With Springtime comes unexpected weather.
Let's discuss two winning examples of
whole cluster fermentation and why it is
the perfect selection for rain delays.
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 as to not add more
astringency/herbaciousness from the stems.
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
$45.99 / bottle
$29.99 / bottle
James Hall creates a winning
Pinot Noir with this bottling.
It is full of dark fruits- raspberry/blueberry/pomegranate. Mid-palate is fresh tilled black soil. Whole cluster inclusion helps the age-ability of wines and this
Pinot Noir can be enjoyed now, or lay down for years. Its very "cluster" earthy finish shows this characteristic.
What happens when you barrel ferment 100% whole cluster fruit,
allow 100% malolactic fermentation,
and finish the wine in
10% new French oak barrels?
A GENTLE GIANT!
This 2015 has layers of caramel apple, baked pear, and toasted nuts with a surprising great amount of acidity on the finish.
Rainy weather calls for whole cluster as a warm blanket to surround yourself!
Nothing easy or frilly in these wines. They mean business and have some serious staying power.
STAY TUNED AS WE CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY IN WINE TOGETHER WITH
SOMM's TASTING JOURNAL 2021
Previous wines discussed are available to read on our
tasting blog attached to our website.
Just click on the page above.