A little wine-down-time, and I go to re-rack…
Fine. Dandy. Now what?
I try the wine left in the tank. It’s hopelessly mild. My wife tastes it. There’s alcohol, something citrus, pear, maybe mineral hiding around there. But she likens it to water.
This, regrettably, makes sense.
The grape Vidal Blanc traces half its lineage to Ugni Blanc: captain bland of the wine world. There’s no flavor, which makes for a great, if neutral, base for spirits (Cognac); or can be concentrated into something with flavor, if left to dehydrate and freeze on the vine as a late harvest or ice wine.
When we picked up the grapes in October, they tasted mild but fine. I shouldn’t be surprised.
Now, I could have picked a different yeast. One that would have emphasized fruit notes like the Vignoles that I made last year. But that was monstrously intense and tropical: like godzilla carved out of pineapple.
Instead, I went with Lalvin’s 71B-1122, (a.k.a. Narbonne). It was new to me. It was from France (via Canada). It claimed to handle aromatics and high acids…but clearly would not amp up flavor.
As George Lucas says (in my mind), “don’t worry, we can fix it in post”. Since I can’t direct either, I’ll remake this wine in different ways, like releases that get further and further from their source.
First, some bottles will get re-dosed with yeast and juice for a bubbly (intentional, unlike last time). Some will just be bottled as they are (it might improve?). Some will be rejuiced, using what the Germans call my süßreserve (sweet-juice-reserve) to sweeten the wine, a method they generally term verbesserung (“bettering”). Heck, I might even try to distill a bit of it into spirit.