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Age on ALL the lees?

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buttonsrtoys

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I have an Argentia Ridge chardonnay 7L kit from Costco Canada that I plan to age on the lees. Racking off primary, do I stir up the lees so they all transfer or should I let some settle on the bottom and rack them off?

My understanding is that they're all fine lees, so keep them all?
 

Trick

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I did one Fontana Chardonnay kit with half batch in Sur-lie aging. It is still on progress, to be finished in 10 months (A kind of overkill for the cheap kit like this).
I stirred up everything after secondary, and allow it sitting for two hours and then racked over. Not sure it was right or not. But I am just afraid of carrying over too much gross lees. I have a long stirring agenda with tapered frequency.

I am also playing quite a few Costco kits (White Zin, Shiraz, and Cab/Merlot combo kits) since they are incredibly cheap when on sale.
 

buttonsrtoys

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@Trick. Thanks for the thoughts! I share your concerns about gross lees and may be in left field but aren't these kits from concentrated juice all fine lees? I thought gross lees were skins and other larger pieces of grapes?
 

Scooter68

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Instructions from the YouTube Video by the company state to leave the lees behind. This is normal with most wines where there are no skins (Particularly other than red wines - with reds the skins are needed to extract color and tannins)

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDRk2Z0tb_c[/ame]
 

Ajmassa

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@Trick. Thanks for the thoughts! I share your concerns about gross lees and may be in left field but aren't these kits from concentrated juice all fine lees? I thought gross lees were skins and other larger pieces of grapes?


I kinda thought that too, as a technicality. But I still refer to any post fermentations initial heavier thicker sediment as 'gross lees'. And the sediment that drops out after that as the "fine/light lees".
And just assumed anything extra thick is not good to keep around. And if the "light or fine lees" is looking substantial and layered then to get rid of that too. A dusting up to maybe 1/4" I'd be cool with. More than that I get uncomfortable to leave it for regular racking schedule.
But Definitely something to investigate when deciding to go 'sur lie' style.
 

Scooter68

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Unless you have chilled a wine must to the point that all the yeast has died or dropped out, I don't think you have to worry about leaving too much of the lees behind be they "gross" or "fine." As long as fermentation is ongoing and some yeast transfers over into the carboy, it's very unlikely that you could leave behind too much lees unless, as I mentioned you are doing a red wine with grape skins. Once fermentation is over then you certainly want to leave behind all the lees you can. Certainly you can expect a slight slowing of the fermentation after the racking into a carboy but unless you have added something you shouldn't or the wine has exceeded the yeasts max alcohol limits, that will only be a temporary situation.
 

WineYooper

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I have found leaving on the gross lee's too long will spoil the must, lost one and caught the other just in time. I find about 3-4 weeks is about first racking time but I let the deposit depth tell me when. The batch I saved was starting to turn rotten smelling, after a couple rackings the smell had left. Racking at three month intervals seems to work best for me and will help clear with maybe the possibility of not having to use a clearring agent. Cranberry, seems to need a clearing agent tho, looks clear after 11 months but find ageing 6 months will show fine deposits in bottles. Might be I may not degas well enough, not sure, learn as I go.
 

Trick

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I kinda thought that too, as a technicality. But I still refer to any post fermentations initial heavier thicker sediment as 'gross lees'. And the sediment that drops out after that as the "fine/light lees".
And just assumed anything extra thick is not good to keep around. And if the "light or fine lees" is looking substantial and layered then to get rid of that too. A dusting up to maybe 1/4" I'd be cool with. More than that I get uncomfortable to leave it for regular racking schedule.
But Definitely something to investigate when deciding to go 'sur lie' style.
That is what exactly I am thinking. I would think the heavy solids as gross lees to be conservative.
By the way, I always tweak my cheap kits with a lot of other solids, such as raisins, fruits etc. So my batch has never been a pure kit.
 

NorCal

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I’ve been accused of being heavy handed with my wine making, racking the wine whenever it has a good layer of sediment. I’d rather err on the side of racking too much than too little. The oxygen exposure during racking is negligible and I don’t see any big benefit of the wine aging on the fallout.
 

stickman

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I'm assuming @buttonsrtoys is considering aging on the lees, because of hearing that some wineries will do this. One of the issues with trying a particular part of a procedure, is that you must consider the rest of the winemaking procedures and conditions.

I have also heard of Chardonnays aging on the same lees generated during barrel fermentation for about 11 to 12 months, then racking to tank carrying over only some light lees and aging for another 5 months or so. During the first 12 months during barrel aging on the lees, stirring may or may not be conducted depending on the wine style. The "big" chardonnays might be stirred twice a month with diminishing frequency with age. The combination of an oxygen permeable barrel coupled with oxygen from frequent opening and stirring, is what offsets the reductive nature of having such high lees content; the lees are providing protection from the oxygen.

Back to the original question asked, should you transfer everything from primary? In the above case, they don't transfer at all, everything that went into the barrel stays there for 12 months, unless the wine starts going stinky etc., but that might indicate that stirring is not frequent enough.

It's fun to experiment, but you have to be willing to accept the outcome.
 

balatonwine

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This is normal with most wines where there are no skins
No, not really. Some wines, such as Chardonnay, are routinely Sur Lie aged. But not all white wines are so treated. Aging on lees is just a wine making style. Thus, no hard and fast rules or quantifying about when or how much it happens need apply.
 

Kiazer

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I’ve been accused of being heavy handed with my wine making, racking the wine whenever it has a good layer of sediment. I’d rather err on the side of racking too much than too little. The oxygen exposure during racking is negligible and I don’t see any big benefit of the wine aging on the fallout.
I agree........i rack 4 times from start up to bottling after 3-6 months of bulk ageing
 

jburtner

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How do the big boys do it? I mean if you had 1000 barrels how much racking off the lee’s would be going on? I think it would go in that barrel after primary AF (rack off gross lees ) then stay there for a year or 18months of battonage / sur lie protocol. Emulate that in a brute can and carboy.

Good luck!
-johann
 
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