Crafting a Big Red.

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by Gabert Grape, May 16, 2018.

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  1. Gabert Grape

    Gabert Grape Junior

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    I am new to this forum, forgive me if I sound like a newbie.
    I am a huge fan of big reds, not necessarily high in alcohol, but bursting in character and flavor. I recently had a Syrah/Cab Sauv blend that was amazing. I would like to try to come close to what I had.
    I purchase fresh grapes from chile (60% Syrah and 40% Cab).
    I understand that to create a big red there must be extended skin contact; I've read that skin contact should be as much as 2 weeks and warmer temperatures are essential.

    Any Advice would be appreciated! Below is what I've chosen so far.

    Yeast: DYW70
    Malo: VP41

    One question is: Should the grapes be fermented together or separately and blended after?
    What are the implications of 2 to 3 weeks skin contact?

    Any additional information would be hugely appreciated.

    G
     
  2. salcoco

    salcoco Veteran Wine Maker Supporting Member

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    more importantly is using the correct enzymes. contact time beyond two days before fermentation is sufficient.
     
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  3. Gabert Grape

    Gabert Grape Junior

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    Thanks.
    I typically use the Lalzyme EX. After doing research it apparently contains 4 different enzymes for a more complete maceration. I also use opti-red which is supposed to help retain color.

    I made a Tempranillo last year that was not left on the skins beyond the primary fermentation (4-5 days). The color was good but not very dark. I think with extended contact it should be darker.

    Thoughts?
     
  4. Boatboy24

    Boatboy24 No longer a newbie, but still clueless.

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    I use Lallzyme and Opti Red as well. Timing is important with the addition of both of these. Its recommended that the Opti-Red be added 8-12 hours after the Lallzyme so that it doesn't strip the enzyme out before its had a chance to go to work. My typical schedule is adding Lallzyme at crush, then Opti-Red the next morning, prior to pitching the yeast. From there, it's usually a 5-8 day primary ferment before pressing. I'm generally pretty happy with the results from this.

    I currently have a field blend of ~90% Carmenere/10% Petite Verdot going that was crushed last Friday. The color is outstanding.
     
  5. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I just made the switch from lallezyme EX to lallzyme EX-V. Ex-V is supposed to be much stronger and extract more— taking away the need for you to break you stones doing an extended maceration- which can be tough to pull off correctly and safely for a homewinemaker without specific equipment. I’m very happy with the color so far. It was gorgeous after fermentation. Almost looking like it was staining the glass! For the type of wine I’m striving for, I don’t see myself ever NOT using the EX-V again unless something better comes along. I didn’t use any opti-red, FT rouge or any other stuff like that either. Just the enzyme EX-V.
    As far as blending goes, Fermenting separate and blending later down the line is the preferred route. Just gives more control over every aspect. And then allows multiple blends and single varietals to be bottled.
    ***BUT— this is a hella lot more work to do. Everything you do x2. Equipment and time. Sometimes not the most realistic option for a lot of people. If it’s not too much of a hassle then I say go for it and make separate. Blending finished wines is something I look forward to one day doing.
    Field blends are much less stressful. Last fall I did a Tuscan Blend with sangio/Cab/merlot. Being only one man with a busy life I just blended at crush. (used EX for that and color was good. The sangio grapes were very light and EX enzyme performed well. I wonder how different ex-V woulda been in hindsight.).
    IMG_2263.jpg
     
  6. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    My advice is to try this..

    - Test the acid and PH. Having acid at the correct level aids in extraction during maceration (sitting on the skins).

    - I macerate for 6 or 7 days. This is in an open fermentation tub that is just loosely covered with plastic sheet.

    - I go for a hot fermentation (85 degrees and higher). I have found that the higher temps also assist in maceration.

    - For me, maceration never lasts longer than fermentation. At the end of 6 or 7 days, I get everything I need for a nice big and bold red (and then some). That being said, I have never felt the need for any additives (Lallzyme and Opti Red) to assist in extraction. They might very well be worth while, but I simply have never felt the need to improve on extraction.
     
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  7. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    There's another thing that is probably needed to make a big chewy red, Micro-oxygenation, that takes oak and very, very, very slow additions of oxygen, most likely a barrel.
     
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  8. sdelli

    sdelli Senior Member Supporting Member

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    I am going to guess that the 60/40 mix you picked is too blended. I would stay heavy on the Cab and lighter on the Syrah. But either way the best way to blend is after everything is done!
     
  9. JohnT

    JohnT Moderator Super Moderator

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    Just to expand on this, micro-oxygenation does not aid in making a wine big and bold. It does, however, aid in making the wine a bit softer by neutralizing a portion of the wine's tannins.

    Depending on how you bulk age your wine or how long you age under cork, you can count on at least some level of micro-oxygenation. In other words, you can make a very nice big and bold red without going out of your way. As a beginner, you should not lose sleep over it. I make plenty of the biggest, boldest wines using air tight stainless steel tanks.

    That being said, barrel aging can make a great wine exquisite. Barrel aging does three things. It concentrates the wine due to evaporation, it imparts oak characteristics, and yes, it also provides micro-oxygenation. But barrels are expensive and need to be kept filled. I would suggest that you perfect your big/bold winemaking method, have a number of batches all lined up, then consider get a barrel.
     
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  10. Gabert Grape

    Gabert Grape Junior

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    Thank you all. I will be adding small injections of O2 during fermentation (but I think this is for yeast health). I will try the EXV on a future batch as I still have some EX. I was going to do a 50-50 blend but I really like a big Syrah so I was focusing on the fruitiness and adding structure with the Cab. I like to age my wine a minimum of two years, 1 year in a carboy and 1+ rears in a bottle. oak is added as cubes during the first year. I Just opened a 2 year Malbec that was very harsh when bottled but is amazing now (my first long aging). I am quite amazed at how the fruit came forward and the tannins softened with age.
     
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  11. Bartman

    Bartman Senior Member

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    I blend prior to fermentation, but if you enjoy being more precise (read: more labor intensive) with your wine, then ferment separately and plan on blending later. I'm ll about letting nature take its course - if the fruit is high quality, then I do as little as possible to let that come through (my personal philosophy). I add a little Ferm-Aid with the crush but start fermenting immediately too (RC212 yeast for reds), if the temperature is right. I usually ferment for 10 days or so and bulk age for 1-year+. A medium+ toast spiral is all I use after fermenting (plus some Kmeta).
     
  12. mainshipfred

    mainshipfred Junior Member Supporting Member

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    When I do extended maceration I like to keep the must cool to keep the native yeast at bay. I have occaisonally fermented reds in a cooler to keep the skins in contact with the juice longer. Whether it's from experience or just a hunch I think it's just what you think will get you the end product you are looking for.
     

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