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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wine Dogs Make Wine: Lesson 3 (Doing Acid)

Three Fox Vineyards
Delaplane, VA

No, you're not on an acid trip of your own. Munchkin does indeed have bunny ears - just her way of celebrating.

Happy Easter from the Wine Dogs!

Who knew winemaking was going to be an acid trip for the Wine Dogs? This week, Munchkin, Pomeroy and their classmates learned all about acids and how they affect the taste of wine.

Munchkin, who is a little bit of a brown-noser, stayed up late reviewing her notes and arrived at class looking a bit harried (hairy?).

First step was to use the hydrometer to check our wines. Specific gravity's down to 1.07 and visual observation says the yeasties are very active and the wine is effervescing. Now for a lick. Yep, there's less sugar now. In fact, it tastes like a grape fizzy.

Next, John showed us how to calculate the brix or percent of sugar based on the hydrometer reading. Our wine was aout 14 (that's down 3 percent).

Finally, John told us that our wines currently had malic acid, which is a kind of citrusy flavor that's good for whites, but a real dog for red wines. That's why we do the malolactic fermentation.

To illustrate, he mixed up some chemicals in our wine glasses that mimic the taste of malic acid. We sniffed and tasted. Hmm. Kind of like green apples. Then, he added chemicals to make it taste like citric acid. Have you ever seen a dog pucker his lips? Pomeroy took off at this point. Finally, John turned the liquid into lactic acid and presto... it was drinkable. Bottoms up!

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