TO DE-STEM... OR NOT DE-STEM
THAT IS THE QUESTION!
Whole cluster wine making has been around for ages...literally centuries.
ALL wine was made in some form of
whole cluster before the modern
destemming machine was developed.
So why wouldn't every winemaker choose
whole cluster fermentation?
It is a matter of desired flavor components.
Whole cluster wine can present
more "stemmy/green" or tannic.
Also very important-
this one question changes
the entire winemaking process.
RISKY AND LABOR-INTENSIVE
If a winemaker chooses to incorporate whole cluster bunches into the fermentation process, he has removed a lot of quickness and ease from the experience.
No longer can he use a mechanized
stainless steel punch down.
Breaking the skin cap
on top of the fermentation tank,
and pumping the bottom juice over extracts
a more even amount of flavor and tannins.
Now this has to be done by hand
and with gravity flow.
Temperature control is more critical to the
process when using whole clusters.
A stable cold environment
prevents the wine from developing bacteria
or spontaneous carbonic maceration.
Careful to not allow too much stem contact. The potassium found in the stems absorbs acidity and
NO ONE wants a flabby wine.
Whole clusters may add
layers to the wine,
but it DEFINITELY adds
complexity to the fermentation.
The two wines shown here are examples of
100% whole cluster fermentation
Winemaker James Hall decided to use
100% whole cluster fermentation in this 2017 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
It's a home run!
It is full of dark raspberry,
blueberry fruit on the forward.
The mid-palate explores more bramble, pomegranate notes. The finish is long, and showcases the cluster backbone of tilled dirt and dried herbs.
Drink now, or cellar.
$45.99 / bottle
How does whole cluster fermentation
affect white wines?
Let this Calera Chardonnay
tell you all of its secrets.
Aspiring to make a
this white is 100% whole clustered,
barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermented, and aged in 10% new oak barrels.
What does this create?
A gentle giant of caramel apple, baked pear, and nutty notes all the while supported
by surprising acidity.
Don't let the 2015 vintage fool you.
This wine is still evolving.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING OUR LATEST INSTALLMENT
OF SOMM WINES TASTING JOURNAL.