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When To Harvest Pinot Noir?


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#1 East wind pinot

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 10:50 PM

I have a small Pinot Noir vineyard planted mostly with (Dijon clones) Last year I harvested at 25 brix, adjusted the acid and cold soaked for 5 days. I then fermented on the skins for 7 days and pressed. What I ended up with was almost a rose in color and light to medium in body. How do these "cult" wine makers end up with so much color and body? Do they let the fruit hang to 27 brix and then dilute the must with water? This year I'd like to make a more full bodied red wine.
Any help would be appreciated.

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#2 Curt

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 05:37 AM

EWV,
Did you use the normal dose of pectinase or any other enzyme to aid extraction?

what's brewing; 6gal local plum  6gal strawberry/rhubarb  6gal pinot noir  6gal blueberry/grape  6gal old vine zin  9gal local apple


#3 NorthernWiner

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 06:08 AM

Well, I've seen a few Pinots that look suspiciously too dark. IMO, good Pinot Noir is not a dark full-bodied wine -- but it is full of flavor.

What temperature did you ferment at? The reason I ask is because I had the same problem with Zinfandel the year before last. I had fermented at ambient temperature and it never did get as dark as I would've liked (flavor was great, though). Last year, in addition to the cold soak, I kept the temperature up for 2-3 days at 80-85 degrees F. I also did more frequent punch downs for the first few days; every 2 hours when I could. It made a big difference. My '06 Zin is noticeably darker than the '05.

This year I'm going to try adding some enzymes into the mix.

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#4 Prospero

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 06:54 AM

I'm going to do my first pinot this fall and arranged to purchase 700 lbs. for my 30 gallon barrel. My plan is to bleed off 5 gallons of juice from the must for a Rose. I'm also considering adding some OptiRed but haven't heard much about it other than the description on the Lallemand website.
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#5 Seb

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Posted 02 August 2007 - 07:03 AM

QUOTE (East wind pinot @ Aug 1 2007, 11:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
This year I'd like to make a more full bodied red wine.
Any help would be appreciated.

Try to use enzyme during the cold soak like Color X or Color Pro. Also, add some Tannin VR Supra near the end of your cold soak period to fix the color. Add some Opti-Red or Booster Red during the fermentation and punch down 3-5 times per day. Ferment really warm with a peak of 30-32 C for 48hrs. Ideally blend 5% of a dark colored grapes like Petite Syrah ( many commercial Pinot are done like this ) to deepen the color. Try to age in oak barrel to concentrate the wine.
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#6 IVAN Z

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 10:04 AM

Well by the sounds of things my pinot noir and Shiraz blend should be quite good then. I cold soaked the pinot for 24-36 hrs and added the Shiraz during the primary fermentation. I just let the fermentation do its thing. I also added (should have waited) oak cubes. I did not add any enzymes or tannin thinking the Shiraz would handle that. 23 Brix and .65 TA before Shiraz. what do you guys think? smileycheers.gif

#7 Seb

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 10:55 AM

QUOTE (IVAN Z @ Aug 3 2007, 10:36 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I also added (should have waited) oak cubes. I did not add any enzymes or tannin thinking the Shiraz would handle that. 23 Brix and .65 TA before Shiraz. what do you guys think?

Sound really nice. No problem for the oak, in fact it was a good idea on a Pinot to add them during the fermentation. This will integrate the oaky flavors more gently and can help with the color. Your numbers are really nice too.
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#8 gregorio

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 11:43 AM

QUOTE (Seb @ Aug 2 2007, 06:35 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Try to use enzyme during the cold soak like Color X or Color Pro. Also, add some Tannin VR Supra near the end of your cold soak period to fix the color. Add some Opti-Red or Booster Red during the fermentation and punch down 3-5 times per day. Ferment really warm with a peak of 30-32 C for 48hrs. Ideally blend 5% of a dark colored grapes like Petite Syrah ( many commercial Pinot are done like this ) to deepen the color. Try to age in oak barrel to concentrate the wine.


Good advice. If you do not want to dilute the wine with another varietal, add the pressed skins of a much darker grape. This is a common practice and currently a loophole in the TTB regs. We sometines add pressed Merlot skins to our Sangiovese. It adds color without any impact to the varietal characteristics of the Sangiovese. We can also call it 100% Sangiovese.

Other things to do are Saignee up to 10% and press of the skins at 5-7 Brix. Some lighter grapes lose color as alcohol rises.
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#9 lundblad

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 04:18 PM

Where is your vineyard located East Wind? And what clones do you have planted?

In my experience (I make Russian River and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir...plus a little Syrah) color in Pinot isn't important and doesn't indicate a lack of flavor. Some of my favorite Pinot's are barely darker than rose (there are plenty of dark pinot's that I love as well).

Anyways, I agree with NorthernWiner about fermentation temps. Temps above 80 degrees (F) are a big help. Using something to heat the must up is a big help...submersible fish tank heaters work really well and allow you to dial in the temp that you want. Unless you're fermenting more than a ton of grapes you'll have a hard time getting up to 80 degrees on fermentation generated heat alone.

I'd be careful with the enzymes....over extraction shows up more on pinot than other varietals.

Also, I'd avoid using Petite Sirah for blending into pinot cuz the Petite can easily dominate the pinot, even with small % adds. Syrah and pinot can work very well when blended....but you'll lose the character from your vineyard...which seems like a shame.

How does your Pinot taste?

#10 Vincent Fritzsche

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 04:21 PM

Instead of enzymes and such, I'd focus on getting the heat up in your fermentation. It will make a huge difference. And aim for skin contact time of 14 to 18 days, rather than the 12 you imply here. So pick, lightly crush, cool with dry ice, soak for some days, warm the must to 65F or so with a heat exchanger or aquarium heater (stirring to prevent hot spots), innoculate with yeast (or not), and aim for a peak cap temp of 90F or so around 48-72 hours later by keeping the fermentation room warm and/or continuing the use of an aquarium heater. You'll extract nice color and avoid excess tannin, especially with ripe grapes and seeds. And you should easily get 14 days contact time, perhaps more if you draw out the end of fermentation. Good luck.

#11 gregorio

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 04:52 PM

QUOTE (Vincent Fritzsche @ Aug 3 2007, 03:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Instead of enzymes and such, I'd focus on getting the heat up in your fermentation. It will make a huge difference. And aim for skin contact time of 14 to 18 days, rather than the 12 you imply here. So pick, lightly crush, cool with dry ice, soak for some days, warm the must to 65F or so with a heat exchanger or aquarium heater (stirring to prevent hot spots), innoculate with yeast (or not), and aim for a peak cap temp of 90F or so around 48-72 hours later by keeping the fermentation room warm and/or continuing the use of an aquarium heater. You'll extract nice color and avoid excess tannin, especially with ripe grapes and seeds. And you should easily get 14 days contact time, perhaps more if you draw out the end of fermentation. Good luck.


Do you see color loss with extended contact on the back end of the ferment? One of the biggest Pinot producers in Santa Cruz Mountains indicated that they are getting better color if the get the contact time on the front end via cold soak and shorten the ferment. They are pressing between 6-8 Brix.

We are going to follow that plan this year on both Pinot and Sangiovese which is also notorioulsy light in color. It doesn't make it a bad tasting wine but public peception is pretty ignorant these days.
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#12 Seb

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 09:22 AM

QUOTE (Vincent Fritzsche @ Aug 3 2007, 04:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
You'll extract nice color and avoid excess tannin, especially with ripe grapes and seeds. And you should easily get 14 days contact time, perhaps more if you draw out the end of fermentation. Good luck.

I do not agree with theses advice. 14 days macerations will not give you more color than a cold soak with 5-8 days of maceration. In fact you will certainly lose some color for the reason mention above by Gregorio. Also, I'm sorry but for the tannin extraction that's the opposite of what you say. 14 days of maceration is the best timeframe if you want excess tannin ! To avoid this you have to press before 10 days of fermentation OR continu your extended maceration to more than 21 days. Using enzymes works well in Pinot and will not do any harm, it will in fact help. The tannin VR Supra that I recommend is to help fix the color but in small quantity it will not add any noticeable tannin to the wine.
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#13 IVAN Z

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 10:06 AM

QUOTE (lundblad @ Aug 3 2007, 05:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Where is your vineyard located East Wind? And what clones do you have planted?

In my experience (I make Russian River and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir...plus a little Syrah) color in Pinot isn't important and doesn't indicate a lack of flavor. Some of my favorite Pinot's are barely darker than rose (there are plenty of dark pinot's that I love as well).

Anyways, I agree with NorthernWiner about fermentation temps. Temps above 80 degrees (F) are a big help. Using something to heat the must up is a big help...submersible fish tank heaters work really well and allow you to dial in the temp that you want. Unless you're fermenting more than a ton of grapes you'll have a hard time getting up to 80 degrees on fermentation generated heat alone.

I'd be careful with the enzymes....over extraction shows up more on pinot than other varietals.

Also, I'd avoid using Petite Sirah for blending into pinot cuz the Petite can easily dominate the pinot, even with small % adds. Syrah and pinot can work very well when blended....but you'll lose the character from your vineyard...which seems like a shame.

How does your Pinot taste?

I’m not sure if adding the Shiraz will overpower the pinot but it may. Unfortunately in the north we don’t get the long days needed for proper hang times. I try to keep the clusters on the vine until some browning of seeds but not always possible, even with a rock bed to retain the heat. Whenever my merlot comes (if it survives the winter covered) I will use this for my blend. smileytoast.gif

#14 NorthernWiner

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 11:17 AM

QUOTE (gregorio @ Aug 3 2007, 06:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
We are going to follow that plan this year on both Pinot and Sangiovese which is also notorioulsy light in color. It doesn't make it a bad tasting wine but public peception is pretty ignorant these days.

Boy you can say that again. Pinot has always been one of my favorite wines. When done right, it's full of berry and tobacco flavors. Personally I don't think it should be blended with Petite Sirah for color - it doesn't need to be blended with anything IMO. But unfortunately, these days the public seems to be under the impression that a wine has to be dark to be good.

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www.purplefoot.org


Wine a little... and you'll feel much better!


#15 IVAN Z

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 12:08 PM

QUOTE (NorthernWiner @ Aug 4 2007, 12:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Boy you can say that again. Pinot has always been one of my favorite wines. When done right, it's full of berry and tobacco flavors. Personally I don't think it should be blended with Petite Sirah for color - it doesn't need to be blended with anything IMO. But unfortunately, these days the public seems to be under the impression that a wine has to be dark to be good.

Steve would you blend pinot with merlot if the year was less then optimal for the grapes or keep the single variety at all cost. I’m not sure what will be better, I’m still experimenting with my pinot but last years harvest was a little thin and light. (Too much water around the house) and since I had a small crop of Shiraz and did not want to waste it I blended early. I haven’t opened a bottle yet but hide sight is 20/20. This year you have given me something to think about. Blend or not to blend after ageing. Any advice? smileycheers.gif




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