How do you all approach combining free fun with your pressed juice? Free run it's a lot less astringent/bitter where as the pressed has more of that astringency in it. Do you all combined the two together regardless or keep them separate?
I think a lot depends on how hard you press. I do a very soft pressing, the solids don't even form into a block, they stay lose. I think if you press hard way to much sediment (lees) go into the wine and you end up losing even more wine thru many rackings than extra wine you gain by hard pressing. Just my 2 cents.
I also have a simple basket press and do only moderate pressing and combine as needed to fill vessels. I have often thought that there are components of each that need to be together during aging. I would keep it separate if I thought there was something really wrong, like bitterness due to under ripe grapes etc. It might make sense to keep it separate if you did something crazy like a 60 day extended maceration, or maybe pressing at high pressures with a hydraulic unit.
We do a hard press and combine. We have a hydraulic press so we get every drop out of the grapes. The cake is so dense sometimes that it takes a crowbar to break it up. We only leave on the skins for a week after crushing and I agree with getting too much sediment/lees doing it this way.....but I think it adds a little something to the finished wine. JMO