Monday, December 7, 2009

Love Triangle: Never Say Die

We're in the process of resuscitating a keg of 2007 Love Triangle (Salinas River Valley).

The wine smelled something like nail polish remover, and tasted about the same.

Kevin, the winemaker, was prepared to dump it.

But Ron and I did a little research on "fining agents," and decided to try to bring it back to a bottle-worthy beverage!

First, we pumped the two pony kegs of Love Triangle into a 15.5 gallon stainless steel keg.

You can see Kevin and Ron performing that step here.

Then we took a sample of the untreated wine for doing a comparison later.

Ron measured 1/2 oz. PVPP (poly-vinyl-poly-pyrrolidone) and sprinkled it into the keg.

Using a stainless steel rod, we swirled the wine around then topped it up and resealed the keg.

PVPP is used to reverse the portion of fruit enzymes that cause oxidation.

According to Martin Vialatte Oenologie at, "treatment with PVPP... leads to a considerable reduction of tannins and lowers the phenol value."

The substance helps to decrease bitterness and improve freshness.

We left it to rest overnight in Kevin's garage, now unofficially "the laboratory!"

The next day, we pumped the wine through a stainless steel sieve into a food grade barrel.

The process is called aerating.

The idea is to get as much air on the wine as possible.

We tasted the wine, compared it to the sample, and determined that the PVPP had softened the wine considerably and reduced the nasty odor.

The fruit flavor became much more prominent.

Still, we went ahead with a treatment of Copper Sulfate, using just two drops for all 15.5 gallons.

We pumped the wine back into the stainless steel keg, topped it up and sealed it.

Our friend Brenda was visiting that afternoon, so we brought her to The Lab to witness a potential miracle! Here we are, waiting to sample some of Kevin's other wines.

Now what? We're supposed to test for SO2 levels, just deciding the best way to do that.

Will the wine come back to life? Have we resurrected it?
Either way, it's a great experience.

Stay tuned for updates over the coming months!

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