Question for FOODIE or Experienced Winemaker. - Printable Version

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- wineseven - 11-28-2005 02:16 PM

Yeasty smell?
9/29/2005 - 70 Gal. California Syrah. 25 Brix, corrected Ph to 3.45, 50PPM sulfite at harvest. (9/30) Inoculated by re hydrating the yeasts at 100°F, Go Ferm added. 5 days fast fermentation at high temperatures supported by adding Super Super Food. (10/9) 5 days extended under C02 at outside temp approx. 75°F average. 10/11 racked into a 59gal. French oak, neutral barrel, properly sanitized, fine lees left. ML in barrel. The remaining wine was stored into 2x 6.5 gal. glass carboys and 2x 1/2 gal. jugs. Final - 15% alc., Ph 3.8. From the first time we tasted the new wine from the barrel, it had a very strong 'yeasty?' smell 'hanging' above the rest of the bouquet and it is persistent to this day. BUT! I just tasted the wine from one of the small glass containers (1/2 Gal. half full with 2 inch of lees at the bottom - this particular jug was filled with remains of the wine that formed from lees over night under some C02 in the prim. fermentation can). No sign of the 'yeast' odor and the wine smells and tastes so fantastic, it makes my heart beat faster !!! Am I correct to expect the wine in the barrel to loose it's yeasty odor with aging? Can anyone advise?

- Thomas - 11-28-2005 02:36 PM

It is common for young wines to have a yeasty smell; it usually vanishes after a few rackings.

- wineseven - 11-28-2005 02:49 PM

Thank you.

My intention is to keep the wine on it's lees for a few months. I am a bit puzzled as the wine tasted from the small jug has NO YEASTY ODORS WHAT SO EVER and there is a ton of it. Is it rather the large volume of the wine in 6.5 gal. carboys and 59 gal. barrel that requires the time more then the actual separation from lees? A winemaker in Cali suggested a treatment for Marcaptan. Does Marcaptan treatment affect the 'good' bouquet/taste elements?

- Thomas - 11-28-2005 03:56 PM

If the wine smells like breaking wind, it is build up of hydrogen sulfide, the first step toward nasty mercaptan. Aeration (racking) clears that up.

Mercaptan does not smell yeasty either, it smells like onions or cooked cabbage or a blend of the two with some rotten eggs thrown in. If your wine has gotten to that level you have a big problem and you'll need to get some written information on what to do--it is a long process.

Having once had a mercaptan problem, I can say that after cleaning up the wine in the prescribed manner, it never really lived up to its potential.

Hydrogen sulfide and mercaptan are often the result of a lack in proper must nutrition for the yeast do its work.

Oh, keeping the wine on its lees after it has developed hydrogen sulfide is dangerous. If I were you, I'd rack it right away.

[This message has been edited by foodie (edited 11-28-2005).]

- wineseven - 11-29-2005 12:32 PM


Thanks for your time and knowledge.

I don't think I have hydrogen sulfide build up nor mercaptan. The wine had a clean, somewhat pleasing yeast character in the nose from the time we tasted even before the basket press.

The small batch in 1/2 gal jug had the same happening, but now (negative airlock pressure over tonight) it is clean and gorgeous.

I know you understand my concerns. I simply don't want to go through the mercaptan treatment or racking if I am not absolutely certain I have to, in order to 'save' the wine.
My instinct based on limited experience and knowledge tells me to wait and see. What is the latest I can address this potential flaw, if any?

Is there a place I can send or bring a sample for professional evaluation? I am aware of test labs I can send my sample to and I intend to do it. What I need to have them to test for to be absolutely sure the wine is fine?

Any suggestions? Places or experts near me? I am in Los Angeles area. Would you be willing to sample the wine your self?

Thank you again.


- Thomas - 11-29-2005 01:09 PM

I'm on the other coast Roman, the good one [img][/img] so I can't do much to help, and I don't know any lab out there that will help you. Can't you talk with whomever supplies the grapes?

If you smell an odor of rotten egg, rack the wine right away. If not, you are safe for now.

You'll have to rack the wine sooner or later--you can't leve it on the lees forever.

- wineseven - 11-29-2005 01:30 PM

Thanks again – yes, I love NY, however – I think when it comes to making wine – the ‘good’ coast is the one I am on [img][/img]! Anyway. No foul smells at all. In fact, for a combined effort with limited practical experience, I think we have created rather good wine. I have been studying, tasting and writing about wine for some years. Our Syrah reminds me of well structured, typically perfumed Barossa Valley Shiraz. Following the Bordeaux region practices – We intend to leave it on lees over winter and then use the racking at the beginning of warmer weather to move the barrel to a colder room.

Just trying to play safe here - too many people involved and too much at stake.

Thank you gain for your time. I am sure I'll be posting soon with further questions about other wines I am in process of making.

What is your opinion on Emile Peynaud's teachings?


- Thomas - 11-29-2005 01:47 PM

Re, on the lees--it's an ok process so long as the nutrition was in balance during fermentation.

As for Emile Peynaud--a star in my book.

I understand that some are mis-quoting him to justify big fruit bomb, alcoholic wines. Just last night I was talking with the fellow who was the first American MS; he studied under Peynaud. He said that Peynaud drummed into his students that a table wine beyond 13.5% alcohol should be under suspicion.

Oh, as for the West/East Coast thing--will match a Finger Lakes Riesling (that's where I am) with any from California; sparkling wine too [img][/img]

[This message has been edited by foodie (edited 11-29-2005).]

- wineseven - 11-29-2005 02:31 PM

Well, well ... You got your self a friend then! haha

Peynaud's contribution to winemaking is undeniably historical.

- as far as the fruit bombs (we call them here BSCs - Big Stupid Cabs). I am truly an admirer and lover of French wines and the philosophy behind it. I luckily arrived there after tasting the rest of the World. At some point - we all have to return to the cradle, hey?

- nutrition. I've supplied the fermentation with total of 3.0 oz of Super Super Food (mixture of DAP 50%, Yeast Hulls, yeast extract, Minerals and vitamins and Vitamix in two stages. 40tsp added to a hydrated yeast mixture at inoculation.

- white and sparkling. I am making late harvest SB (32Brix) and a straw wine SB (36Brix) this year. I could use some tips on sparkling wines.

Feel free to e-mail me via my web site.


- Thomas - 11-29-2005 03:10 PM

Looks like you did the nutrition right. The wine should be fine.

I have never produced sparkling wine--not intentionally anyway. The first wines I ever made at home i bottled a little too soon; what a mess after the weather warmed up...

The Finger Lakes is a perfect cool climate for both Riesling and for what Pinot Noir and Chardonnay need to make good sparkling wine--snapping acidity.

Some good work is done here with dry Gewurztraminer too; that and dry Riesling were my forte at my winery. I still have people calling me up to tell me how much they miss our Gewurztraminer wines.

Back then, it was difficult to produce decent reds here and so I never tried. It's still difficult, but a lot has been learned since I folded in 1993.

[This message has been edited by foodie (edited 11-29-2005).]

- wineseven - 12-01-2005 01:59 PM

Foodie, I haave another question. I started a new post, but now response. here it goes:
I have 100 lb of Cab Frank and leftover of C16 malo culture enough for 200lb. What if I use it all and double the dose. Is there a problem with it?