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Jenise

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WTN: Just add water

by Jenise » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:03 pm

Once again, a wine from our cellar was heavy, sweet and reduced, and we made it palatable by adding water.

2012 Dynasty Cellars Merlot DCM Walla Walla Valley
Initial pour: very different from last bottle just three-four months ago. Amarone-like nose, black fruit/dried blueberries on the palate. Heavy and sweet, low acid comparatively, goes downhill in the glass. Second pour, after addition of about two tablespoons of cold water: flowers now on the nose, some red fruit emerges on the palate, some acidity unburied--it's fresher, lifted and drinkable now.

Though not an orthodox approach, from the cook's perspective repairing the wine by adding water makes perfect sense. After all, that's how you fix an over-reduced sauce and this winemaker, who I know personally, ages his wine in barrel for three-four years.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Patchen Markell » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:27 pm

Jenise wrote: Second pour, after addition of about two tablespoons of cold water


Out of curiosity, do you mean that you added 2T. cold water to your second pour, or that you added 2T. cold water to the remaining wine in the bottle and then poured your second pour?

Added water only to the second pour (a large pour at that). We were watching the game Sunday, snacking and otherwise distracted so it took me awhile to conclude that I wouldn't drink a second glass without remedy.
cheers, Patchen
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:58 pm

Jenise,

Is it possible this bottle was slightly oxidized?
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Jenise » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:37 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Jenise,

Is it possible this bottle was slightly oxidized?


Well, the initial flavor was somewhat oxidative, but the dilution reversed that impression so I'd have to conclude not.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Jenise » Tue Feb 07, 2017 7:05 pm

Patchen Markell wrote:
Jenise wrote: Second pour, after addition of about two tablespoons of cold water


Out of curiosity, do you mean that you added 2T. cold water to your second pour, or that you added 2T. cold water to the remaining wine in the bottle and then poured your second pour?

Added water only to the second pour (a large pour at that). We were watching the game Sunday, snacking and otherwise distracted so it took me awhile to conclude that I wouldn't drink a second glass without remedy.


Btw, note: I did not measure, could have been a little less. I was sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine and an ice water chaser, and just tipped some in.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by David M. Bueker » Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:08 pm

Are you sure you were not drinking Scotch? ;)
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Peter May » Wed Feb 08, 2017 11:31 am

A Ridge Zinfandel I've recently had lists 2.something % added water on the label.

I'm currently in Barbados where the temperature is around 30C. (84+-F) and the casual restaurants here keep and serve red wine at this 'room' temperature, so I'm adding ice to each glass. Sure makes it drinkable.

Water and/or ice, drink ability is the crux.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by David M. Bueker » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:21 pm

Adding water at fermentation is a very different beast.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Victorwine » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:02 pm

Hi Jenise
I totally understand the “water addition” diluting the wine part. I’m a little confused about you using the term “reduced”. From the rest of your post I believe your definition of reduce is as in cooking, to reduce or thicken something by boiling or simmering. Are we to think aging a wine in oak cask for two to three years “reduces” the wine (makes it “heavy and thick”)? Usually the term “concentrate” is used when referring to aging in oak cask. I could think of several other techniques that would make a wine “heavy and thick”.

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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Jenise » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:13 pm

Victorwine wrote:Hi Jenise
I totally understand the “water addition” diluting the wine part. I’m a little confused about you using the term “reduced”. From the rest of your post I believe your definition of reduce is as in cooking, to reduce or thicken something by boiling or simmering. Are we to think aging a wine in oak cask for two to three years “reduces” the wine (makes it “heavy and thick”)? Usually the term “concentrate” is used when referring to aging in oak cask. I could think of several other techniques that would make a wine “heavy and thick”.

Salute


Exactly right, I understand 'reduced' can have other meanings with respect to wine descriptions so I was careful to point out that my observation of the problem and what might help repair it was coming at it from a cook's perspective. Otherwise, yes, I would have used the term 'concentrated'.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Victorwine » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:33 am

I guess I can’t grasp the idea of comparing bulk aging (a table wine) in oak cask for two to three years as being the same as “cooking reduction”. Maybe if one doesn’t have a “regular top- up regime” and keeps it in a warm place (but than again for certain styles of wine this could be desirable). But for the most part for “table wine” production oak barrels are stored in cool places and the wine is regularly “topped-up”.

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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Peter May » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:01 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Adding water at fermentation is a very different beast.



In what way?
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Victorwine » Thu Feb 09, 2017 11:20 am

At fermentation the goal of adding water (just the “right” amount) is to adjust the Brix (to a more “desirable” level) of your must or juice (hopefully not diluting all the goodness the juice or must has to offer). Besides no one really adds just “plain” water but acidified water.

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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Jenise » Thu Feb 09, 2017 2:41 pm

Victorwine wrote:I guess I can’t grasp the idea of comparing bulk aging (a table wine) in oak cask for two to three years as being the same as “cooking reduction”.


It's not exactly. I'm just telling you what inspired me to add water. And sharing that the result wasn't merely dilutatory, that the addition of a relatively tiny amount of water seemed to change the character of the wine--it wasn't just slightly less strong, it seemed more alive.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Oliver McCrum » Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:09 pm

Victorwine wrote:At fermentation the goal of adding water (just the “right” amount) is to adjust the Brix (to a more “desirable” level) of your must or juice (hopefully not diluting all the goodness the juice or must has to offer). Besides no one really adds just “plain” water but acidified water.

Salute


Another way of putting it would be that you over-ripened the fruit in the first place, in order to get over-ripe flavors and squishy tannins, and you needed then to add water so the must would ferment to dryness.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Peter May » Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:58 pm

Victorwine wrote:At fermentation the goal of adding water (just the “right” amount) is to adjust the Brix (to a more “desirable” level)


Reducing Brix reduces the eventual abv. Adding water to a glass reduces the abv in the glass.

I'm not clear what the actual difference is.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Victorwine » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:58 pm

Adding water prior to fermentation the water becomes part of the medium the yeast and bacteria turns into wine. Whereas adding water later all you are doing is adding water to wine.

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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Victorwine » Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:50 am

You’re absolutely correct Oliver! In regards to Peter’s question I would expect an importer of fine wine to answer the question in such a way. But being a home winemaker (in New York) who out sources grapes from California you look at it from a different angle. Today even us home winemakers have ways to deal with “squishy tannin”.

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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Peter May » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:02 pm

Victorwine wrote:Adding water prior to fermentation the water becomes part of the medium the yeast and bacteria turns into wine. Whereas adding water later all you are doing is adding water to wine.



Nope, I still don't get it.

Yeast and bacteria don't turn water into wine.

I don't understand; both reduce abv.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by David M. Bueker » Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:50 pm

Water added at fermentation becomes part of the integrated medium being fermented (grape juice is mostly water anyway). Soak/time on the skins can be adjusted to deal with the overall fermentation medium. When it's added later it's just a pure dilution.

In a way it's sort of like salt in cooking. Added during the process it becomes an integrated part of the dish. Added at the table it just adds a salty flavor.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:46 pm

Attagirl, turning water (and sludge) into wine!
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Bill Spohn » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:56 pm

While I've had the same sort of wine as Jenise did, my solution is different. Rather than adding water, I tend to add a couple of pounds of lamb shoulder and some vegetables....

And David - two tablespoons is far too much to be adding to a decent Scotch - we do single malt tastings literally with an eyedropper, as a very small amount of water will open a malt up, while any more than that is unproductive.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by David M. Bueker » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:07 pm

Bill,

I never add more than a few drops.
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Re: WTN: Just add water

by Bill Spohn » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:31 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Bill,

I never add more than a few drops.


I had faith in you!

Bill
(Listening to Al Jarreau, as he passed away today) :(
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