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Target Acidity?

Target Acidity?

by Tim Elliott on September 20, 2007

The next element we need to consider for our open-source Roussanne, is target TA (total or titratable acidity). Since pH is the measure of the intensity of acidity, I will include both of these together in this post.

Roussanne is a high acid variety so we should have good acidity to work with right off the vine. If needed, we could acidify with tartaric acid which is very common in California winemaking and not something to be avoided, unless necessary, like watering back. The high acidity of the Roussanne can be blended back some with the addition of fatter varieties like Marsanne or Chardonnay which we will explore further as we go along.

So the main decision here is the intensity of the acidity, measured by the pH. The higher we go makes the wine more impressive by itself but sacrifices it’s friendliness with food. My preference is for the most food friendly wine here but I’m open to your comments and suggestions.

Next, we’ll get into yeast; such fun!

  • I vote for food friendly. I also vote for making adjustments in the winery, but only if necessary.

    And eeewwwww, no Chardonnay!

    BTW Pinotblogger has had a nice series recently about making acid and water adjustments in the winery.

  • 1 on leaning towards a food friendly wine. And I’d much prefer to stick with other Rhone varietals for blending, if we decide to go that route.

  • How does the acidity interfere with food friendliness? I am of the opinion that you need higher acidity for food matching – it just affects what kinds of foods you go for. No one likes a flabby wine, on its own or with food, and the acidity will also assist with longevity. I’d vote to keep it relatively intense and not seek to blend it away with too much of another varietal.

    If you were making this wine over here (the OLD world) you’d probably be starting off with a specific sort of food match in mind (subconsciously or not), so maybe it would be good to ask ourselves how we all picture this wine?

    Finally, I’d just like to ask a question which might affect some of the other decisions being made at the moment.

    “When do you expect to be drinking this wine?”

    If the plan it to make something that will be great almost immediately (i.e. I guess about 6 months) many things will need to be done to advance its development.

    I wondered whether, as the production will be so small, whether it would be more fulflling to make somethign we/you can track over the next few years. It would mean sacrificing immediate approachability in exchange for leaving some rough edges on the wine that will give it character in 2-3 years or more. I think Rousanne could handle it. Do you?

  • Tim

    Thanks for the input, guys. I’ll respond to each of your main points:

    el jefe: agreed on all points but i’d like to have the conversation about blending after we know what we have to work with. since getting some marsanne might not be possible and we can only blend in no more than 5% viognier, i’d like to have something else to provide a bit of body, if needed; chard seemed like the next choice unless crushpad scores us some grenache blanc 😉

    james: i think we are on the same page here; high acidity and moderate pH.

    robert: we actually want acidity for food friendliness as it refreshes the palate and cuts through cream and butter. my comment was about pH where a sharp wine (high pH) can tend to overpower the food. for example, a “fat” wine is low in acid and high in pH. we probably want higher acid and moderate pH for this wine. as far as when this wine will be ready, i’d vote for more of the classic style roussanne where it’s good at 2-3 years out then shuts down until 10 years and can hold until 20 or more. this will be the subject of one of my future posts to get more input.

  • Tim–
    I see the wink, but…could we pull some strings– 😉 x2–
    to locate some last minute GB??

    Ok, I join el Jefe in wanting to avoid Chard on pain of walking the plank– could we talk to Kian about scoring at least the pomace– hollejos, pressed skins– of Marsanne to add to our juice?? A white grape variation on the Veneto ‘ripasso’ method or Spanish Levante ‘doble pasta’, as it were?
    I’ll bring this to the Forum…

  • Can Crushpad put you in contact with people who grow Marsanne in southern Monterey County. You might get some there and in the Santa Lucia Highlands.

  • Arthur, wouldn’t most of production be sopken for? One cursory search brought this up:

    -some red grapes still available.
    Crushpad will of course accept client-provided material, not sure if most groups doing that have taken the licensing step & are budding wineries, part of ‘Crushpad commerce’…
    but I doubt they have the time or energy to act as last-minute broker.
    *If* any of us on the ground could help Tim out– Tim, are you for it? 😉

  • PS, Tim, thanks for bringing the pomace thing with Mike. It’s what I thought, especially with Marsanne, might just be too, too tannic.
    Will have to look for a way to try it on my own dime! 😉

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