WineXpert Eclipse Yakima Valley Pinot Gris

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Sep 19, 2013
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near Milwaukee
I am planning to start a WE Eclipse Washington Yakima Valley Pinot Gris soon. I am posting to ask for input on yeast, and also to start a "build thread" for this kit.

First of all, the contents are interesting. This is 18L of juice, and not much else. No f-pack and no flavor additives. The yeast selection was interesting; there is one pack of K1-V1116, and one pack of EC-1118. There are no instructions about using them, i.e., no indication why there are two. I am guessing that EC-1118 is the insurance policy, although I believe K1-V1116 is a strong fermenter, too. :?

As you know, Pinot Gris (as opposed to Pinot Grigio) connotes a wine done in a "fatter" style. I am sure that K1-V1116 would be a fine choice, but I am probably intending to swap this out for a "fatter"-style yeast. Here are the general descriptions of some of the contenders:

KV-1116: Rapid starter that can ferment well in low nutrient musts with higher levels of SO2 or sugar. Will overcome wild yeast. Expresses the freshness of white grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc. Will help restart stuck ferments. 18% alcohol tolerance. 59 to 86 degrees.

BA-11: BA11 intensifies mouthfeel and augments lingering flavors in both still and sparkling white wines. BA11 encourages the fresh fruit aromas of orange blossom, pineapple and apricot. In relatively neutral white varieties BA11 brings out tropical fruit, cream, vanilla and spice. With fruit from hot climates, BA11 can really help to "flesh out" a wine by its' volume and mouthfeel enhancement. This strain is good by itself, as well as being a great structural component to a blend.

ICV-D47: Use for producing superior quality white wines. Enhances mouth feel due to complex carbohydrates. Creates full bodied, complex wines with tropical and citrus notes. Fantastic yeast for lees aging. Often used in Chardonnays with great results, the Beta-glucosidase activity will also enhance fruit flavours and aromas in other varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, and Riesling.

And from the Morewinemaking yeast pairing guide for Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris:
Pinot Gris/Grigio
• BA11: In Pinot Gris, floral, peach, apricot, and tropical fruit elements are developed, along with clean aromatics, lingering flavours, and an intensified mouthfeel. Good single-strain choice.
• QA23: Usually used in terpenic whites, it enhances the aromatic aspects of a grape. In Pinot Gris, QA23 focuses on floral, along with peach/apricot notes. It makes an elegant, fruit-focused, floral, and aromatic wine.
• Rhône 4600: Peach, apricot and tropical fruit with enhanced mouthfeel contribution. Delivers fat roundness and balance along with light esters. Good either as a single strain or as a blending component.
• ICV-D47: Tropical fruit, along with a rich mouthfeel is brought out by D47 in a Pinot Gris. Lees contact gives rise to ripe spicy aromas with tropical and citrus tones developing. Adds volume/mouthfeel. Lees aging recommended. Good single-strain or as a blending component.
• ICV-GRE: Brings fresh pear and melon tones foreword along with good mouthfeel. Useful for reducing herbaceous and vegetal notes in under-ripe fruit.
• R2: Sauternes isolate used in a Pinot Gris for expression of, tropical fruit notes in an intense, direct fruit-style wine.

I am leaning towards D47 or BA11. I can get D47 locally, but have to order BA11, which might spell the difference. Any thoughts?
Interesting. That's the same combo that comes with the Eclipse Sauvignon Blanc. I don't bother with the EC-1118 on that one.

If not going with the kit yeast, I'd go with the D47. Its a good fit and locally available.
I did this kit last year, you probably have juice from 2015 harvest, mine was 2014 juice. I put the EC 1118 in the fridge, didn't use it. No problems with 1116 fermentation, finished dry without a problem.

I did monkey with it a little, boosted the SG just a bit and some zest during clearing.

The wine is pretty good, only sampled one bottle so far and that was a few months ago. Nose and flavor noted as light, but with a nice crisp acidity. It was pretty green then, probably time for another sample bottle.

I made the CC Passport Pinot Gris not long ago and will check the yeast I used but it came with a small f-pack and I really liked this kit.
Will check my notes when I get home and post back.
I've used D47 with a Chardonnay and a Chardonel this fall. Used QA23 with a Pinot Grigio (Chilean juice bucket) and a Sauvingon Blanc. I like both very muchly, but would say that the D47 is "fatter" in flavor than the QA23. I did do a little battonage (sur lie) with the D47 wines that I didn't attempt with the QA23.

@ibglowin has used BA11 extensively, so hopefully he will chime in about his results with that yeast.
Paul, PG is one of my favorite wines. But I really don't understand what "fatter" style means. Either it means buttery, or off dry would be my best guess, but I figured I should just ask and learn something useful.


Pam in cinti
Paul, PG is one of my favorite wines. But I really don't understand what "fatter" style means. Either it means buttery, or off dry would be my best guess, but I figured I should just ask and learn something useful.

Yeah, my understanding is "fatter" means less crisp, less acidic, less apple/citrus; more buttery, more floral/tropical fruits.

After typing the above, I found this comparison of the styles (which should hold regardless if my use of "fatter" is conventional):
Thanks Paul, that was very helpful. I can't imagine having to ask this same question in a restaurant to make sure I get a wine more to my preference. Picture a chubby old lady asking "What does fat mean?". Not easy to answer with a straight face!

Pam in cinti
Well, just an update. I finally started this kit today. I decided to use the D47 yeast. The unaltered kit clocked in at 1.094, so I decided to bump it up to 1.100. Hopefully it will be able to handle it. This was the easiest kit I have ever done, what with no additives or grape pack to worry about. I even decided to skip the bentonite, as I may decide to perform battonage on this, and @cintipam has reported that bentonite may strip some flavor in that situation. So it was easy-peasy! The juice tastes nice, so I am hopeful.
Interesting timing. Just started this kit tonight as well. Used the bentonite and the two different yeast that came with the kit. Really like the taste of the must before we added the yeast. Expecting great things from this kit.
Had my Refrigeration guy over yesterday afternoon to talk about the new wine roon project, sent him home with a few bottles of wine, one of which was the WE Yakima Pinot Gris. Got a text last nite " drink a lot of Pinot Gris, this is awesome! If you're selling, I'm buying".

Pretty good opinion about it at 7.5 months. Slightly boosted ABV to 13.5%, and a tad of acid to drop the Ph. Of course, I informed him that I wasn't licensed to sell.