This morning, after determining that the yeasts we originally pitched on the Aglianico were dead, I opened a new packet of RC 212 and sprinkled it on top of the must.
By noon, there were signs if fermentation activity. After dinner, we had cap set and my son did his first punch down. Cap set is when the layer of skins and pips is clearly demarcated from the juice. CO2 produced during fermentation fills the skins and berries and lifts them to the top of the fermenting must.
Fermenting Aglianico smells like baked sugar plums and blueberries. You can smell this especially when you punch the cap down. This stirs up the wine, brings up bubbles and some foam which then lift the aromas out of the fermentation vessel.
Another interesting change that occurs as fermentation gets going is the viscosity of the must drops – it goes from a thick, soupy mix resembling a fruit smoothie to a runny consistency more resembling finished wine.