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2020 Crush and Blends

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DPCellars

A Donkey makes my wine
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I need to stop being so cheap. I have free access to all the Pinot Noir and Cab Sauv that my little Donkey heart desires. I think I need to open the wallet up and seek a little more diversity in my grapes next year.
 

Kitchen

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80% Cab Sav and 20% Merlot blend this year.

I also have 5 lugs of Pinot Noir grapes coming in soon and was thinking about adding some Petit Syrah, but not sure. Any advice?
 

winemaker81

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I think I need to open the wallet up and seek a little more diversity in my grapes next year.
If you want diversity, sure. However,I admit that if I had free access to Pinot & Cab, I'd probably go at least a bit crazy.

I also have 5 lugs of Pinot Noir grapes coming in soon and was thinking about adding some Petit Syrah, but not sure. Any advice?
Are you doing enough Petite Sirah for a carboy, either 3 or 5 gallon? If so, ferment separately and look at blending next summer or fall.

Petite Sirah is supposed to be dark and tannic, so it will dramatically change the PInot Noir. If you want more of a Pinot Noir, go light on the Petite Sirah.

OTOH, if you're not doing enough Petite Sirah for a carboy, you may not have much choice except to do a field blend. Personally, it sounds good either way, although the final result of a field blend will be unpredictable. But it will be interesting.
 

sour_grapes

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Yeah, I can agree with @winemaker81: (to mangle a phrase), ain't not a thing wrong with making Cab and Pinot for as long as the day is long. I could do that and be happy. Diversity shmedirsity (as far as grapes go).

BTW, it is probably good that you lack opposable thumbs. Else, you would have trouble wearing right-hand boxing gloves on both of your hands! 🤣
 

sour_grapes

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On a related note, did you know that the hoof of an equine animal is the homologue of your middle finger? Amazing, but true!
 

Kitchen

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If you want diversity, sure. However,I admit that if I had free access to Pinot & Cab, I'd probably go at least a bit crazy.


Are you doing enough Petite Sirah for a carboy, either 3 or 5 gallon? If so, ferment separately and look at blending next summer or fall.

Petite Sirah is supposed to be dark and tannic, so it will dramatically change the PInot Noir. If you want more of a Pinot Noir, go light on the Petite Sirah.

OTOH, if you're not doing enough Petite Sirah for a carboy, you may not have much choice except to do a field blend. Personally, it sounds good either way, although the final result of a field blend will be unpredictable. But it will be interesting.
Thanks for the advice. I did a field blend for the Cab and Merlot, so too late on that. Shortly after writing this post, my store called me up and told they were not able to get Pinot Noir grapes from Central Valley and offered to substitute a much high quality Pinot Noir from Central Coast. They did need to charge an extra fee, but did not add in their profit margin to the upgrade, so I jumped.

So here, I will be going straight PN with a 7 day cold soak.
 

winemaker81

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80% Cab Sav and 20% Merlot blend this year
If you want the Pinot to be a Pinot, toss the Petite Sirah in the Cab/Merlot. How many lugs of Petite Sirah you making? If you get at least a 3 gallon carboy, ferment it separately and check both the Pinot and the Cab/Merlot for blending possibilities next summer. You have many choices, all should turn out fine.

As I mentioned upstream, I'm making a field blend Merlot-heavy Bordeaux blend. Nothing wrong with field blends, only the caveat that you're jumping in with both feet and you hope the water is not too shallow ....
 

Kitchen

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If you want the Pinot to be a Pinot, toss the Petite Sirah in the Cab/Merlot. How many lugs of Petite Sirah you making? If you get at least a 3 gallon carboy, ferment it separately and check both the Pinot and the Cab/Merlot for blending possibilities next summer. You have many choices, all should turn out fine.

As I mentioned upstream, I'm making a field blend Merlot-heavy Bordeaux blend. Nothing wrong with field blends, only the caveat that you're jumping in with both feet and you hope the water is not too shallow ....
Thanks, but I'm just not getting the Syrah now, only the PN (5 lugs worth). Since it is now a high quality coastal grape, I want to let the Pinot be Pinot.
 

DPCellars

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Last year, I did a 50/50 blend of Cab/Pinot. I have since learned that there are certain "rules" that dictate what is blended with what. Lucky for me, I am a Donkey and can get away with breaking those rules without too much thought. 🐴 At any rate, it turned out amazing!

The Pinot I have free access to sits on 80 acres of flat land, toward the southern end of San Joaquin County. The ground is such a fine dust, it is like stepping on talcum powder. The high heat, combined with the thin skin, sent the Brix from 18-26 in the span of 5 days this year. Last year was very similar, but not as drastic.

I know judging is VERY subjective, but last year's vintage earned a bronze at the 2020 WineMakers competition. All of the judges commented that it was a good representation of the varietal. I am a fan of Pinot and, although I may be biased to my own concoction, believe that it turned really well, despite where they were grown. That having been said, nothing beats a good central coast Pinot. If I wasn't so damn cheap, I would "pony up" some cash and attempt to make some of that!

YUM!
 

AaronSC

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Wanted to update folks on my 2020 season so far. I'm learning a lot about California grapes and being worried about dealing with low acid/high pH -never an issue in the Finger Lakes.

All my grapes are done fermenting and have been pressed and moved to storage -a combination of carboys, 9 gallon Demi-johns and 100liter/27 gallon Speidel plastic storage containers (new for me).

1) I got much better yields on red grapes than I expected. Generally 11-13 lbs per gallon. I had planned my storage based on 15-17.
2) some grapes are surprising me -my Zinfandel is great but is very dark and has lots of tannin. Not what I expected. I would almost think I picked up a different grape by mistake but the winegrower is very detail oriented and would never let the happen. I was hoping it would "tame" some of the other grapes (like Tempranillo and Mourvedre) but Mourvedre may end up taming Zin.
3) I was expecting tons of tannin from Mourvedre, but it seems less tannic than Zin. It definitely has the "beef broth" taste going on. I think I'm going to like this one. Still planning to try out a Barbera/Zin/Mourvedre blend.
4) Both Malbec and C. Franc are massively fruity compared to the others. Malbec has a very strong "blueberry/blackberry taste" and Franc has a ton of chocolate and chili pepper (not sure how to describe this). Malbec is extremely dark but low in tannin. Franc is very dark too but higher in tannin. It will be tricky to get the most out of these without them being too "in your face". I'm hoping MLF will help reduce the fruitiness and blending with less aromatic varieties, like Tempranillo, will allow them to add lots of aromatic character without making the wine too monotonous.

I haven't had much experience with California grapes so blending ideas are welcome.
 

CDrew

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I would not blend at all yet. Those wines are brand new. And new wine has all sorts of early and raw flavors. Wait until MLF is over then rack again. I would not taste for blending ideas until the spring.

By the time you oak, rack a few times, and the CO2 dissipates, and the tannins polymerize, the wine will be completely different. So I would advise patience.
 

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