Homemade Cahors Wine

In Russia Cahors is considered to be a fortified sweet wine of dark-ruby color which is used during ceremonies by the Russian Orthodox Church. Cahors differs from other wines in the must heat-treatment, high content of sugar (6.3 oz / 180 gr per 0.25 gal / 1 liter) and alcohol (16%). I advise beginner winemakers to make a homemade Cahors wine following a tested recipe. You’ll end up with Cahors which is as good as a store-bought one. Only red grape with high sugar content is suitable for making Cahors. “Saperavi”, “Cabernet”, “Moldova”, “Bulanyi”, and “Merlot” are the best varieties because they add a distinctive ruby color to the beverage. Homemade Cahors can be made from red sorts, which grow in the country. For example, “Isabella”, “Regent” or “Lydia” but on the final stage you’ll have to add more sugar. The crucial thing is that chosen berries should be ripe and fresh.   Ingredients

  • Red grapes – 11 lb / 5 kg
  • Sugar – 21 oz / 600 gr + 5.2 oz / 150 gr for 0.25 gal / 1 liter of juice
  • Wine Yeast or Raisins – 3.5 oz / 100 gr
  • Spirit 90° – 0.13 gal / 500 ml (not necessary)

Cahors Wine Recipe

  1. Sort out the grapes, leaving out the stems, unripe and tainted fruits.
  1. Crush berries with your hands or a wooden rolling pin.
  1. Place the pulp with the juice into a clean enamel pot.
  1. Warm up the must on low heat under 140-150°F / 60-65°C and simmer it for 3 hours, maintaining mentioned temperature.
  1. Remove the pot from the stove and cool its contents to 75-82F° / 25-28°C.
  2. Add wine yeast or use raisins which act as natural yeasts, mix it well (with clean hands or a wooden spoon), cover the bottleneck with several layers of cheesecloth and move it to a dark place with a temperature of 65-74F° / 18-23°C. Stir it once a day, knocking down the upper layer of grapes peels and pulp.
  3. After 3-4 days if you see the signs of fermentation (hissing sound, sour smell), filter the must through cheesecloth. Squeeze the pulp (the solid part) with your hands or a press.
  1. Filter the fermented juice through cheesecloth once again, dissolve 21 oz / 600 grams of sugar in it, and pour it into a fermentation container and install airlock.
  1. Leave the container in a room with a temperature of 71-83F° / 22-28°C.

    cahors wine with air lock
    cahors wine with homemade air lock
  1. After 3 days add 1.8 oz / 50 grams of sugar per 0.25 gal / 1 liter of the juice. In order to do this you’ll have to remove airlock, pour 0.12-0.25 gal / 0.5-1 liter of juice and dissolve sugar in it, pour the syrup back into the bottle, stir it well and then put the airlock back on.Repeat the sugar adding procedure with same proportions on the 7th and 10th day of fermentation.
  1. After 7-10 days after the last addition of sugar when the fermentation stops (the airlock is not bubbling and there’s a loose sediment at the bottom) carefully pour the new Cahors wine through a straw into another container while not touching the sediment at the bottom.
  2. Taste the beverage in order to evaluate its body and sweetness. If necessary, add spirit (not more that 20% of wines volume) and sugar or sweeteners accordingly to your taste. Leave it for one day in a dark place.
  1. Filter homemade Cahors wine through a cotton-gauze filter put it back into the container and leave the wine in a cellar for 30-45 days of clarification.
  1. Remove from the sediment and bottle the wine, properly sealing it with corks. Store it horizontally in a fridge or a cellar and check every 10-15 days if it’s hermetically sealed.
Cabernet veriety cahors wine
The result from the “Cabernet” variety

P.S. Actually, Cahors is the name of a French dry red wine from the Cahors region, which was imported for the clergy needs. Under Peter I, Russia has developed its own production of the beverage, but the church wine is still called Cahors wine.

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