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Wine

A Guide to Cabernet Sauvignon

What is Cabernet Sauvignon?

Cabernet Sauvignon - wine - winemaking - how to make wine

Known as the king of red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys the same regal status in California as it does in its native home of Bordeaux, France. Californian Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be more fruit-forward and mellow, with rich dark fruit notes. The most common aromatic and flavor components found in this varietal are plum, black cherry, blueberry as well as warm spice, vanilla, black pepper, and tobacco. Aside from being known for its dark color and full body, it’s known for often being over 13.5% in alcohol content. The average alcohol content of a Cab from California floats around 14.5%. At Musto Wine Grape we carry a variety of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from multiple AVAs in California, as well as all of the yeasts, nutrients, and equipment you’ll need.

What kind of yeast should I use when making Cabernet Sauvignon?

*Note that full expression of the desired characteristics for any of the following yeast strains is based on proper care and feeding if the yeasts, along with using quality fruit and good winemaking practices. It is also strongly recommended that Go-Ferm and Fermaid-K are used as well as temperature management throughout the entire fermentation. As always, if you need assistance with any part of your winemaking process, do not hesitate to reach out to us at sales@juicegrape.com or give us a call at (877) 812-1137 to speak with someone who can assist with any product recommendations, procedures, or problems.

BM45 yields a big mouthfeel, notes of cherry liquor, rose petal, jam, plum, berry as well as earthy and spicy elements. It offers color stability and helps to minimize vegetative characteristics.

BDX is an all-around great choice for berry, plum, and jam characteristics. It has a moderate fermenting rate and offers good color retention. By re-enforcing existing tannins, it develops structure in the wine. Because of this, we advise to not use with unripe fruit.

RP15 emphasizes the berry aspects of the fruit, along with color stability, increased mouthfeel, and agreeable tannins.

D254 yields a big mouthfeel and rounds tannins as well as intense fruit. It has a focus on berry and jam characteristics, but more so of dried fruit than fresh. It’s also great for color stability and adds body to blends.

D80 offers big volume and fine grain tannins. It is great for encouraging more positive tannin intensity to a blend.

Where do you source your Cabernet Sauvignon from?

We offer Cabernet Sauvignon from multiple AVA’s within California and Washington:

Lanza-Musto Vineyards in Suisun Valley, CA (Valley, 169, 15, and Koch)

Mettler Family Ranch in Lodi, CA

Napa Valley, CA

Washington State (Clone 33)

Sonoma County, CA (Chalk Hill)

Amador, CA

King’s River, CA

Paso Robles, CA

Central Valley, CA

Is there a certain winemaking procedure specific to Cabernet Sauvignon?

You can follow our Red Wine Grape Procedure which you can find here, if you are using juice you can find the procedure here and if you are using frozen must, here. The procedure is standard for making red wines, but using the proper yeasts and nutrients specific for Cabernet Sauvignon and consistent monitoring will have the biggest impact on your final wine.

Where can I buy grapes, juice, or must?

At Musto Wine Grape Company, all red grape varieties are available in 36lb cases, in frozen must by request, or in 6-gallon fresh juice pails. For Sterile Juice options that can be shipped year-round and without refrigeration click here.

Finally, if you need the best options and equipment suited for you and your winemaking goals, email sales@juicegrape.com or call (877) 812 – 1137 to speak with one of our Musto Crush Crew members who can help. We are here to provide all of the winemaking products you need to make the wine of your dreams, as well as the customer support to ensure your success!

B-Brite: Product Spotlight

What is B-Brite?

B-Brite is an eco-friendly cleaner that uses sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate to remove stains and fermentation residues. It contains no chlorine, which can be dangerous around wine. If chlorine comes in contact with your wine or winemaking equipment, it can result in “cork taint.”

B-Brite Cleanser

It is not a sanitizer or disinfectant, so you’ll still need some SO2 handy to sanitize your equipment afterwards. B-Brite does have moderate anti-microbial properties, however, that can be beneficial in fermentation settings. It is safe to use on all materials and equipment.

How do I use it?

First, dissolve one Tablespoon per 1 gallon of warm water. Second, wash your equipment with the solution. Lastly, rinse with clear, cold water. For descaling of significant mineral buildup, a 20-30 minute soak in B-Brite solution might be required.

Where can I get it?

You can find and purchase it here. We carry it in multiple sizes ranging from 8oz to 5lbs. If you need assistance in cleaning your winemaking equipment, check out our Free Cleaning and Sanitizing video (here), or give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 and a sales associate will be here to help you find what you need.

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A Guide to Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a white wine grape that originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France. We source our Chardonnay wine grapes from 3, high quality, and sustainable appellations in California. This includes Suisun Valley, Lodi, and Central Valley. These regions produce a range of outstanding high quality to premium luxury wine grapes for the best value.

Chardonnay

Suisun Valley, California

Firstly, Suisun Valley Chardonnay tends to yield beautiful notes of honeysuckle, green apple, and lemon tied into a welcoming nose. It is full-bodied and lush on the palate featuring tropical flavors of pineapple, peach, and bright citrus. It also has a clean and pleasant finish. We recommend fermenting in a stainless steel fermenting tank using QA23 wine yeast. This is perfect if you’re aiming for that tropical profile in your Chardonnay.

Lodi, California

Secondly, If you’re looking to make a beautifully balanced wine with lovely notes of pineapple and citrus, that mingles with notes of sweet vanilla custard finishing with just the right amount of silkiness and acid, we recommend the Lodi Chardonnay. We also recommend fermenting with D47 wine yeast in a French oak barrel. When you are fermenting in a barrel, it’s best to use MBR31 to allow your Chardonnay to go through Malo-Lactic Fermentation. This will achieve those silky and buttery finishes.

Central Valley, California

Finally, If you’re drawn to the Lodi Chard characteristics but you’re looking for more complexity, try the Central Valley Chardonnay. It has the potential to yield fresh tropical fruit, pears, and peaches along with custard cream flavors leading to a creamy, soft, and mouth-filling finish. For these results, we recommend fermenting in a stainless steel tank or fermenting tub with VIN13 wine yeast and aging in a French oak barrel. Inside the barrel, it should undergo Malo-Lactic Fermentation with the use of MBR31 and will yield that layered complexity you’re craving.

Ready to make your own Chardonnay? Musto Wine Grape is here to supply you with everything you need to make the wine of your dreams. Email us at sales@juicegrape.com or call (877) 812-1137 to speak with someone who can get you started!

Product Spotlight: Triple Scale Hydrometer

A Triple Scale Hydrometer is a winemaking instrument used to measure the progress of fermentation and determine the alcohol percentage it will yield.

Triple Scale Hydrometer

How does it work?

The Triple Scale Hydrometer measures the density of a liquid in relation to water. In winemaking, you are measuring how much sugar is in the wine. The more sugar that is in the wine, the high the hydrometer will float. As fermentation proceeds and sugar turns in to alcohol, the hydrometer will slowly sink. When fermentation is complete the hydrometer will stop sinking.

How do I read it?

Triple Scale Hydrometers have their name because they indeed have 3 scales. The 3 scales are Specific Gravity, Brix, and Potential Alcohol.

Specific Gravity – is the ratio of the density of a liquid to the density of water. In winemaking, as you add sugar, the specific gravity increases. It indicates the amount of fermentable sugar or potential alcohol in the wine.

Brix – the measurement of the sugar content in grapes, must, and wine. This indicates the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. To get an alcohol conversion, multiple your Brix by .55.

Potential Alcohol – the total measurement of the alcohol that wine may contain, once fermentation is complete. This includes the levels of glucose and fructose. The levels of each will enable the winemaker to determine the conversion rate of sugar into alcohol.

How do I use it?

Place a sample of your wine into a test tube. You can use a wine thief to retrieve the wine from your vessel easily. Place the hydrometer into the test tube filled with wine. It will take a moment for it to stop spinning and moving around. Once it becomes still, record the data from each scale. It is a good idea to do this when you receive your must or juice so that you have your starting numbers. It is always a great idea to track your process for any future possible issues, or if your wine comes out amazing and you’d like to repeat the steps again for your next batch of wine.

Where can I buy one? 

You can buy your Triple Scale Hydrometer here. Musto Wine Grape is here for you and all of your winemaking needs. From equipment to customer support, we’re here to help you make the wine of your dreams. For any questions email sales@juicegrape.com or call (877) 812 – 1137 to speak with someone to get you started!

Peach Prosecco Popsicles

peach prosecco popsicle

Peach Prosecco Popsicles

One of our all-time favorite summer treats is popsicles. You can make popsicles from pretty much anything, and they are perfect to cool down on a hot summer night! Not to mention, throwing in some fresh fruit and wine into a popsicle is one of the most genius inventions. We’ve got an easy peach prosecco popsicle recipe waiting for you, so keep reading!

Peach bellinis are a favorite cocktail! If you like them as well, you’re in luck because these popsicles are basically peach bellinis on a stick.

What you need and what to do:

You’ll need to buy some peach puree or make some yourself, which isn’t difficult at all. To make your own, grab 3 ripe peaches. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and place the peaches inside for about 1 minute. After about a minute, immediately remove the peaches from the boiling water and place into a bowl of ice water. Let the peaches sit in the cold water for about a minute or so, and you’ll be able to peel the skins off with your fingers. You can also use a knife if that’s your thing. Once you have removed the skins, you can begin to slice the peaches and remove the flesh off of the pits. Next, you’ll place the peach slices into a food processer or blender and blend until smooth. An easy alternative would also be to buy a bag of frozen sliced peaches if you want to skip the boiling and peeling. If your peaches are not sweet to your standards, feel free to add some sweetener to give it a boost. Mix your puree with Prosecco and pour it into popsicle molds. You can freeze overnight, or if you prep in the morning they can be ready for the late-afternoon.

Enjoy with family, friends, or a good quarantine movie night.

Want to make your own wine?

Musto Wine Grape Company is here to provide everything you need to make the wine of your dreams, and the support along the way to ensure your success! Give us a call at (877) 812 – 1137 to speak with a member of Musto’s crush crew to get you started!

 

 

Brasato al Barbera (Beef Braised in Barbera) Recipe

Brasato al Barbera (Beef Braised in Barbera)

A Piedmont style braised beef recipe cooked in red wine.

Brasato al Barbera (Beef Braised in Barbera)

Known as “the people’s wine”, Barbera is an everyday drinking wine from the Piedmont region.

Barbera is a palate pleaser because it is easy to drink, well balanced and affordable.

Our 2017 Barbera has flavors of cherries, strawberries and raspberries, and intense aromas of blackberries. This Barbera is very low in mouth-drying tannins and high in acidity, which makes it the perfect wine to pair with rich foods like cheeses, meats and earthy mushrooms.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, patted dry
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 bottles (4 1/2 cups) Barbera
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

 

What to do:

  • Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper.
  • Add the beef to the pot and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes, to brown on all sides.
  • Once browned, remove the beef from the pan, add the pancetta to the fat in the pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the onions, carrots, celery and a pinch of salt; cook until caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the beef to the pan and add the wine, 2 cups of the stock, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
  • Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat, then cover tightly and transfer the pot to oven.
  • As it’s cooking, turn the roast every 30 minutes until fully tender and a meat is starting to fall apart when poked with a fork (3 1/2-4 hours). Remove the meat from the pan and tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Remove the rosemary, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick, and place the pot over high heat. Cook about 10 minutes.
  • Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot sauce into a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch into the hot sauce then add slurry back into the sauce in the pan and cook another 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened a bit.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste and turn the heat off. Place meat onto a platter. If it has not completely fallen apart, thinly slice the beef across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices. Serve the beef ladled with the sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Want to make your own Barbera? Musto Wine Grape Company is New England’s largest supplier for winemaking products and services. From home winemakers to wineries, we’ve got you covered! Give us a call at 877 – 812 – 1137 to speak with someone to get you started.

A White Wine Drinker’s First Shot at Tasting Red Wines

A White Wine Drinker’s First Shot at Tasting Red Wines

Christina has given me a few bottles of wine to stretch my tasting abilities and educate my nose and taste buds. Here’s how it went! My go-to’s have always been a sweet white or rosé, I haven’t really ventured out with reds mostly because the first red I had was gross and I figured all red wines were like that. I was definitely wrong! Note, I am a beginner at tasting red wines so these are very amateur notes.

The first wine Christina gave me to try was a 2018 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ashley: I smell cherry the most, with kind of a plumy smell, and maybe prune; but cherry was the first thing I smelled.

Christina: Great! Next time think about what kind of cherry – Black cherry? Red cherry? Ripe cherry?

Ashley: It has a nice deep purple toned color to it and has no floaters.

Christina: Good, the browner the tinge of the wine the older the wine is.

Ashley: There’s no carbonation or fizz – I’m used to the wines I drink having bubbles or a little fizz to them.

Christina: Good! Fizz really only happens if the wine wasn’t taken care of or if it is a sparkling wine.

Ashley: It makes my mouth pucker at first but doesn’t leave my tongue dry for long, it goes away quickly.

Christina: If you salivate that means the wine is high in acid, if it dries out your mouth that means tannins are present. Sometimes people use the word “pucker” referring to both. Next time try to think about what is causing that feeling? Is it the salivation in your mouth like if you just tasted a bitter lemon, or is it the drying out of your mouth/chalky feeling in your mouth?

Ashley: Alcohol is pretty high!

Christina: Glad you picked up on this! Most Cabernets from Sonoma and Napa California are higher in alcohol.

Ashley: Kind of tastes like a Cigar.

Christina: That usually has to do with barrel aging or growing region; you find this characteristic a lot in red wines from Chile and Argentina. If you find it in a CA wine it’s usually due to barrel aging in a heavy toasted barrel.

Ashley: I pick up black pepper but it’s not strong.

Christina: I’m glad you thought about the type of pepper. That’s great. Try to be as specific as you can be.

Ashley: It’s easy to swallow but gives a hot feeling in my chest, kind of like if you drank something hot with cinnamon.

Christina: That is an indicator of high alcohol. Good job picking up on that!

Ashley: Kind of a charred taste, like eating the black burnt part of a marshmallow or pizza crust.

Christina: This has to do with the aging process of this wine. It sounds to me like it was a little “tight” and could have been laid down for a few more years so the balance of fruit and earth could shine through. Great specific description of what you tasted.

Ashley: It’s not something I would drink on a regular but it wasn’t terrible.

Christina: Great, you are figuring out what you like. Think about what type of food you would have this with and if it would change your perception of the wine.

Next was a 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon 169.

Ashley: This one gave a rush of burning through my nose upon first sip and swallo2. It reminds me of the sensation you get when you burp through your nose

Christina: This means it’s got a decent amount of alcohol in it.

Ashley: I definitely taste black pepper with this one; it’s very smooth, smoky and earthy. Kind of when you eat a vegetable right out of the garden without washing it and it has like dirt on it haha!

Christina: Haha those are good descriptors!

Ashley: It doesn’t seem to be too high in tannins, after a few sips my tongue started to dry out, but right off the bat I didn’t feel much dryness.

Christina: This means the tannins were balanced, soft, and supple.  That’s a good thing for red wines.

Ashley: I also got black cherry and plum in this one, though it is dry it kind of gave me the impression that it was going to be slightly sweet, because it smells like it but it definitely was not sweet.

Christina: This happens a lot with dry red wines; you get sweet notes on the nose but not on the palate. Good job picking up on the fruit aromas!

Ashley: Overall this is the first red wine I didn’t hate and would actually drink again! I definitely see myself enjoying it with a steak for dinner.

Christina: Wow that’s great!

The last wine I tried was a 2018 Chilean Malbec.

Ashley: Very earthy, I got that same dirt taste from the cab but it’s way more prominent with this one.

Christina: Good descriptors!

Ashley: It’s also very dry, significantly drier and higher in tannins than the cab 169. It dried my tongue out on the first sip and kind of made my throat feel dry too.

Christina: Perfect! Now you know the difference between medium/balanced tannins and high tannin wines.

Ashley: I do pick up on a black pepper, and get some licorice, some bitter blackberry as well. But the dirt taste is what my mouth captures first and sticks throughout the whole experience.

Christina: Okay good observations and descriptors!

Ashley: I wasn’t a fan of this one because the dirt taste was all I could focus on.

Christina: Good! You know now that you don’t like high tannin earthy wines.

Reflection

The Cab 169 from Suisun Valley, CA definitely left an impression on me and I am going to explore with other wines from the similar region and see what else I can take a liking to! Overall this was a fun experience and I look forward to experimenting and broadening my wine horizons. A big thanks to Christina for being an awesome teacher, it’s looking like I’ll be a pro at tasting and winemaking in no time!

If you are interested in wine tasting and help with developing your palate, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Sales@JuiceGrape.com, or by calling us at 877-812-1137. At Musto Wine Grape we are always searching for ways connect with you and help you along in your winemaking and wine loving journey.  We offer a wide variety of products, services and classes to help you create a wine you love and assist you in being able to experience the way wine was created to be experienced!

For updates on harvests, educational tutorials and more, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.

National Donut Day Donut & Wine Pairings

Happy National Donut Day! What better way to celebrate than pairing those tasty round treats with some wines that allow you to unlock a whole new world of flavors?! Let’s get to it.

national donut day

First we’ll start with a classic, the chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles!

Prosseco is the perfect pairing for this donut. The airiness of the donut lounging underneath the decadent frosting is a match made in heaven with this bubble-filled wine. The sugary frosting brings out the sweetness of the Prosecco. For Connecticut residents, try Donut Crazy’s Chocolate Frosted Sprinkle Donut! They have multiple locations in CT ranging from West Hartford to Branford.

Next, how about a jelly donut? Yes please.

Rosé and a jelly donut, specifically one with raspberry jelly filling, compliment each other extremely well. The bitterness of Rosé softens when you pair these two together, giving the raspberry flavors the center stage. At the same time, the wine mutes the sugary sweetness of the donut’s sugar coating, making it one elegant bite! We recommend once again Donut Crazy’s Powdered Jelly Donut, because they’re just that good!

Now the plain jane glazed donut, an underdog in the donut world. Simple yet total donut perfection.

Grab some Chardonnay for this one – the underlying hints of vanilla and toffee in the donut go perfectly with the same flavors in the wine. Chardonnay manages to bring out these flavors in this donut rather than mask them. Despite the sweetness of the donut the Chardonnay remains smooth! Grab your glazed donut from Neil’s Donuts in Wallingford, a donut goldmine in CT!

Last but certainly not least, the double chocolate glazed donut. A chocolate lover’s saving grace.

Finding the right wine to go with Chocolate can have you standing in the wine isles for a while pondering of which one will go best, but we’ll make it easy for you: Syrah. The bold double chocolate between the cake and the frosting of this donut pairs perfectly with the dark, jammy, fruit-forward flavors of Syrah. This pairing will give you a boozy chocolate covered strawberry vibe, how can you resist?! Pick up some Krispy Kreme Glazed Chocolate Cake Donuts for this pairing, yes we said donuts as in multiple donuts, get a whole dozen because one will not be enough. We speak from experience.

We wish everyone a happy and yummy national donut day!

Milk Loaf Recipe Using 71B Yeast

milk loaf recipe yeast 71B scott labratories

 

Have you run out of ideas for what to keep yourself busy with during quarantine? We’ve decided to experiment and the results were delicious. Using 71B yeast and Scott Lab’s recipe for milk loaf, we put our baking skills to the test and had a whole bunch of fun doing it!

Prep time runs just about two and a half hours, and bake time is about 25 minutes so this will surely keep you busy!

Here’s what you’ll need (for a yield of 2 loaves. If you’d like more increase ingredients as needed):

  • 4 cups of bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 sachets (9 grams) of Lalvin 71B Yeast (Don’t have this on hand? No worries! We have it in stock. Give us a call/visit and we’ll get you what you need!)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 1 cup tap water

Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Then, add butter, milk and water. Mix everything together with a spatula.
  • Once the wet ingredients have been absorbed, remove dough from bowl and transfer to a counter or workspace.
  • Extensively knead the dough by stretching and folding it repeatedly. Once the dough is smooth and slightly shiny, divide it into two pieces. Cover each with plastic and let rise for 40 minutes.
  • Flatten each piece of dough and roll into the shape of a football. Let the dough rise again for another 40 minutes.
  • Place the dough into a bread pan (about 6”-7” long, 3.5” deep) and cover with plastic and allow to rise for another 60 minutes.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 420 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes.
  • Let cool and enjoy!

Show us your finished loaves on Instagram and Facebook by commenting or tagging us @mustowinegrapeco and using the hashtag #mustocrushcrew

Bordeaux wines to try this winter

Are you a fan of Bordeaux wine? Check out these Bordeaux wines to try this winter as you snuggle up in your own chateau to drink by the fireplace.

 

2014 Château de Pez (St-Estèphe)

This is the oldest domain in St. Estèphe, dating back to the 15th century. Reach for this if you like red wines from the St-Estèphe region, which are highly structured, powerful, full bodied, and oftentimes tannic with excellent aging potential.

Find it at Toast Wines by Taste in West Hartford CT for $55.99

2016 Chateau Landereau (Entre-Deux-Mers)

Yes, Bordeaux makes delicious white wine too, though people oftentimes forget this. The region of Entre-Deux-Mers is producing some of the best quality wine at a low price you can find, simply because this sub-region does not yet have the name recognition that other areas of Bordeaux do. Jump on this deal before too many people realize how good it is!

Find it at The Wine Thief in New Haven CT for $16.00

2010 Sociando-Mallet (Haut-Medoc)

2010 is one of the best vintages on record in Bordeaux. If you enjoy wines that scream blueberry, raspberry, leather, and chocolate, this one is sure to please.

Find it at Table and Vine in West Springfield MA for $49.99

2015 Chateau de Lardiley (Bordeaux Blanc)

Organically grown, this wine is made from the Semillon grape. This pairs great with light fare or as an aperitif before a meal. Think aromas of peach, pear, citrus. Light and fruity with some sweetness, this is a good introduction in white Bordeaux for the wine drinker who isn’t convinced they’ve had one they’ve liked so far.

Find it at Wagon Wheel Fine Wines in Stamford CT for $15.99