Tag Archives: Winemaking

Making Wine is Just Like Raising Kids … You Gotta Put in the Time!

13 Jul

Racking the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Cabernert 2015 by Paul Kaan

“Bon élévage”

The French use this term with reference to both wine and children! It translates to “A good upbringing” or “Being well raised”.

For kids this covers life before adult hood begins. For wine the period of time following the initial alcoholic fermentation right up until the point of bottling.

Every week I taste the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Cabernet, just like every day I read my daughter, Genevieve, stories. I listen to the wine to see if it needs something from me. Sure I’ll look to see if there are problems, has it contracted Wine Flu AKA Brettanomyces or did the Flu Shot I gave it early in life help. Is it reduced, smelling of rotten egg gas? Is it oxidised, needing a sulphur addition?

More importantly I focus on the little things that I can do to help it grow up into a well rounded kid. After the last taste, I thought:

It needs to get out! It needed a little oxygen!

Why? To help the aromas and flavours develop, shift them away from primary fruity characters to more intriguing complex characters and allow the tannins to see a little air soften and lengthen.

So, it’s racking time …

Doing QC before racking the #FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Cabernet!

You can see a layer of pink lease at the bottom of the glass container at front.

Racking will take the clear wine from the top and we’ll get rid of tge sediment. It will introduce oxygen to help the wine develop & blend the new oak, old oak & glass stored components together.

If you’re interested in being a part of the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project let me know. We’ll be locking in fruit for next year shortly.

Here’s the lees from racking a glass storage vessel.

It’s mostly dead yeast & bacteria coloured by the wine. Depending on what wine you’re making you can choose to keep the lees with the wine to get flavour and texture fromthe autolysis, break down of the cells. Lees is “reductive” it chews up oxygen too and can help keep the wine fresh. One the best examples of the potential impact of lees is in the production of Champagne. After the second fermentation in bottle the wine is left in contact with the yeast lees. Over time as they break down the impart patisserie characteristics & a creamy mouthfeel. Same principles apply to white wines in barrel.

The #FilthyGoodVino Bathtub Cabernet is looking good and I perceive that it won’t benefit from further lees contact. Admittedly the wine has already been racked so most of the lees have already been removed.

Interestingly Gaia Gaja mentioned that they keep their lees and use them to top their barrels.

Syphoning off lees from our Demijon – Clear hose makes it easy to see if you’re sucking up the lees!

Racking the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Cabernert 2015 by Paul Kaan

Filthy Good Vino Wine Project Day 2: Managing Fermentation

12 Mar

FGV Bathtub Winemaking Project Day 2 Fermentation Management by Paul Kaan

The yeast are starting to get buggy moving! Flavours are looking good!

Filthy Good Vino Project Cabernet Ferment Day 2 Part 2 Adding Acid

Home in time for a midnight plunge! Love the Filthy Good Vino Bathtub Winemaking Project! Attention to detail! Even after 5 decades of Gaja, funky Nebbiolo from Barbaresco Subscribe to filthygoodvino.com to follow our vintage diary & exploits! Next post will review the evolution of Gaja’s Barbaresco over 5 decades!

Home in time for a midnight plunge! Love the #FilthyGoodVino bathtub project! Attention to detail! by Paul Kaan

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.

It was the Best of Wines, It was the Worst of Wines! A Moldovan Vintage Retrospective!

9 May

Château Pichon Longueville

A MOLDOVAN VINTAGE RETROSPECTIVE – It was the Best of Wines, It was the Worst of Wines!

Vintage 1996 in Moldova was “The Best of Wines and  the Worst of Wines”.   It start with a bang, the filthy good vino flowed from day one and continued with a quick blast through the great vineyards of Bordeaux, Mouton, the Pichon’s, Ducru-Beuacaillou, Beychevelle, Pavie, Figeac and more. Reflection on this vintage are more about a rich life experience than a winemaking one!

A Line up of Filthy Good Vino to kick off the 1996 Northern Hemisphere JourneyChâteau Pichon Longueville

The Best of wines: A Line up of Filthy Good Vino consumed amongst friends and the great Château Pichon Longueville

Moldova is a tiny country a little smaller than Switzerland sandwiched between Romania and the Ukraine just above the Black Sea.  It gained it’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1989 and was still very much an Eastern European state in 1996. I travelled in with a good friend whom I had studied winemaking with.  We belted ourselves into a row of four seats held to Moldovan Airways only jet aircraft by two bolts. We flew low, mostly because the cabin was not airtight and could not be pressurised, it was freezing!  The aggressive flying suggested that the captain may have been an ex-Russian fighter pilot.  Three hours later we arrived in Moldova.

An hour later the customs officer finally turned up and signed us into the “Big Book of Names” and took US$100 from each of us in return for a three month VISA.  On the way out we were greeted by a local who it turns out was our chauffeur,  not that we could tell from his broken English.

During our first few days we found out what we were in for.  I was to stay in the capital city Kishinev in a flat we were renting.  Funny,  we had no heating, no hot water,  toilets that barely flushed (often holes in the ground),  power eight hours in the day but we did have a phone and most important of all cable television with thirty channels BBC, NBC, CNN, ABC, MTV.  Bugger the basics as long as you can get plenty of TV.  There’s irony for you!

My mission was to go in make a million litres of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay in a little over two months. With three more Aussie flying winemakers we made wine from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc,  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Our first visit to the wineries at Hinchesti and Bosieni took us through rolling hills covered with miles and miles of untouched forests, fields of sunflowers and grapes.  When we arrived we were greeted by the number two in charge, Nicholi.  After a bottle of wine (at 9 in the morning) he took us for a tour around the wineries.  We soon realised we were in for a big challenge.  The wineries all had these bizarre wine tanks that were made of steel and enamelled on the inside but externally were rusted and look like old nuclear submarines.  There were dirt floors and pumps that were relics from before the turn of the century and were larger than your average cow.

A row of Wooden outdoor Red Fermenters, Moldova 1996Close Up of the Cap of a wooden outdoor fermenter, Moldova 1996

Outdoor Wooden Red Fermenters, Moldova 1996

The Biggest Pump in the World with Paul D Moldova 1996

The Biggest Pump in the World with Paul D Moldova 1996

There was also a few hundred thousand dollars of new sparkling stainless steel state of the art machinery supplied by an Italian firm who had won a contract supported by an EU developing nations fund (probably by bribing every one who mattered with thousands of dollars).  Old versus New!  This was a vast contrast we saw often.  Even driving down the street in our chauffeur driven LADAs ($10 a day plus petrol) we saw brand new 7 series BMW’s (stolen from Italy and Germany under insurance fraud) flying by scores of shoeless peasants being carried by carts drawn slowly by lean horses.

The Lada & The Walnut Tree

The Lada & The Walnut Tree (Double exposed film with Saint-Émilion in the background)

Bribery was something that was rife in Moldova everyone was taking their cut. Every morning when I arrived at work I would be met by a line of Moldovans all wanting something.  They all spoke Romanian or Russian and hence we always had a translator by our sides to tell us what they wanted from us and what they could not do for us.  Putting this in context, the country has been through more upheaval and civil unrest in a few short years than your average Aussie will see in a lifetime.  Bribery is a legitimate means of getting ahead. On the flip side there was also a generosity and kindness of spirit, at US$1 for a litre of Rasputan’s finest, the Vodka flowed like a river. Meat, a scarce resource was, was regularly on the table.

A Typical Moldovan Supermarket. The shelves are bare! Moldova 1996

A Typical Moldovan Supermarket. The shelves are bare! Moldova 1996 (Double exposed film with a little bit of a cheese market in Holland in the background)

A Fortune Teller, Paid with Cigarettes, Moldova 1996

A Fortune Teller, Paid with Cigarettes, Moldova 1996 – Apparently we were all set to marry beautiful Moldovan Women (Double exposed film with Saint-Émilion in the background)

As far as the winemaking went, we soon realised we were not making wine, we were in damage control!  Things that took ten minutes to do in Australia took three hours for Moldovans paid only $30 a month.

Somehow we managed to make wine, not great wines like those of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Australia but not bad considering we had to make them with water that ran black, felt slimy and reeked of rotten egg gas.  The fruit that came in early was clean and pretty good quality over all, as the vintage progressed the rot set in and things went down hill rapidly.  It was one hell of an experience ranging,  through gastro,  food poisoning (probably from eating some funky mushrooms or an unknown meat at the wineries, the supply of which could best be explained by the decreasing population of stray dogs) and a broken limb or two.

A Pack of Stray Dog .. Dinner? Moldova 1996

A Pack of Stray Dog .. Dinner? Moldova 1996

Though it may be primitive by Western standards, traditions ran deep, the people of Moldova were always friendly and the country was going somewhere it was evolving at a rapid pace.  It was dragging itself up after the upheaval of changing from Communist Russian rule to being a free State and the turmoil of more recent civil wars.  Where it will end up who knows but at least it is going some where.  Moldova – An irreplaceable a life experience! Not so much of a winemaking experience.

A few of the winery crew, Moldova 1996. The big guy at the back in the middle fought in Afghanistan with the Soviets, could lift a 44 gallon drum and spent most of the day crunchy walnuts with his bare hands to munch on

A few of the winery crew, Moldova 1996. The big guy at the back in the middle fought in Afghanistan with the Soviets, could lift a 44 gallon drum and spent most of the day crunchy walnuts with his bare hands to munch on (Double exposed with Château Mouton-Rothschild’s First Year Barrel Cellar with empty barrels laid out ready to receive the next vintage)