Cabernet Franc Vin
|Full Recipe Name|
|Cabernet Franc Vin|
|Max the Executioner|
Civilization. Some would say that without wine, this could not be possible. Wine is mentioned in the ancient Sumerian text in the epic of Gilagmesh tablets’ seven and eleven. They speak of how the wild man Enkidu became civilized through the eating of prepared foods (bread), drinking (wine and ale), and wearing clothes. Fast forward about 2700 years, over to the Roman Empire of 70 AD. Rome was considered to be one of the most fantastic civilizations known to mankind. The Romans, accordingly to Gaius Plinius Secundus (AKA Pliny the Elder), were a grape growing and wine producing bunch as well. Accordingly to Pliny the Elder, they contributed a great deal of technology to wine making. They used sulfur to help preserve and extend the life of their wines. They used multiple types of wine presses including bladder presses, which were basically a large piece of fabric that crushed the grapes that were put into it and the ends were twisted as you would to wring water out of a wet towel. The wringing action of the twisting fabric would then crush the juice out of the grapes which would be collected in a container below. They used variations on a basket press which is a large lever with a piston suspended from a middle point somewhere on the lever. On one end of the lever is a fulcrum. On the other end is a basket, in which rocks or water or even in some cases people were put into it, to create a mechanical advantage capable of pressing the juice out of the crushed grapes with the piston. They also used larger and smaller screw type presses for which there are modern examples in use today. After crushing these grapes they would have been fermented with the wild yeast that was visibly clinging to their skins. The skins not only gave the grape juice the active yeast to ferment it into alcohol but also gave the wine its color and acids for its character as well as the enzymes to help it clarify. Depending on the wine, some were stored in ceramic amphora while others were stored in wooden casks. This technology was brought north and west to the areas known as Narbonesis, Aquitania, and Lugdunesis (present day France) during the Roman acquisition of these territories. Pliny had also commented that in the 25 districts of the Roman Empire, each district grew an identical grape type; each district had a name for its own grape and a different name for each of the other 24 grapes grown in the other districts resulting in 625 names for just one grape type. It is no wonder that when doing research on grape names that this gets very confusing very quickly. Fast forward to the Middle Ages, the areas of Narbonesis, Aquitania, and Lugdunesis (present day France) seem to change owners and names more quickly than its inhabitants change their underwear. The inhabitants of this region were still growing grapes. Through modern archeological evidence and DNA testing, and carbon dating of grape seeds from this area by the University of California at Davis, it was shown that the Cabernet Franc grape was being grown here. Cabernet Franc was also an important parent grape of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère, Malbec and Merlot. Just like in Roman times, the Cabernet Franc is known by many names such as Bouchy, Breton, Carmenet, Gros Bouchet, Grosse Vidure, Vernon, Cabernet Gris and Bordo. I hope you enjoy my rendition of this wine.
I bought pre-picked grapes instead of picking them myself. Because of the small size of the batch that I was making, I de-stemmed the grapes by hand. This process was quite perilous as the grapes we purchased had a Black Widow spider in one of the crates. Because of the small batch size, I used a large wooden pestle and a plastic mortar to break the grape skins open and bruise the skins prior to pressing them instead of using a big wooden vat as the mortar and my feet as the pestle. I then pressed the grapes with around a 100 year old wooden screw type wine press that was my grandfather’s as opposed to the other apparatuses mentioned above. The grape juice was then fermented on oak (not in oak) in a plastic bucket. Instead of using pure sulfur, I used camden tablets which are sulfur dioxide. Instead of fermenting my wine using the natural wild yeast clinging to the grape skins, I used a modern commercial equivalent of the type of yeast that would have been used to make the red wines of the area around that area. After fermentation was complete, I stored my wine in glass bottles as opposed to wooden casks or ceramic amphora. The cabernet franc grapes that I used were grown in California as opposed to ones that are grown in France. Although pectic enzyme is a naturally occurring fungus found on grape skins, we used more to help make a clearer wine. In medieval times, a whole village would get together to make wine. Since my batch was so small, I only borrowed one villager (Thomas the Shepherd, see pictures) to make my batch.
# 1 Gallon Cabernet Franc Grape Juice
- 32 oz. Low Acid Red Blending Grape Juice
- 48 oz. Cabernet Franc Grape Skins
- ½ tsp pectic enzyme
- 1 ¼ oz. toasted oak spiral
- Wine yeast – Wyeast 4267 Summation Red
Process (See attached pictures for demonstration):# Obtained the grapes.
- De-stemmed the grapes.
- Crushed grapes with wooden pestle in plastic mortar (bucket) to open up the skins.
- Put grapes into wine press basket.
- Crushed grapes with wine press block (piston) until grape juice flowed out of bottom of the press into plastic bucket.
- Added back in 48 oz of grape skins along with pectic enzyme, oak spiral and yeast.
- Every other day, I stirred the grape skin cap for the duration of the fermentation.
- At the end of the fermentation, I scooped out the grape skins.
- Pressed out the remaining juice from the fermented on grape skins.
- Siphoned off the clearest part of the wine from the yeast sludge at the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
- Transferred the wine into a glass carboy along with 4 oz. of sulfited water.
- Closed the carboy with a bubble lock.
- Set aside for 3 months to allow the wine to clear.
- At the 3 month interval, I racked the clearest portion of the wine into a secondary glass carboy
- Added 4 oz. sulfited water.
- Put the bubble lock back in.
- At the six month mark, I added 4 more ounces of sulfited water to the mixture.
- Bottled in glass bottles with corks.
Started on 9/20/2014 Racked on: 11/15/2014 Racked on: 2/15/2015 Bottled on: 5/23/2015
Book of Natural History by Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder), Book 14: Chapter 25, Loeb Classical Library, Translated by H. Rackham, Edited by Jeffrey Henderson, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1945, 1968
- 2 - 1 gallon glass jugs
- Four feet of clear plastic siphon hose
- 2 one foot sections of clear plastic tubing
- a non-metallic spoon
- a non-metallic funnel
- a fermentation lock and rubber stopper
- 1 one quart glass jar
- Floating thermometer
- Measuring cup and measuring spoons
- Glass 750 ml wine bottles
- wine press
- 1-two gallon plastic bucket
- 1-five gallon plastic bucket
- 2-four foot long pine two-by-fours
- http://www.pnas.org/content/108/9/3457.long, http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab2.htm
- Pliny the Elder, The Natural History of Pliny: Vol. 4, Book 14, Chapter 25, pg. 271.
- Pliny the Elder, The Natural History of Pliny: Vol. 4, Book 14, Chapter 25, pg. 273.
- http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=3715, http://www.wineinstitute.org/resources/winefactsheets/article96