Tasting and Racking Wines at Home

I’ve been putting off the racking of my wines at home. However since today was another cold day in Maryland, I thought I might as well taste the wines and rack them. The first was a gallon of Zinfandel from the Russian River Valley. Five weeks ago I placed a two-inch oak infusion spiral, heavy toasted French, into the carboy. The aroma was almost leather and there was an oak flavor that yielded to fruit. The infusion spirals worked well on the Zin. There was just a bit of sediment on the bottom of the carboy. I only need a bit of wine to top off. I am using a generic red wine for topping off.

My next carboy had five gallons, or so I thought, of Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon. I bought a new five-gallon glass carboy and was easily able to rack the contents. However there was almost a gallon left. My original carboy must hold six gallons. The light French oak infusion spiral took up some of the volumn so I racked the remainder of the wine in a half-gallon jug and decanted the rest. There was about 1/8 inch of sediment on the bottom of the carboy. Since I had extra wine, I didn’t need to top off. This Lake County Cab had an opague dark purple color and ruby rim. There was a hint of black fruit on the aroma along with a bit of oak. I used a heavy French oak infusion spiral for two weeks and then used a light French oak infusion spiral for five weeks. The taste was very fruit forward with the influence of the oak noticable. The tannins were medium to bold. The wine had a crisp finish. I did not notice any heat on the finish. My long-range plan for this wine is to blend it with Tannat. For a young wine it is pretty good and much better than the Cab I made a year ago from a wine kit.

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