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Barrel Fermentation for Reds?

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Wahinemakanui

Junior
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Oct 22, 2008
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Hi:

I'm curious: does anyone here have any experience with barrel fermentation of reds (specifically Cab. Sauv.)?

I have a fermenting Macrobin of CS (about 120 gallons) that was picked at the low end of the pH range--3.2. I have read that low pH wines will lack complexity, and that early oaking adds complexity. So, I'm wondering if addition of a FEW oak spirals DURING primary fermentation will help. There is a surprising lack of information on this (for reds anyway).

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

rms1

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Oaking

I can't speak to oak barrels, but I did try some oak cubes. I followed the directions, left the cubes in the wine for 8 weeks, except I didn't taste the wine on a weekly basis, anyway, the wine ending up with to much oak taste. My suggestion, before going through the expense of oak barrels, you might want to try the oak cubes.
 

Wine Maker

Rocco
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I have a few 30 gal American oak barrels. When making enough wine to fill the barrels with my "reds" I usually let the wine age in the barrel 4-6 months. The oak flavor will lessen overtime (2 years) so it is important to check the wine often to see if the oak flavor is at the desired level.
 

Old Tymer

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RE

I dont think that adding oak to the primary will help with the problem, barrel fermentation is only good during aging. There have been some people who use oak flavor (oak liquid of some kind) that is put in during primary, but adding oak staves during primary will not impart any oak flavors to the wine, if you add the staves during aging that is very similar to oak cubes and oak chips. Barrel fermentation allows for micro-oxygenation which is good for the wine. I hope this answers your questions.

-Mike
 

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