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red wine

Fall Foods to Pair with Red Wine

red wine fall

It’s that season! The air is getting crisper, the leaves are starting to change color and your mind is turning to those seasonal favorites such as pumpkin EVERYTHING, apples and apple pie, turkey, roasted veggies and sweet potatoes.

But when it comes to pairing your wine with those delicious autumnal treats, where to begin?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which red wine to try with your fall favorites.

Venison, lamb or beef stew pair nicely with a Red Bordeaux, Barbaresco, or Barolo. Another favorite dish in the autumn season is sweet potatoes. Pair yours with a rich red Zinfandel or if you are having more of a mashed version, enjoy it with a red blend or a lighter Pinot Noir.

Choosing a hearty vegetable stew with mushrooms or fig and goat cheese on almost anything, especially a pizza, also taste better when they are paired with a Pinot Noir. As it is so versatile, Pinot Noir also goes well when had with pork as well.

When considering meals during colder temperatures, comforting side dishes such as butternut squash risotto go nicely with a lighter Italian Dolcetto. Or a great bowl of Sausage Bolognese goes well with Sangiovese or Barbera.

Another favorite dish to indulge in even more so when the temperatures drop is a hearty chili. Serve it with a nice Malbec that will hold up well against all the flavors of the chili.

If you make a short ribs dish braised with vegetables that are cooked in red wine or something such as cheddar mashed potatoes, you can pair these with a Pinot Noir or Merlot. These red wines are medium-bodied and will add to the earthy flavors of these items.

And don’t forget desserts in the fall. That slice of pumpkin pie would be even sweeter with a glass of barrel-aged Port. Something to keep in mind, you typically want your wine to be sweeter than the dessert you are pairing it with. If a wine is too dry it will not taste as well with an overly sweet dessert.

No matter what you make in your lineup of fall favorite dishes, there is certainly a red wine to pair with it. Hopefully these gave you some ideas as you plan your autumn menu and go shopping for your wine; or better yet, see what you have in your own cellar.

 

Written by Michelle Griffis aka the Nutmeg Nose for MWG
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A Guide to Malolactic Fermentation

 Malolactic Fermentation, also known as Secondary Fermentation or “Malo”, is the process in which Malic Acid in the wine converts to Lactic Acid.

A Guide to Malolactic Fermentation

What is Malolactic Fermentation?

As stated above, it is the process in which Malic Acid in the wine converts to Lactic Acid. The primary role of Malolactic Fermentation is to deacidify the wine which affects the sensory aspects of wine, making the mouthfeel smoother and it adds complexity to the flavor and aroma of the wine. The deacidification of the wine happens by converting the harsh diprotic malic acid into the softer monoprotic lactic acid. Nearly all red wines go through Malo while only a few whites, like Chardonnay and Viognier, do. One way to recognize if a wine has gone through Malo is if it has a creamy, buttery mid-palate texture. The buttery flavor comes from diacetyl, a by-product of the reaction.

What is Diacetyl?

Diacetyl is a flavor metabolite produced by lactic acid bacteria known as Oenococcus Oeni. Oenococcus Oeni is the main bacteria responsible for conducting Malo, due to its ability to survive the harsh conditions of wine. It is responsible for the production of the sensory aspects noted above. Malo can happen naturally, though often inoculated with the bacteria culture to jumpstart the process.

When does Malo take place?

Malolactic Fermentation can happen in two different ways, during primary fermentation or after. Amid fermentation, it is Co-Inoculation. After fermentation, it is Post-Fermentation Inoculation. Inoculation that takes place after alcoholic fermentation is the most common practice. When you add bacteria cultures like MBR31 after fermentation is complete, it jumpstarts the Malo process. Co-inoculation takes place at the start of alcoholic fermentation, which allows winemakers to focus on other things such as the improvement of flavor development.

What are the signs that Malo is in progress, and how do I know if it is finished?

The best way to identify malo in progress is bubbles! The malolactic activity can be detected by the presence of tiny carbon-dioxide bubbles. When the bubbles stop, Malolactic Fermentation is complete. This can take anywhere between one and three months.

What are the benefits of each method?

Firstly, the benefits of post-fermentation inoculation include better control of the start time duration of Malo. Lessened biogenic amine production leaves the wine unprotected by sulfite for a limited amount of time. This allows less potential for spoilage by other organisms. It reduces the incidence of excessive volatile acidity and enhances flavor profiles and complexity. The benefits of co-inoculation include lower levels of the inhibitory alcohol that are present at the start of Malo, and no need to apply external heating to the ferment due to the heat generated by the yeast fermentation. This results in faster completion of Malo. This means the wine can have sulfite added earlier and reduces the potential for the growth of spoilage organisms. Finally, a bonus is that bacteria added at the start of the yeast fermentation encounter a nutrient-rich environment.

Need assistance with your winemaking process?

Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help. We offer a wide variety of products and services to help you at any stage in your winemaking journey. Email winemaker@juicegrape.com or call us at (877) 812-1137 to speak with someone who can assist you.

Popular Red Grapes for Home Winemakers

king's river ranch-wine grapes-musto wine grape-winemaking-home winemaking-how to make wine-winemaking instructions-grapes for winemaking

Ever wonder what the most popular red wine grapes are to use when making red wine at home? Well, wonder no more. Here is the list you’ve been looking for.

Try using these four popular red wine grapes as you begin your home wine making journey:

Cabernet

Merlot

Old Vine Zinfandel

Petite Sirah

 

Why these grapes you ask? Well, here are a few things to consider:

  • Cabernet – This is age worthy wine; cellar for 10+ years, produces a dry and full bodied wine with medium to high tannins, medium acidity and has 5–15% ABV
  • Merlot –This wine can be aged in your cellar for 10+ years and has flavors of cherry, plum, chocolate, bay leaf and vanilla with a tasting profile that makes it a bone-dry wine, with medium to full body, medium to high tannins, medium acidity and 13.5–15% ABV
  • Old Vine Zinfandel – Ages for 5-10 years, it is a bold, fruit forward red that’s loved for its jammy fruit and smoky, exotic spice notes; it makes a dry red with medium to full bodied flavor, medium to high tannins, medium to low acidity and has over 15% ABV
  • Petite Sirah – Another 10+ years of aging and is loved for its deeply colored wines with rich black fruit flavors including sugarplum, blueberry, dark chocolate, black pepper and black tea and makes a dry, full bodied wine with high tannins, low acidity and over 15% ABV

 

What red grape will you start with today? Let us know what popular red wine you are excited to start making this season.

 

Email sales@juicegrape.com or call  877-812-1137 to order or discus making wine from home!

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Written by Michelle Griffis aka the Nutmeg Nose from MWG

Montepulciano 2020 By Joseph A. Picone, DMD

montepulciano

Montepulciano 2020 By Joseph A. Picone, DMD

I had the pleasure to obtain 10 (36lbs) cases of Montepulciano grapes from Musto Grapes (Frank Musto) on October 10, 2020. Making wine using the many varieties of first class Musto sourced grapes has been an Annual fall event for the Picone family and our friends for the past 30 years or so. Over the years, I have made Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Old Vine Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Malbec, Reisling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, and White Zinfandel to name a few. Each having their own unique qualities to enjoy. Frank and his crew are great in providing all the resources and guidance needed for the first-time wine maker all the way to the seasoned-pro. I was fortunate to have taken a one semester class years ago at Naugatuck Community College on Wine Making given by Bob Herold which together with Frank’s support team has allowed me to create some delicious wines over the years.

I would like to share my experience with you on making this year’s Montepulciano 2020.

The grapes were outstanding. The Brix reading on the refractometer was 25. The clusters were full and the berries were a beautiful deep purple. The boxes were well packed with few if any leaves. We crushed the 360lbs of grapes and immediately added some potassium metabisulphite to kill any wild yeasts. My crusher is also a destemmer, so all the stems were separated from the must during this process. The pH of the must started at 3.70 which wasn’t surprising due to the high Brix reading. I added an appropriate amount of Tartaric acid to bring the pH to a more desirable 3.41 the day of crush. 25 ml of Color Pro enzyme was added at this time as well.

At approximately 24 hours post crush, the Must was inoculated with 35 grams of yeast BM 4X4 in a solution containing GoFerm yeast nutrient. The temperature of the Must at the time of inoculation was 60 degrees F. The yeast solution was well constituted throughout the must. Periodic punching down of the “cap’ was done every 6-8 hours throughout the primary fermentation time.

At 48 hours post crush, the Must temp was 66 degrees F at the Brix reading was 23.5. Fermaid O was added.

At 72 hours post crush, the Must temp was 75 degrees F and the Brix reading was 20. Fermaid K was added.

At 96 hours post crush, the Must temp was 82 degrees F and the Brix reading was 16. I added oak chips to the vat.

At 120 hours post crush, the Must temp was 78 degrees F and the Brix reading was 8.

At 144 hours post crush, the Must temp was 72 degrees F and the Brix reading was 4. 0.9mg of Malolactic culture VP41 was added to the Must and thoroughly mixed in.

At 168 hours(7 days) post crush, the Must temp was 70 degrees F and the Brix reading was 3. The Must and remnant skins were carefully pressed using a bladder press. The raw yield was approximately 27.5 gallons. The Must was placed in cleaned and sanitized demijohns utilizing airlocks to allow CO2 to escape while fermentation progresses, albeit very slowly. The residual skins were heavily consumed during the fermentation leaving behind very little structure. The color extraction was excellent and provided a deep rich purple wine. More Oak chips were added to each of the glass carboys/demijohns.

The slow fermentation in the demijohns went uneventfully and at 2 months, careful racking was accomplished and an appropriate amount of Potassium Metabisulphite was added to help kill off any more yeast cells(30ppm).

At 6 months post pressing, another racking was accomplished without the addition of any sulphites.

At 9 months, I have just begun bottling and I am very pleased with the wine. It is a crystal clear, deep purple, medium to full body, somewhat fruity flavored wine. I expect it to pair well most any dish but have enjoyed it with pasta, pork, veal, and chicken thus far.

Sincerely,

Joseph A. Picone, DMD

Thank you Joseph for sharing your Montepulciano winemaking experience! If you would like to make Montelpuciano emails sales@juicegrape.com or call 877-812-1137.

Headspace in Your Wine Vessel – What does it mean?

headspace in your wine

Let’s talk about headspace. Extra headspace in your wine storage vessel leads to oxidation. Oxidation leads to wine faults such as – disappearance of fruit flavors, characteristics like bruised-apple take over, the color starts to brown, and brettanomyces or volatile acidity can start to develop.

However, not all oxidation is bad. If done carefully a little micro-oxidation can give help soften your red wine wine and give it complexity. Also, some wine styles require excessive oxidation like Madera.

But for most wines we want to avoid any excessive oxidation. So how to we do that? Below are a few tips to help avoid oxidation in your wine.

1. Consistently check your aging vessels and make sure they have no headspace and are topped off
2. Limit how much air you wine is exposed to during racking, pump overs, and bottling
3. Keep track of and update your SO2 levels regularly
4. Double check tank gaskets for any leaks before use
5. Use quality corks when bottling wine

We hope these tips help! 🍇🍷🥂 Looking forward to working with you all this Spring Winemaking Season. Have you ordered your Spring Winemaking Supplies yet? Email us at sales@juicegrape.com for more details.

For more on Winemaking Faults visit our sister site WinemakingInstructions.com

Pocket Guide: The 9 Styles of Wine

The world of wine is a big one. Whether you are a newbie winemaker or drinker, or one of the pro’s that just needs a refresher.

We put together a printable pocket guide for identifying the 9 styles of wine.

The 9 Styles of Wine

This printable pocket guide provides a simple overview of each of the 9 styles of wine and what characteristics to look for. Its a great idea to keep handy in your wine tasting notebook so as you write your tasting notes you can easily identify each wine!

Once you are able to taste the 9 styles of wine, it will give you a better understanding of wine as a whole. Once you have a good understanding for wine, you’ll be able to fully understand tasting wine and even making it! Obviously wine tasting and winemaking can be complex but with dedication for learning, and having the support (us!) it can ensure your success.

Other types of reference guides that are good to keep handy are things like a wine tasting wheel and color chart that allows you to identify more colors, aromas and flavors!

Want to make your own wine? Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help. Give us a call at (877) 812-1137 to speak with one of our Crush Crew members to get you on track to making the wine of your dreams!

How to Make Wine from Chilean Winemaking Juice

So how can you start making your own wine from Chilean juices? Follow these 10 Easy Steps (for fresh juice) and you’ll be on your way!

how to make wine from juice

  1. Choose a Chilean variety that speaks to you.
  2. Come to Musto Wine Grape and pick up your pail of juice.
  3. Bring it home, pop open that lid, and add 1/4 tsp potassium metabisulfite to it. Add pectic enzyme if you’re going to (5 drops per gallon of juice). Give it a stir.
    1. Why pectic enzyme?
  4. Allow it to come up to room temperature – we’re talking 60 degrees or so.
  5. Choose your fermentation vessel: will you keep it in pails or ferment in a carboy or demijohn? Make sure everything is clean and sanitized. *Be sure there is enough room to account for fermentation foaming*
  6. If you are going to add fermentation tannins or additives (like oak dust, Booster Rouge, Booster Blanc) you can add that now. *Note: do not add tannins such as FT Rouge within 8 hours of adding enzyme*
  7. Pitch the yeast once the temperature has reached at least 60F. Yeast strain choices will vary depending on the juice you choose – ask a winemaker at Musto Wine Grape for a strain recommendation for the varietal you’re making. Follow the yeast starter directions explicitly. Be very careful of temperatures, never adding yeast if there is more than a 18 degree difference between the yeast starter liquid and the juice.
  8. Carefully monitor the fermentation by checking Brix levels daily. Add yeast nutrients as needed if you choose to do so.
  9. If you are adding malolactic cultures to your wine, you may also chose to do this at 1/3 Brix depletion. If using a malolactic nutrient (Opti-Malo Plus) with the bacterial culture, hydrate the nutrient in a separate container from the bacteria and add to the must directly before the addition of the bacteria. Follow all directions on the bacteria and nutrient packets explicitly.
  10. When the fermentation is complete, rack off the lees and continue aging. Many Chilean wines are aged with oak – if you choose to do this, you can do so in oak barrels or with oak alternatives (such as chips or staves).

Want to read more about making wine from Fresh Juice? Check out this blog post.

Can I make my own? Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help you make the wine of your dreams! The Spring Chilean winemaking season starts in late April, early May. Secure your winemaking grapes or juices and give us a call at (877) 812-1137 to speak with one of our Musto Crush Crew members. We can get you set up with everything you need and provide customer support along the way to ensure your success!

The Body of Wine: What is it?

When you are first starting out in the wine-tasting world, you come face to face with the intensity and complexity of certain wines as you taste them. One of the things that your palate will start to recognize is the thickness and texture of the wine in your mouth. We identify this mouthfeel as the body of the wine. It can be difficult to explain a wine’s body because it is not as obvious as sweetness or acidity.

Glass with red wine

The body of wine can be described in three ways:

When the body of a wine is light, think of drinking a glass of water. It’s thin, goes down easily, and is smooth.

When the body of a wine is medium, think of drinking a glass of skim milk. The consistency is thicker, but not too thick, and sticks around in your mouth a little longer.

Lastly, when the body of a wine is full, think of drinking a glass of whole milk. This would be the thickest, with the longest-lasting finish.

Light-bodied wines

Light-bodied wines are light and delicate on your palate making them popular during the summer because they are crisp and refreshing.

Medium-bodied wines

These wines are known for being “in-between” because there is no true cut off for where they actually sit on the tasting spectrum. Sometimes they can be more light-to-medium bodied, or they can be medium-to-full. These wines are usually the best to pair with food because they have the perfect balance of tannins and acidity.

Full-bodied wines

These robust and powerful natured wines are bold. These would include deep red wines and ports, and these characteristics come from their skins which are packed with tannins. If you taste a full-bodied wine, you’ll notice it leaves a coated finish in your mouth.

What gives a wine its body?

Tannins, sugar, and acids all contribute and determine the overall body of a wine. Something that can help you determine the body of a wine is its alcohol level. Alcohol adds to the intensity and thickness of a wine. The more alcohol that wine has, the heavier it becomes and the bigger mouthfeel it offers.  The grape itself determines the body, starting in the skins. Thick-skinned grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon contain a lot more extract than Pinot Noir, which is thin-skinned. Production methods also impact the weight of the wine as well, say if the wine was oaked. White wines tend to be much lighter than red wines, but there can be fuller-bodied white wines – like buttercream chardonnay.

Can I make my own?

Musto Wine Grape Company is here to help you make the wine of your dreams! The Spring Chilean winemaking season starts in late April, early May. Secure your winemaking grapes or juices and give us a call at (877) 812-1137 to speak with one of our Musto Crush Crew members. We can get you set up with everything you need and provide customer support along the way to ensure your success!

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!

Red, Red Wine Infused Cupcakes

Have you ever wanted to drink your wine and eat it too?

Well here’s your chance!

red wine cupcakes

We teamed up with local baker The Mixing Bowl by Jules to create this recipe. These chocolate cupcakes are infused with our homemade red wine, filled with a raspberry and wine chocolate ganache, and topped with cream cheese frosting.

Decadent? Yes! But sometimes you just need to treat yourself!

Here is what you need:

Cupcakes

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup chocolate cocoa
  • ½ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water (boil)

Ganache

  • ½ cup of cream
  • ½ cup of fresh raspberries
  • ½ cup of red wine
  • 1 ½ cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 2 sticks of salted butter
  • 8 oz of cream cheese
  • 6 cups of powdered sugar
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and yields approx. 24 cupcakes.
  2. Bring one cup of water to a boil on your stove top. Once it starts boiling turn the heat off and let it cool down.
  3. Next you’re going to start making the batter. Pour the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into your mixer and blend.
  4. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add the flour and cocoa, one cup at a time.
  5. Next you’ll add in the vegetable oil and slowly pour in the red wine while mixer is on.
  6. After that, add the salt, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until everything is blended. Don’t over mix!
  7. Turn the mixer back on and slowly pour the water into the batter. The batter will be thin.
  8. Next place your cupcake liners in your pans. You’ll want to fill each about ½ way full. Tip: If you have a cookie scooper, use that to pour batter otherwise a spoon will work!
  9. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top is domed and sturdy. Once they are done let them cool for at least 30 minutes before filling and frosting.

Raspberry wine ganache

red wine cupcakes

  1. Pour your cream and raspberries into a sauce pan on medium heat. Use a spoon to break down the raspberries while they are heating up.
  2. Pour in the red wine and continue to stir and let mixture come to a boil. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat.
  3. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Wait at least an hour for the ganache to thicken up or refrigerate overnight.

Cream Cheese frosting

red wine cupcakes

  1. Add both butter and cream cheese to mixer and mix on the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add each cup of powdered sugar one at a time and blend until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Now the fun part…building your cupcake

Once your cupcakes are cool and your ganache is thicker, you can either fill your cupcakes with ganache or dip the top – it’s up to you!

  1. Take a knife and cut out the centers of your cupcake and save the top of it!
  2. Using a spoon or a piping bag if you have one, fill the centers with the chocolate ganache. If you refrigerate it overnight, you’ll want to heat it up for 30 seconds to 1 minute before adding.
  3. Put the top back on and cover the ganache!
  4. Next you can, either frost with a knife or use your favorite piping tip and swirl! For the finishing touch, add a raspberry for garnish!

red wine cupcakes

And finally ENJOY your cupcakes with your home made wine!

The Musto Crush Crew certainly enjoyed these cupcakes! 🙂

red wine cupcakes

red wine cupcakes

red wine cupcakes

red wine cupcakes

Ready to make your own Wine? 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!