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  • Robert Dolci

Bob's Blog #8: Still Trying

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Guess what? Wendy and I just bottled 50 bottles of wine that we made of which 27 were white and 23 were red. Surprisingly, they’re not bad. I’m not saying that they are great. Also, a bit of a surprise is that I think the white is better than the red and Wendy thinks that the red is better. Normally I prefer red, and Wendy prefers white. I believe that Wendy is just a little leary about the white as we totally botched how we made it. Nothing unusual about us not fully grasping the nuances of making wine.

As I said, we call the white wine “Whatever White”. Why? You are so bold to ask. What we started with is not what we ended up with. We started with a Pinot Grigio juice concentrate. I had a little accident when pouring the juice concentrated into the primary fermenter. I spilled a lot of it on the floor. I bet that you think that I intentionally make these mistakes so I can write about them. Nope. Anyway, because we didn’t know how much I spilled, we didn’t know how much water to add to the concentrate. So, we made a guesstimate. It appears that we were wrong. Weeks later when we transferred the wine from the primary fermenter to the six-gallon carboy, we were short about threequarters of a gallon. As we didn’t want the wine to oxidize, we knew that we had to do something to top off the carboy. Frankly, the wine tasted a little flat, so we added vodka. We didn’t have enough vodka, so I added a bottle of white that we had in the fridge. Can’t remember what it was. That wasn’t enough so I went out and purchased Pinot Grigio. The only Pinot Grigio I could find at Walgreens came in a box. What the heck, at that point we needed less than a half-gallon. As we both figured that we would end up pouring the wine down the drain we did not want to use a really good wine to top off the carboy. No, we do not normally shop for wine at Walgreens. Six months later we tasted the wine. We were both surprised that it tasted decent.

Our Whatever White has a mild pear and even a green apple taste to it. It’s not as acidic as a typical Pinot Grigio the flavor, by my palate, it is slightly sweet. I find it to be refreshing.

In a prior blog I wrote about all the mistakes that we made when making the Amarone Classico. We called it Raven Red. Despite all the mistakes we made we both believe that it tastes great. We decided that we liked it so much that we would make it again. We did. As noted above, this version we call Boxcar Red. Not knowing how to make the same mistakes that we had made in the prior batch, we followed the directions to the “T”. As you might suspect, it does not taste as good as the Raven Red. Go figure. I’m not saying that it’s bad. As I said, it’s good. It just doesn’t have the full-bodied richness as the Raven Red. Nor does it have the same alcohol content.

Our Raven Red Amarone wine has a medium to high acidity balanced with high alcohol content which is typical of many Amarone wines. To my palate, the flavors of black cherry and chocolate are distinct. Black cherry being the dominant flavor. Our Boxcar Red Amarone is not as bold, nor does it have the same alcohol content. It does have the black cherry and chocolate flavor but not as pronounced as the Raven Red.

Wendy took pictures of our bottling operation. When I was sanitizing the bottles she told me to hold in my stomach. I said that I was. The following are a few photos of the bottling effort. You will note that we now have a 50 bottle drying rack with bottle sanitizer. The bottle sanitizer squirts a solution of potasium metabisulfate into the bottle. No rinsing required.

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