Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by David C Breed » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00



Hi Folks,

I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
about it than he is.  Actually, I'm pretty annoyed.  It pisses me off
that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should.  It doesn't hurt them
any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then).  Okay, anyway, got
that off my chest.

I'm not a big fan of Rose', so I'm going to go ahead and try make my
normal red Bordeaux blend:  38% really underripe Merlot, 38% extremely
underripe Chardonnay, 24% totally unacceptably underripe Cab sauv (I'm
guessing the quality of the Cab sauv here, but it's a pretty good
bet).  I've got the Merlot and Cab sauv in the freezer, and when I get
the Cab sauv next weekend, I'm going to crush and ferment them
together.  Instead of pressing right off the skins and making a rose,
my plan is to ferment as per usual, but, as per instructions from
Thomas Henick-Kling of the Geneva Experiment Station, go for high
heat.  I'm going to try to keep it at 90-95F for three or four days of
fermentation, and then, depending on taste, heat it to 130-140F for a
couple of hours before pressing. His claim, and my limited experience,
is that heating in this way will reduce/eliminate the grassy, green
vegetative flavor associated with underripe reds.

Given the high acidity on this must, and my desire for MLF, I'm also
going to knock the acidity back a lot.  It's currently at 2.93 or so
pH, TA around 10 g/L, so I'm planning to knock it back 2.5 g/L.  I'm
planning to chaptalize from its current 19 Brix to 23 Brix.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this plan, or
alternative plans?  Thanks for any suggestions.

Dave
****************************************************************************

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by edkootzaol.co » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
> Hi Folks,

> I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
> about it than he is.  Actually, I'm pretty annoyed.  It pisses me off
> that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
> harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should.  It doesn't hurt them
> any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
> the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
> grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then).  Okay, anyway, got
> that off my chest.

> I'm not a big fan of Rose', so I'm going to go ahead and try make my
> normal red Bordeaux blend:  38% really underripe Merlot, 38% extremely
> underripe Chardonnay, 24% totally unacceptably underripe Cab sauv (I'm
> guessing the quality of the Cab sauv here, but it's a pretty good
> bet).  I've got the Merlot and Cab sauv in the freezer, and when I get
> the Cab sauv next weekend, I'm going to crush and ferment them
> together.  Instead of pressing right off the skins and making a rose,
> my plan is to ferment as per usual, but, as per instructions from
> Thomas Henick-Kling of the Geneva Experiment Station, go for high
> heat.  I'm going to try to keep it at 90-95F for three or four days of
> fermentation, and then, depending on taste, heat it to 130-140F for a
> couple of hours before pressing. His claim, and my limited experience,
> is that heating in this way will reduce/eliminate the grassy, green
> vegetative flavor associated with underripe reds.

> Given the high acidity on this must, and my desire for MLF, I'm also
> going to knock the acidity back a lot.  It's currently at 2.93 or so
> pH, TA around 10 g/L, so I'm planning to knock it back 2.5 g/L.  I'm
> planning to chaptalize from its current 19 Brix to 23 Brix.

> Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this plan, or
> alternative plans?  Thanks for any suggestions.

> Dave

I think the method in Bordeaux is to ferment the different varieties
separately, as they ripen, and then blend them ("assemblage") next
spring through a series of trials.  Each year a different percentage of
each variety in the blend will make the best wine, so they wait and see
how they turn out.

I agree with your comments about growers and how they pick when the
fruit is perfectly underripe and healthy.  I've gotten around this by
specifying in the spring of each year that I will have the final say in
the picking decision since I am buying the fruit and am responsible, in
the long run, for the wine quality.  When it's agreed upon that far in
advance, I haven't heard any objections.  When I've tried to make this
arrangement in August or September, I've found some tough resistance.

I have very limited experience with deacidification, since I'm making
wine in California and we usually have to add acid (except in 98 and
99), but I've heard that removing more than 1.3 g/L of acid can cause
the wine to have a very high rise in pH.  In your case, that may not be
such a bad thing, but I suggest taking out a gram, maybe 1.25, and then
seeing what your pH rise is.

Also, I have heard that not adding SO2 prefermentation, having a hot
fermentation with an extended  post fermentation maceration period (up
to 30 days) can do wonders for reducing vegetal flavors in Cab.  I've
never heard of heating the fermented must to 130F.  I would think you'd
get some cooked flavors in there, but then again, I have no experience
with fruit getting above 104F.

Good luck,

EdK
************************************************************************
****

Quote:
> Dave Breeden


Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by MnSR » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
> I've got the Merlot and Cab sauv in the freezer, and when I get
>the Cab sauv next weekend, I'm going to crush and ferment them
>together.  Instead of pressing right off the skins and making a rose,
>my plan is to ferment as per usual, but, as per instructions from
>Thomas Henick-Kling of the Geneva Experiment Station, go for high
>heat.  I'm going to try to keep it at 90-95F for three or four days of
>fermentation, and then, depending on taste, heat it to 130-140F for a
>couple of hours before pressing. His claim, and my limited experience,
>is that heating in this way will reduce/eliminate the grassy, green
>vegetative flavor associated with underripe reds.

Hi Dave:

Last year I peaked my Maryland Cabernet Franc at 88 degrees F and Cabernet
Sauvignon at 93 degrees in an attempt to avoid the vegetal notes that you
mention.  The Franc came in at 19.5 brix and the Cabernet S at 20.5.  I also
completely destemmed and used Lalvin 71-B.  Both went through MLF.  

It looks as though it worked well -- I won't bottle until next year, but thus
far, there are no green flavors to speak of.  The color extraction on the CS
was good, but the CF was light.  I did have some high pH problems after
fermentation with the CS.

This year I am also working with some underripe Maryland Cabernet Sauvignon and
will follow the same regimen, except with the following modifications:  After
crushing but before innoculation, I macerated on the skins in a walk-in
refrigerator for 13 days, and used Rapidase Ex Color Powder.  I just
innoculated with Pasteur Red last night, but already the juice is an intensely
deep eggplant color, with no vegetal flavors or harsh tannins.  I wouldn't say
my hopes are high for this batch, but I'm alot more optomistic than when I
started.  Good luck!
Salud,
Martin J. Crane

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by David C Breed » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:

>> Hi Folks,

>> I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
>> about it than he is.  Actually, I'm pretty annoyed.  It pisses me off
>> that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
>> harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should.  It doesn't hurt them
>> any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
>> the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
>> grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then).  Okay, anyway, got
>> that off my chest.

>> I'm not a big fan of Rose', so I'm going to go ahead and try make my
>> normal red Bordeaux blend:  38% really underripe Merlot, 38% extremely
>> underripe Chardonnay, 24% totally unacceptably underripe Cab sauv (I'm
>> guessing the quality of the Cab sauv here, but it's a pretty good
>> bet).  I've got the Merlot and Cab sauv in the freezer, and when I get
>> the Cab sauv next weekend, I'm going to crush and ferment them
>> together.  Instead of pressing right off the skins and making a rose,
>> my plan is to ferment as per usual, but, as per instructions from
>> Thomas Henick-Kling of the Geneva Experiment Station, go for high
>> heat.  I'm going to try to keep it at 90-95F for three or four days of
>> fermentation, and then, depending on taste, heat it to 130-140F for a
>> couple of hours before pressing. His claim, and my limited experience,
>> is that heating in this way will reduce/eliminate the grassy, green
>> vegetative flavor associated with underripe reds.

>> Given the high acidity on this must, and my desire for MLF, I'm also
>> going to knock the acidity back a lot.  It's currently at 2.93 or so
>> pH, TA around 10 g/L, so I'm planning to knock it back 2.5 g/L.  I'm
>> planning to chaptalize from its current 19 Brix to 23 Brix.

>> Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this plan, or
>> alternative plans?  Thanks for any suggestions.

>> Dave
>I think the method in Bordeaux is to ferment the different varieties
>separately, as they ripen, and then blend them ("assemblage") next
>spring through a series of trials.  Each year a different percentage of
>each variety in the blend will make the best wine, so they wait and see
>how they turn out.

Hi Ed,

Sorry about that.  I should have specified that I blend pre-fermentation
because, generally, I can't afford to buy enough grapes and containers
for three separate fermentations, and am not willing to commit to a
single varietal of Finger Lakes red grapes.  My usual hope is that at
least one varietal of the three I blend will be of good enough quality
to make up for deficiencies in the other two.  No such luck this
year from this grower.

Quote:
>I agree with your comments about growers and how they pick when the
>fruit is perfectly underripe and healthy.  I've gotten around this by
>specifying in the spring of each year that I will have the final say in
>the picking decision since I am buying the fruit and am responsible, in
>the long run, for the wine quality.  When it's agreed upon that far in
>advance, I haven't heard any objections.  When I've tried to make this
>arrangement in August or September, I've found some tough resistance.

Yeah.  Out here, it's a sellers' market.  And in the tiny amounts I
buy for home wine production, no one cares what I want.  I've heard
that there's quite the glut this year in California this year though.  
Maybe you'll have more luck in future years.

Quote:
>I have very limited experience with deacidification, since I'm making
>wine in California and we usually have to add acid (except in 98 and
>99), but I've heard that removing more than 1.3 g/L of acid can cause
>the wine to have a very high rise in pH.  In your case, that may not be
>such a bad thing, but I suggest taking out a gram, maybe 1.25, and then
>seeing what your pH rise is.

Good idea.  I'll do that.

Quote:
>Also, I have heard that not adding SO2 prefermentation, having a hot
>fermentation with an extended  post fermentation maceration period (up
>to 30 days) can do wonders for reducing vegetal flavors in Cab.  I've
>never heard of heating the fermented must to 130F.  I would think you'd
>get some cooked flavors in there, but then again, I have no experience
>with fruit getting above 104F.

I wasn't planning to add SO2 until after the MLF is finished (after
all, it's not like any mold is going to grow on these little rock-like
marbles they picked).  And yeah, 130 may be too high.  I'll see how it
goes.  Heck, I'll probably end up with cooked (roasted) green pepper
flavors.  :-)

Thanks for your suggestions.

Dave

Quote:
>Good luck,
>EdK

****************************************************************************

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by David C Breed » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:

>> I've got the Merlot and Cab sauv in the freezer, and when I get
>>the Cab sauv next weekend, I'm going to crush and ferment them
>>together.  Instead of pressing right off the skins and making a rose,
>>my plan is to ferment as per usual, but, as per instructions from
>>Thomas Henick-Kling of the Geneva Experiment Station, go for high
>>heat.  I'm going to try to keep it at 90-95F for three or four days of
>>fermentation, and then, depending on taste, heat it to 130-140F for a
>>couple of hours before pressing. His claim, and my limited experience,
>>is that heating in this way will reduce/eliminate the grassy, green
>>vegetative flavor associated with underripe reds.

>Hi Dave:
>Last year I peaked my Maryland Cabernet Franc at 88 degrees F and Cabernet
>Sauvignon at 93 degrees in an attempt to avoid the vegetal notes that you
>mention.  The Franc came in at 19.5 brix and the Cabernet S at 20.5.  I also
>completely destemmed and used Lalvin 71-B.  Both went through MLF.  
>It looks as though it worked well -- I won't bottle until next year, but thus
>far, there are no green flavors to speak of.  The color extraction on the CS
>was good, but the CF was light.  I did have some high pH problems after
>fermentation with the CS.
>This year I am also working with some underripe Maryland Cabernet Sauvignon and
>will follow the same regimen, except with the following modifications:  After
>crushing but before innoculation, I macerated on the skins in a walk-in
>refrigerator for 13 days, and used Rapidase Ex Color Powder.  I just
>innoculated with Pasteur Red last night, but already the juice is an intensely
>deep eggplant color, with no vegetal flavors or harsh tannins.  I wouldn't say
>my hopes are high for this batch, but I'm alot more optomistic than when I
>started.  Good luck!
>Salud,
>Martin J. Crane

Hi Martin,

Interesting!  I'd have thought that an extended cold maceration on the
skins would have increased the vegetative flavor.  That wasn't the
case?  That is, did you have veggie flavors to start with?  If so, and
if they diminised during maceration, maybe I should try that as well.

Dave
****************************************************************************

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by SchlossGois » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00




Quote:
> ...snip...
> Given the high acidity on this must, and my desire for MLF, I'm also
> going to knock the acidity back a lot.  It's currently at 2.93 or so
> pH, TA around 10 g/L, so I'm planning to knock it back 2.5 g/L.  I'm
> planning to chaptalize from its current 19 Brix to 23 Brix.

> Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on this plan, or
> alternative plans?  Thanks for any suggestions.

---------------------------

Hi Dave:

As you probably know by now I am not a big fan of chemical deacidification.

However, I agree that you really should send the wine through a MLF.  When
the fruit is that unripe, it usually has lots of malic acid in it.

I would probably not deacidify on the front end with a TA of 10g/L.  OTOH,
the 2.93 pH is very worrysome with respect to the MLF.

Hence, I would Chaptalize to 23 right after the crush, return as many ripe
stems as you can to the vat, & ferment warm (peaking at 95F [35C] at the end
of fermentation).

Just before pressing, try to draw off a homogenous sample of juice & degass
it for a pH reading.  If your in the acceptable range for ML, inoculate &
proceed.

After MLF & cold stabilization taste the wine & measure acid/pH.  If it
needs additional reduction at that time, either blending or deacidification
can be considered.

Finally, you might want to consider blending the must, at the crush, with
either some Lodi fruit or juice, or with some overhydrated Alexander's red
concentrate.  Both of these will help to reduce the acid.

Good luck.  Let us know what you decide & how things turn out.

Prosit:
Ed
--
The Viticulture FAQ & Glossary - http://www.itsmysite.com/vitfaq

          "I like on the table, when we're speaking,
           The light of a bottle of intelligent wine."
                              -Pablo Neruda

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by MnSR » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
>Hi Martin,

>Interesting!  I'd have thought that an extended cold maceration on the
>skins would have increased the vegetative flavor.  That wasn't the
>case?  That is, did you have veggie flavors to start with?  If so, and
>if they diminised during maceration, maybe I should try that as well.

>Dave

Hi Dave:

I don't have the most refined palate, but I didn't detect any vegetal notes
during the crush.  I wasn't reassured by this, however, because that green
character pervades almost every finished commercial red wine made here (and in
***ia), and they use the same grapes that I do.  The pre-ferment maceration
definitely didn't add any vegetal tastes, though, nor is the must overly
tannic.

Salud,
Martin J. Crane

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by MnSR » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:
>This year I am also working with some underripe Maryland Cabernet Sauvignon

Dave:

Before you make any decisions based on my experience, I forgot to point out
that, although my brix levels were very low (18.5 - 19) I'm not faced with the
same acid problems that you are.  After maceration, my pH was 3.49 and TA 8.7
(subject to revision after retesting with fresh NAOH solution).

Sorry about the oversight.

Salud,
Martin J. Crane

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by Tom » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00




Quote:

> Hi Folks,

> I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
> about it than he is.  Actually, I'm pretty annoyed.  It pisses me off
> that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
> harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should.  It doesn't hurt them
> any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
> the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
> grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then).

You certainly have my sympathies on this matter.  My winemaking experience
began in 1982, with four lots of uniformly underripe frozen grape from
"Berkely Wine & the People".  It was a crummy year all around, with early
rains threatening the crop (and ruining some of it).

I learned that year to go directly to the farmers - not a middle man.  I
haven't gone back since, although I have heard that his stuff has at least
gotten better - as well as *much* more expen$ive.  :-(

One thing, though:  Some farmers charge for "points" over an arbitrary Brix
that they deem minimally acceptable.  That's how they cover their risk due
to weather and losses to birds.  I have no problem with that.

Tom S

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by SchlossGois » Wed, 18 Oct 2000 04:00:00




Quote:
> Hi Folks,

> I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
> about it than he is.  Actually, I'm pretty annoyed.  It pisses me off
> that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
> harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should.  It doesn't hurt them
> any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
> the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
> grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then).  ...snip...

--------------------------

Hi All:

I am strongly considering adding the following alternative definition to my
Viticulture Glossary:

GRAPE RIPENESS:  Viticultural term referring to the equilibrium which is
achieved & maintained between the anxiety of the grape grower & the
expectations of the winemaker.

:-)

Prosit:
Ed
--
The Viticulture FAQ & Glossary - http://www.itsmysite.com/vitfaq

          "I like on the table, when we're speaking,
           The light of a bottle of intelligent wine."
                              -Pablo Neruda

 
 
 

Fermenting Underripe Vinifera Reds

Post by David C Breed » Thu, 19 Oct 2000 04:00:00


Quote:



>> Hi Folks,

>> I got the same Cab franc that Kirk got, but I'm much less sanguine
>> about it than he is.  Actually, I'm pretty annoyed.  It pisses me off
>> that growers are taking perfectly good fruit and ruining it by
>> harvesting it 2 or 3 weeks before they should.  It doesn't hurt them
>> any (they get the same price per pound no matter WHAT the condition of
>> the fruit is--heck, if they could get the highest total weight of
>> grapes at 12 Brix, I'm sure they'd harvest then).
>You certainly have my sympathies on this matter.  My winemaking experience
>began in 1982, with four lots of uniformly underripe frozen grape from
>"Berkely Wine & the People".  It was a crummy year all around, with early
>rains threatening the crop (and ruining some of it).
>I learned that year to go directly to the farmers - not a middle man.  I
>haven't gone back since, although I have heard that his stuff has at least
>gotten better - as well as *much* more expen$ive.  :-(
>One thing, though:  Some farmers charge for "points" over an arbitrary Brix
>that they deem minimally acceptable.  That's how they cover their risk due
>to weather and losses to birds.  I have no problem with that.
>Tom S

Yep, I actually think that'd be great:  a base price, plus a bonus for
every point over an agreed upon Brix value.  Maybe $100 per ton for
every point over 20, or something like that.

Anyway, for my home production, I buy in such tiny amounts that I
don't think I'd have much luck with farmers.  Ther other problem is
that I tend to be very, very busy at the winery just about then, so
need to be able to deal with established procedures and vendors for my
home buying.

And part of my problem is that I'm paying totally premium prices for
shitty fruit--if it were per ton, it'd be over $3000 a ton.  Granted,
there has to be markup for selling by the lug rather than the ton, but
I'm beginning to feel taken advantage of.

Anyway, I was having a talk with my winery boss on a totally unrelated
subject, and we ended up talking about how big a mistake it is to try
to force a wine to be something it's not.  I started thinking about
that, and about Ed's (and others) advice to listen to the wine/grapes,
and about Kirk's decision to make a rose', and I've decided that
that's my best bet.  I'm going to ferment with 71B, and, per Ed's
instructions, de-acidify only at the end of fermentation, if necessary.
I won't add stems back, becasue they're all bright green, and I'm sure
unripe.  I'm still going to try to keep the fermentaiton fairly warm,
but won't try for over 90F or so.

Thasnks for everybody's advice and sympathies!  I am very grateful.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Dave

****************************************************************************