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Saskatoon Wine – 2009 Batch 1 Update

12.31.09
Batch 1 of 09 Saskatoon wine was bottled this week, and I figured it would be useful for other would-be-saskatoon-wine-makers to have some thoughts in the otherwise gaping void of online information about tackling this.

First, I’m pretty sure this wine will mature nicely. For a long time, the wine had a tart cherry vibe that was awkward, nearly metallic, and generally less than impressive. I hoped that this would fade, and indeed it does. I’ve oaked this batch with medium plus toast infusion spiral, and the oak notes so far are stunningly impressive. I had no idea I would be able to oak a wine to such a quality level, and highly recommend using the spirals. Oak certainly improved the wine, and certainly brought it vastly closer to what most would expect in a red wine.

This batch is, unfortunately, due to a winemaker chemistry blunder, slightly overly acidic – and it’s a thin type of acidity. Fortunately on batch 2 I didn’t over shoot my TA adjustment by accident. Batch 1 is perhaps reminiscent of a Beaujolais: tart cherry and bright, light acidity. Makes it a good food wine, but certainly no sipper for the heavy-red-lover. It is a glass-sniffer though – the oak made the empty glass one of the most pleasant items of the whole experience.

Last thought for the day: cold soak, extended maceration, and a very slow, cooler fermentation made my second batch highly more concentrated, highly more extracted, and clearly a better quality wine overall if you value concentration. I ended up with 2 different syles of wines – which does not hurt my feelings.

Conclusion to date: I spent 2 mornings of 4 hours picking fruit. It yielded 3 to 3.5 cases of wine in addition to the few bags I used for baking, canning, etc. In hindsight, that seems like time well spent. I think after a couple years in bottle that I’ll feel that way even moreso.

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