Noir de blanc?

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Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Sun Aug 13, 2017 15:00

A neighbour has 2 grapevines of an early ripening Italian white variety, only one of which has produced a good quantity of grapes. At best, there is only enough to make 2 bottles of wine. The grapes are almost ripe and so are the elderberries at the end of his garden, so I thought it a good idea to combine the 2 crops and make a gallon of red wine, possibly with the addition of the plentiful early windfall apples and ripe blackberries around at the moment. Red wine from white grapes - noir de blanc!
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Wed Aug 16, 2017 13:37

In fact I have found a recipe for elderberry wine which calls for 1.5 kilos of elderberries and 500 ml of white grape juice, presumably because red grape juice contains more tannin.
I picked 3.5 kilos of elderberries, which took a very long time to strip, only to find that the stalks represent little more than 10% of the overall weight and I might have been better off using the grape crusher and fishing out the stalks after. I used the fruit press and extracted 1.8 litres of juice. I noticed a few fruit fry grubs, so I added some sulphite to the juice, which had an sg of 1040 and pH 4.5. The skins and pips weighed 1.2 kilos. I mixed them with 1 litre of warm water and pectolase and left it overnight.
The sulphite is supposed to kill off bacteria and wild yeast, but the juice started to ferment without the addition of yeast.
The next day, I pressed the pips and skins, yielding 1.3 litres of liquid, so extracting another 300 ml of juice, bringing the total to 2.1 litres from 3 kilos of fruit without heat or pulp fermentation. This drastically reduces the tannin content, which is mostly in the skins and pips.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:47

The grapes still have some way to go but there are plenty of blackberries around, so I decided to use them instead to make hedgerow barolo. 2 kilos of them, crushed and pressed, yielded 1.5 litres of juice. I cooked a kilo of bananas, poured on the juice, added 2.5 kilos of sugar, topped up with water to 11 litres and added 2 teaspoons of yeast. The sg was 1090 and the pH 3.9. The next day I skimmed off the fine pulp. Once this has stopped rising, I will add oak chips.
11 litres should yield 12 full bottles because about 1 litre of the volume will be lost as co2 and more will be lost after removing fine pulp racking.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:50

This sounds doable as we have LOTS of elderflowers/elderberries round here. Do you really end up with something that tastes like red wine?
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Fri Aug 18, 2017 13:39

You do indeed, but the blackberries play an important part in the flavour too. I would go as far to say that this particular brew is not only the best 'country' red wine I have ever made but better than many grape based reds too. I mature mine in oak for a year before bottling but even without the oak, it's still good.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 11:12

The way I'm thinking is that I'll use a mix of 60% blackberries and 40% elderberries - does that sound about right?

What about yeast? Champagne yeast?
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:32

The recipe calls for proportions the other way round but last year there were more blackberries than elderberries and I made several variants based on what was available. I used generic wine yeast, which was satisfactory.
This year I missed the first flush of blackberries so the yield is down. However, I have found some good elder trees with loads of low hanging fruit. Stripping the berries from the stalks is very time consuming so yesterday I used a grape crusher and a 10 mm wire basket to trap the stalks which went through. I processed 3.5 kilos in 15 minutes. You could use a tennis racquet instead.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 18:42

tonyhibbett wrote:The recipe calls for proportions the other way round but last year there were more blackberries than elderberries and I made several variants based on what was available. I used generic wine yeast, which was satisfactory.
This year I missed the first flush of blackberries so the yield is down. However, I have found some good elder trees with loads of low hanging fruit. Stripping the berries from the stalks is very time consuming so yesterday I used a grape crusher and a 10 mm wire basket to trap the stalks which went through. I processed 3.5 kilos in 15 minutes. You could use a tennis racquet instead.


We have more elderberries round here than I could ever use, same with blackberries.

I made blackberry and elderberry jam last year, so I'm aware of how finicky the elderberries are.

Was planning on putting it all in bucket, then pulverising it with a some chunky wood offcuts. Load the pulp up into muslin bags and strain.

Would Gervin or US-05 work for this? Just wondering whether I really need a high-ABV yeast.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:42

it's most important that you add sulphite to the strained juice to kill or at least suppress bacteria. Without a press, you need get the most from the pulp after straining by mixing it with hot water, stirring for 5 minutes then strain again and repeat. You don't need high abv yeast if you are aiming for 12%. Making it stronger will make it less palatable for most people.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 22:12

tonyhibbett wrote:it's most important that you add sulphite to the strained juice to kill or at least suppress bacteria. Without a press, you need get the most from the pulp after straining by mixing it with hot water, stirring for 5 minutes then strain again and repeat. You don't need high abv yeast if you are aiming for 12%. Making it stronger will make it less palatable for most people.


I bought some vintners harvest wine yeast - hopefully it will be a good one.

Cheers for the tips - I'll be sure to keep the OG around 1.100 to get approx 12%
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Sun Aug 27, 2017 11:34

og 1.100 will give at least abv 13.4%. I use 1.090.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Sun Aug 27, 2017 12:00

tonyhibbett wrote:og 1.100 will give at least abv 13.4%. I use 1.090.


Thanks for that - I'll aim for that OG.

What FG do you normally get? I'd imagine that fruit and sugar is gonna chomp down pretty low (maybe 1.002-4)
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Wed Aug 30, 2017 20:09

Most of my wines end up about 0.096, with a pH of 3.6, similar to most commercial reds.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 08:05

tonyhibbett wrote:Most of my wines end up about 0.096, with a pH of 3.6, similar to most commercial reds.


Excellent info - thanks for that.

Got my yeast, just need to get this wine on the go.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Sat Sep 02, 2017 14:19

Actually an og of 1.080 will produce 12% abv if the wine is dry. I've been using an inaccurate table (First Steps in Winemaking) for years! I've also been using an inaccurate bucket. As a result, instead of the planned 10 litres at 12% abv, I'll end up with 12 litres at 14% abv. The extra dilution of the fruit juice means reduced colour, acidity and tannin, but the wine tastes good, even at this stage. I have plenty of wine tannin left but have run out of tartaric acid. I found a pack of 100g on ebay for £2.99 post free, which is a very good deal.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby HTH1975 » Sat Sep 02, 2017 15:09

tonyhibbett wrote:Actually an og of 1.080 will produce 12% abv if the wine is dry. I've been using an inaccurate table (First Steps in Winemaking) for years! I've also been using an inaccurate bucket. As a result, instead of the planned 10 litres at 12% abv, I'll end up with 12 litres at 14% abv. The extra dilution of the fruit juice means reduced colour, acidity and tannin, but the wine tastes good, even at this stage. I have plenty of wine tannin left but have run out of tartaric acid. I found a pack of 100g on ebay for £2.99 post free, which is a very good deal.


Should I be adding tannin and tartaric acid in a blackberry and elderberry wine?

2016: 330L brewed (72 gallons, over 8 firkins)
2017: 105L brewed (need to update this figure)
Drinking: Landlord clone
Conditioning: ciders from 2016, hedgerow barrolo, 1914 Courage RIS (10%).
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:21

Probably. Mine turned out deficient in both. The main acid in these fruits is citric, some of which gets consumed during fermentation. Both acid and tannin have preservative qualities as well as taste. My brew was about 40% deficient in both.
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Re: Noir de blanc?

Postby tonyhibbett » Wed Sep 06, 2017 12:50

It is worth noting that wine tannin is also an acid. 1 rounded teaspoon of the powder changed the pH from 4.0 to 3.9 in 5 litres, so less tartaric acid was needed to change this to the desired 3.6. It is also worth noting that elderberries contain minerals which act as pH buffers, so pH readings are misleading. I therefore used titration. Having added 4 g of tartaric acid per gallon, the pH remained the same, but the total acid proved to be 5 ppt (as tartaric). Adding more acid would make this dry red wine less palatable.
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