The Bathtub Winemaking Project is Go! Part 1: Samples from the Vineyard

1 Mar

100g Cabernet Sauvignon Bunch & Dissected Grapes by Paul Kaan

Vintage is almost upon us! The first grapes for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project are about to be picked!

It’s an incredibly early season. The last time I picked Cabernet in the Yarra Valley was at Yarra Yering in 2003. We started picking on the 10th of March. Yarra Yering always picked at least a couple of weeks earlier than everyone else.

In 2015 we’ll pick on the 4th of March. Yields are low and flavours look good. Check out this beautiful 100g bunch of Yarra Valley Cabernet for the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! Nice small berries, tannin is so close to ready!

A 150g bunch of YV Merlot! Notice how much more open the bunch structure is. Softer, floppies stalks. Bigger berries, riper tannin than the Cabernet, perhaps over ripe! Yielding higher at 3.5+ tonnes/acre. We won’t be taking this fruit it’s lost it’s natural acid and freshness due to exposure to the hot afternoon sun.

Dissected Berry Close-up! Cabernet on top, Merlot at Bottom. Notice the general darker, browner seed colour of the Merlot. Crunching on them the tannin is riper than the slightly greener seeds of the Cabernet. You can see the clear flesh of the grape, all the colour & tannin being held in the skins will be extracted during fermentation.

9 Merlot Berries in varying States of Health!

3 Healthy ones on the left, lovely blue colour, a nice bloom, the frosty looking skin. It was rubbed off a bit by my handling the berries.

The 3 berries in the middle are scorched by afternoon sun from the West. Without a canopy to protect them the sun has bleached them, note the browner more transparent skin.

These berries have less acid and flavours are thinner and a bit cooked, lacking the freshness of the 1st 3 berries.

The 3 berries on the right are the next progression caused by sun exposure and have shrivelled to varying degrees, just like dried sultanas. The sugars in these are difficult to extract during ferment.

The preference would be to sort fruit to remove berries like those in the last two columns.

Measuring sugar levels in the Cabernet. 12.4Baumé should give a final alcohol around 13.6% Nice to know. The most important factors are flavour & tannin ripeness. These babies are ready to pick! Had to go Ghetto and use a bottle instead of a measuring cylinder to float the hydrometer in!

Juice tasting time! Merlot & bunch stalk on left, Cabernet on right! Stalks have an incredible spice about them that. I like to throw a few in the ferment to layer in some yumminess! Juices tasting good. Same sugar levels, better acid and flavours in the Cab. It’s go time! Let’s do this!

FilthyGoodVino Wine Tip #1: The Wine Saver Smackdown Has Ended at a cost of $0 … Sorry Coravin!

12 Feb

FilthyGoodVino Wine Tip #1: The Wine Saver Smackdown Has Ended at a cost of $0 ... Sorry Coravin!

Filthy Good Vino wine tips are hear to help you get more from every bottle of Filth that you open. #1 is all about saving the leftovers at the end of a big night.

OK, gotta put the caveats on this statement. I’m talking about saving open bottles of wine at home, not, in a bar or restaurant. I’ve never tried a Coravin. I’d be interested to hear from anyone who has.

As a winemaker, one of the ultimate rules is:

Make sure any vessel: tank, barrel, amphora, holding wine is full … no air in it … PERIOD!


Air Space = Oxygen

Oxygen = Oxidation

Oxidation =  Off Wine (Eventually)

No matter how hard you try to fill the air space in a tank with carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, if there’s a lot of air space in a tank oxygen will be in there. If the tanks full of wine there’s no room for air, and, therefore no room for oxygen.

Apply the same principle to your left over wine and you’re on a winner. Your leftovers will be in the best possible condition.

How? Simply collect a few small glass bottle: Airline wine bottles – 187ml, half wine bottles – 375ml, tonic water bottles – 330ml … tell me you don’t have any of those lying around by the time the G&T season hits, maple syrup bottles – 250ml, whatever you can get your hands on.

After you’ve cracked your bottle, carefully decant whatever your not going to drink straight into the appropriate sized bottle, filling it to the brim, seal it up with the lid and your done!

Even the most sensitive wine, like Pinot or old wines will benefit. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but, it’s not far from it!

I cracked this Roagna La Pira 1/2 bottle, chucked 1/2 in the glass & saved 1/2 for later! Took me a few days to get back to it and it was looking great!

The 2014 Year of Filthy Good Vino

8 Feb

The 2014 Year of Filthy Good Vino has been Grand! Thanks to all who have shared a table, plate & glass with me this year! Can’t wait to share more Filthy Good Vino with you next year!

A video posted by Paul Kaan (@paolovino) on

Devouring a decade of Bartolo Mascarello was undoubtedly the single greatest wine experience of the year! Extreme Filthy Good Vino from one of the world’s greatest guardians of the vine! Took a while, but, finally managed to taste these incredible wines. There was no stamp of a winemaker! The common thread was one of poise, elegance, finesse, seamless layering of flavours, incredible complexity, balance, refined texture, often with the kind of searing acidity that only works when the vineyard offers a core of quality fruit substantial enough to support it. A gentle hand was guiding fruit from the vineyard through to the bottle with the kind of intimate relationship & patience that can only be realised through the passage of many years & deep thought spent in the single minded pursuit of excellence! A big thanks to @anthdanna for organising yet another outstanding feast, Anth & Allison for looking after us @scopricarlton & @winematters for sharing her thoughts & insights into this very special part of the world.

A video posted by Paul Kaan (@paolovino) on

2002 Yarra Yering Dry Red Wine No.2! Happiness in a Bottle!

7 Feb

2002 Yarra Yering Dry Red Wine No.2! Happiness in a Bottle!

2002 YarraYering No2 without a doubt some serious Filthy Good Vino!

Loved this vintage. Making wine in 2002 was the definition of true love. Yields were close to 0.5 tonnes/acre. Economic viability was not a factor in 2002. We would have had to charge $300 a bottle to make any money! Intensity was insane, yet, the No2 retained the delicacy you’d expect from a YY. Personality & refinement. Seeing this wine evolve is a demonstration of excellence, showing how wines of real personality that have the fruit to back it tell even more intriguing stories as they age! Wine wisdom!

An often missed detail of the YY labels is the leaves that adourn them. The are Bay Leaves, also known as Laurel, not vine leaves. A tribute to Laurel, the Doc’s other true love. There is a beautiful Laurel at the Cellar Door. It’s a tree with a real connection to the history of the winery and the founders.

If you want to know more about Yarra Yering, I share some of my thoughts from the four vintages I enjoyed with the Doc in The Winemaking Years – Vintage 1996 Yarra Yering Part 1 & Vintage 2001-2003 Yarra Yering.

Definite contender for wine of the year & it’s only February!

2 Feb

1966 Penfolds Bin 389 by Paul Kaan

Definite contender for wine of the year & it’s only Feb! The 3rd vintage of 389 after the ‘60 & ‘64. Great year in OZ!

So much Yumminess! Shows the value of Cellaring wine in a controlled environment for it’s life! Better control than my piss poor video focus! The old man paid $6.95 on release. Great core of fruit. Much more finesse than others I’ve had from the era. Refined texture, seamless. A real purity about this wine. Great acid. Bags of personality.

Always a challenge getting old corks out of a bottle!

Got lucky! Just spotted a massive crack in the bottle of our 1966 Bin 389! Loving the embossed message on the back of the bottle, differnt times.