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Old 01-21-2011, 11:40 PM   #1
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Location: Eureka, MT
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Default Elderberry wine with unripe/green flavors

I just tasted my late Sept elderberry wine. It's fermented out to .998, has a beautiful hot mauve color & that oh-so-distinctive elderberry scent. It's very dry & pretty puckery, but in a different way than just tart. I'm getting those neat "raw green pepper" tastes in the middle. I'm know for a fact some of my berries were not perfectly ripe, so I'm not shocked.
I did add a little bit of sugar to the sample after the first few sips, which dialed back the plain old tart acidity to an acceptable but still enjoyable level. I could stabilize and sweeten slightly, and probably will, but that isn't going going to take care of that astringent component.
This is still a young batch so it will be getting more time, but not sure if these are tannins that just need, oh, 3 more years to soften, or something else.
Are elderberries known for having too much malic acid? I have a packet of malo-lactic culture, but not sure if it will do anything, as the stuff is pretty well done fermenting. I assume the culture would have to have something to eat to do all that processing? I could add more sugar with the culture I suppose if the hive mind thinks I have a malic acid issue, but I don't want to bump up the booze much, I feel like it's pretty balanced where it's at, and fusel-y alcohols are my pet peeve.
I could also blend with other batches. I have a cherry wine coming up, but only have sweet cherries, so it might benefit from some of the prominent acidity this has. There's a cider in the pipeline too though that doesn't really sound awesome to me.
I've got some oak chips but not sure they go with the lively/fruit profile I've got here...they're definitely going in the cherry though.
Suggestions appreciated! Thanks all.

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