
glucose + fructose 298 g/L
pH 3.47
titratable acidity 5.8 g/L
tartaric acid 4.44 g/L
L-malic acid 2.93 g/L
potassium 1610 mg/L
alpha-amino compounds 135 mg/L
ammonia 72 mg/L
yeast assimilable nitrogen 194 mg/L (as N)

Considering that sugar, a couple of Gs wondered whether all that sorting might have been a bad idea. Elaine and I did some math last night and calculated that assuming we culled 100 lbs of fruit from what we got, the cull would have had to be an average of 14 brix to have swayed the overall sugar by 1 bx. 14 brix is the sugar content at veraison, when the grapes just start turning color, so while we did toss some green ones, the majority were well into color. So, suffice it to say that what we tossed couldn’t have affected the sugar significantly. But because unripe fruit is about more than sugar, it still probably improved the overall flavor.

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