|Tartrate crystals on the walls of the carboy.|
|The Wine Lab|
Before I rack the wine, I test the pH and free sulfite levels. I don't bother with acid (TA) testing with these wines because I know the acid level is on the higher end, and I back-sweeten these wines to balance out the flavor. My dry reds on the other hand, I measure pH, free SO2, titratable acidity, specific gravity (to monitor fermentation etc.) and MLF completion. I do this to ensure a balanced product is being made, I taste it too by the way! I add any needed sulfite to bring the molecular sulfite up to 0.8 (this is for whites, I also use this for fruit wines too.) Now they can just finish clearing and age until spring when I'll start back sweetening and filtration. If the wine has not cleared up after a while I try pectic enzyme. If that doesn't work I try sparkolloid; which usually does the trick. As the wine ages, I will monitor the sulfite levels and adjust accordingly. In a couple weeks I plan to rack my reds off of the oak cubes. At that time I will evaluate the flavor and talk a bit about the oak I use.