Doubt I could put percentages on those things, but top notch fruit is imperative if you’re going to make great wine. If you can get great fruit, messing up the ferment, making a racking error (like too long on gross lees), too much sulfite, reduces the potential of great fruit. Gotta get all that right to get the max out of whatever quality fruit you have.
Aight, using UC Davis system I’ll try a stick a number on this. Say your already Using quality fruit and standard basic winemaking technique and in 3 years you’ve got yourself a bronze medal winning wine with an avg score if 14.
Outside of the basics you mention, the % of influence would depend on the experience with the activity and when to apply it, how and how much.
I’m curious here, and on a barrel thing right now, since you’re making batches large enough to warrant using standard size Bx barrels, living in the midst of wine country, what barrels are you using? Have you tried some, moved on to others, use the same barrel and just add staves? New / old combos, what’s the plan?I’m also making a 60 gallon barrel of Cab Franc.
How long was your wine in the two new barrels, and how did the oak come through in the finished product?I’ve used new American, new French and currently a third year French Oak that I purchased from a winemaker up the street, Scott Pruet. He’s our local celebrity race car driver and an incredible winemaker. I found that the Cabernet that is in the barrel needed more oak than the near neutral French oak barrel was giving it and added 4 American oak, medium toast spirals to it. I’m a big fan of the spirals.
In winemaking, it's always interesting to change up some of the variables to study the result. Case in point, the same Cabernet that @NorCal and I made last Fall - In my batch, we separated a small amount of the just-crushed must and slow fermented in a temperature controlled environment. It took three times longer to ferment compared to my larger batch, completed in my warm garage. We put the temperature-controlled wine into a new 10-gallon American oak barrel, whereas the larger batch was put into a new 60-gallon barrel. Recent tastings after ~ 6 months shows that the cool-fermented wine is noticeably better. The other batch is very good, but the 10-gallons is just better! A few things changed, so it's hard to nail down the impact tied to one variable. The sample must was cooled several days before we started the fermentation. A slow temperature controlled fermentation. A smaller barrel. If the temp controlled fermentation is the biggest reason, we may be out of luck. With my budget, there's not a temp controlled tank in my near future!
I used the new barrels for two seasons each. The oak was pronounced, I think mostly from the Medium + toast. I have found that I don't like the "+" toasting and will never buy one again. I think the "+" tends to overpower the wine, especially that first year.How long was your wine in the two new barrels, and how did the oak come through in the finished product?
Good to know!! My french barrel is also M+ and am planning to keep the wine in there for 1 year +, but will keep close tabs on the taste. My fall back plan if the oak starts to creep up too much is to pull a carboy or two of wine out of the barrel, and add some of the same press run that's still in carboys.I used the new barrels for two seasons each. The oak was pronounced, I think mostly from the Medium + toast. I have found that I don't like the "+" toasting and will never buy one again. I think the "+" tends to overpower the wine, especially that first year.