"Domenic's Gold Medal Sherry
was provided by Domenic Carestti. He gave
presentation to the (AWS) Home Winemaking Seminar in Rochester NY several years ago.
It was also given to me verbally by T Cefali. I could not write
enough! Thank you, both!
To make a
sherry one needs
Add tons of cane sugar
and bake and oxidize
Sherry is a fortified wine that has been heat treated
You can take a wine that did not turn out to your
liking and turn it into a decent
All you need are an aquarium pump to oxygenate the
wine, a 40-100 watt
light bulb/fixture for heat, a thermometer, rheostat and an insulated enclosure
(dead refrigerator) plus cane sugar and a low cost, high proof DRY spirit
like vodka, gin or brandy. Your fortifying alcohol should be neutral, as the
baking process will destroy most flavors. Baking temperatures should be
between 90 to 110 degrees F. for 2-3 weeks or less depending on the recipe.
Flavoring extracts such as vanilla, hazelnut, etc. can be added after baking.
90% white wine
WHITE WINE SPECIFICATIONS:
Alcohol: 11.0-13.0 %
Brix: -2.0 to -1.0 g/100 ml with hydrometer (bone dry)
Total Acid: 0.65-0.75 g/100 ml as tartaric (TA)
Varieties that work best: any low pH/high acid
white. Can also use
Catawba 100% as long as it has some pink tint. You need a light pink color
so the end color after baking is a pale amber. (Remember, this
Domenic Carestti speaking
and writing) I would also use any white wine that is old
or oxidized or has any off odor except for vinegar.
Favorite varieties are Niagara, Catawba, Early concord (cold pressed).
RED WINE SPECIFICATIONS:
Brix: -2.5 to -1.5 g/100 ml with hydrometer
Total Acid: 0.66-0.75 (TA)
Color: medium red (do not use a dark red)
Varieties that work best: Concord is the best
variety for making sherry.
You can also use any red wine that is old or oxidized or has an off odor,
except for vinegar.
Lot Size: Blend up to 3.5 gallons of base wine
only, in a 5 gallon glass or
stainless container. Do not use plastic
containers. Other ingredients
are added to make the volume up to 4.0 gallons.
Sugar: Cane sugar must be added to the base wine because as the
bakes, the sugar caramelizes which creates the nutty, sherry character as
well as turning the color brown.
For the dry sherry, you need 5% sugar or 5
grams of cane sugar
for every 100 mls of wine. For every gallon of base wine,
add 50 grams of cane sugar.
Brandy: A source of alcohol needs to be added to
the base wine mixture in addition to the sugar. If you have access to grape spirits in
the 190° proof range, which is 95% alcohol, use the following chart to adjust the alcohol to
19.0-20.0% (sherry) for every gallon of base wine:
Alcohol of base wine
Alcohol of spirits
Spirits to add/gallon
In the absence of grape spirits, use any store purchased 80
proof spirits (40% alcohol). Purchase the least expensive brand because any flavor will be
baked out during the process.
|Alcohol of base wine
||Spirits to add/gallon
Process: Mix the wine, sugar, and spirits in accordance with the above charts in the 5.0
gallon container. The process assumes that you have access to a sherry baking system.
Bake the mixture at 90-110°F (in the presence of high wattage
lamps) while at the same time allowing air (using an aquarium pump) to enter into the bottom of
the container continuously. You will need to let this process continue 24 hrs/day for at
least two weeks. The sherry is completely baked when any pink color reverts to a light
amber color and the flavor tastes like sherry or oxidized wine.
Fining: The secret to sherry made by this process is in the
fining. After the sherry completes the baking process, while it is still warm, stop the
aquarium pump but leave the heat lamp on. You will need to have purchased gelatin,
tannin, and bentonite.
Tannin/Gelatin: Take out 2 separate 100 ml
samples of the dry sherry wine and heat one 100 ml sample to a rolling boil. Add 2.3
grams of tannin and stir to dissolve in that 100 ml sample. Then add 4.5 grams of
gelatin and stir to dissolve into the same 100 ml
sample. Add the 100 ml sample with the dissolved tannin and gelatin back to the 5 gallon
dry sherry container and allow to settle for 24 hours. Leave the heat lamp on.
Bentonite: Mix 5.0 grams of bentonite
granules into the 2nd 100 ml sample of dry
sherry. Allow to sit for 24 hours. This will form a thick slurry when it is done.
After 24 hours, pour the entire 100 ml
slurry into the top of the 5 gallons of sherry. Allow it
to settle on its own. You can now turn off
the heat lamp.
Racking: When the bentonite is completely
packed down, you can rack the sherry and/or filter it into another container. Taste for
SO2 addition: After racking or filtering, add the equivalent of 30 ppm sulfur dioxide to
the 5 gallons of racked sherry. The SO2 helps to bind any undesirable pigments
remaining in the sherry and helps keep the sherry fresh.
Wood/Bottle Age: The sherry is ready to
drink immediately after fining or filtering. For a smoother sherry, you can bottle it and store
it in the bottle in a cool area for an indefinite period of time. Sherry gets better the
longer it ages in the bottle.
If you have a small oak barrel (3-5
gallons), you can age it in the oak barrel. You can also add some oak complexity in the
absence of a barrel by making an oak extract.
Oak Extract: Obtain 25 grams of oak chips
from your home winemaking shop. Add these chips to 200 mls of the finished sherry wine
and allow the chips to soak in the wine for 72 hours.
After 72 hours, drain the wine through a
sieve (a household strainer will do) and collect the wine. Discard the spent
Add 100 mls of the oak infused liquid back
into the 5 gallon lot of sherry. If more flavor is desired, add the entire 200 mls of oak
extract into the sherry.
Serving: Serve dry sherry ice cold. It’s a
great appetizer wine. The finished color should be a pale amber, almost like an oxidized
white wine. Flavor should be slightly tart but not overly tart.
Everything you need to make cream sherry is
identical to making dry sherry with three exceptions:
1. The base wine is 100% red
wine. Use any old red wine that is dark in color (like port wine
2. The total acidity of the red wine should be in the 0.45-0.55
3. The amount of sugar to add before baking is: 500 grams for every gallon
of wine to be baked.
Alcohol additions are the same per above as is baking, fining,
racking, and aging.
If you bake the cream sherry base for about 5 days, just to turn
the color a little brown, you will have a nice Tawny
"Port". Follow the same fining directions as
above. Try a Concord for this process.
Otherwise, bake the cream sherry base for 2-3 weeks.
A medium sweet
sherry can be made by blending 50% white wine with 50% red
wine and adding 300 grams of cane sugar for every gallon of wine to be baked. Everything the
else is the same as the dry sherry processing.
OR If you make both dry and cream sherry, you can make
medium sweet sherry by blending dry and cream sherry 50/50.
Domenic likes to serve cream sherry over vanilla ice cream and it
is great on chocolate ice cream, too!