Make it your own, 3 Winemakers, Chardonnay 2017

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stickman

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I know, everyone looks for a definitive answer and there never seems to be one, but I have to assume there is a reason why many wineries go through the trouble of fermenting Chardonnay in the barrel. I agree, I don't think oak adds much flavor during primary with all of the lees etc, but I think texture is what they are after. I'm sure it will be good either way.
 

NorCal

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The wines are resting in our respective wineries and the tests last week showed that they are not done mlf. I can’t say that our wines would taste any different at this point.

I’m going to rack mine today, just because I don’t like the layer of lees that the wine has develop. Pics later.
 

NorCal

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25 gallons racked and back in the wine box. Based on the shape of the fruit, I was concerned about developing H2S. Perhaps heavy handed, but I think the upside of racking at this point outweighs the downside.IMG_1660.jpgIMG_1661.jpg
 

NorCal

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It’s been a month since the last update. MLF is still progressing, smells and tastes pretty darn good. I’ve added a lightly toasted oak spiral to two of the carboys.
 

4score

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Still haven’t racked my Chardonnay (other than the very first one after primary). I have 30 gallons in a flex tank. ML (Enoferm Beta) added on 9/23. Still in progress. I want to catch it just as it completes so as to maximize the Diacetyl. It’s just going slooooow.IMG_4636.jpg
 

NorCal

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It’s been a while since we had an update.

I think the three of us have bottled this year’s Chardonnay. @4score entered into the CA state fair. I felt it is a bronze/silver level wine and held onto my $20.

We are however getting together on Sunday to do some Cabernet barrel tasting and hopefully @Busabill will be back in town soon enough to join us.

I’ll try to remember to take some pics.
 

NorCal

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Oak...I think this will be the differentiator between the wines. Having “ruined” (to my palate) some really nice wines with too much oak, I am real shy on the oak. I made 23 gallons; two 6.5, two 5.0 gallon carboys. I used a French oak spiral in two carboys and an American oak spiral in the other two, for 6 weeks, combining the wine in the end, before bottling. @4score is more of an oak fan and added a big stave to his 30 gallon flex tank. @Busabill also made his in a Flex, not sure his oaking regiment.
 

4score

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I used a giant (60 gallon size Medium Plus French Oak) stave on my Chardonnay in the 30-gallon Flex Tank. It was bathing for about 3.5 months, although its effectiveness was probably mostly spent after 8-10 weeks. Should be a fun comparison.
 

NorCal

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30FB4944-61AD-4849-A06E-3C3B980BF31D.jpeg We all came equipped with multiple glasses and the wine was flowing. Unfortunately @Busabill couldn’t join us, but we had a good size crowd. The results were surprising to everyone. The little spirals in the carboy out-oaked the big stave in the flex tank. Both were good and similar in taste, but I have to say the extra oak made a difference in the flavor, without being too much.
 
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anthony toto

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Hey, what's funny in reality, it is the exact opposite; I don't feel any sense of competition (and I'm competitive by nature). I was thrilled by the success of my partners last year.

Last year everything was fermented together. This year, I don't have the room, so we are parting ways at the juice stage.

Here is the vintage data from last year. Would you change anything?

2016 Chardonnay
8/20/2016 harvest date
900 lbs of grapes
23.5 brix
14.0 ABV
3.20 pH
no adjustments
D47 yeast
68 peak fermentation temp
Beta mlf
Aged in glass with American oak staves

Mine won Silver at the State Fair.
 

anthony toto

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Hi NorCal. I was reading your initial post in this thread and was wondering what type of oak stave you used in the Chardonnay that won the silver (belated congrats BTW!!!!). Was this a toasted stave, stave from a barrel etc??

I currently have a Chardonnay going from a kit and was looking into viable best options to improve my vino!
 

NorCal

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Hi NorCal. I was reading your initial post in this thread and was wondering what type of oak stave you used in the Chardonnay that won the silver (belated congrats BTW!!!!). Was this a toasted stave, stave from a barrel etc??

I currently have a Chardonnay going from a kit and was looking into viable best options to improve my vino!
I’m a fan of oak spirals, when needing to add oak. Labelpellers have always provided the best value that I could find. I would go with the American med + toast, but now go nothing more than medium.
 

ZebraB

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I have never used the spirals only the chips in a kit. How do you sterilize the spirals?
 

ZebraB

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Good to know. Thanks! I ordered up some from Label Peelers to add to a few carboys. Based on the few kits that I got brewing, I think the oak in primary doesn't do much for oak flavor. They have more of an Avant Chard (unoaked) vs Kendal Jackson (oak) flavor profile.
 

BI81

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@NorCal do you have some sort of conveyor system (Photo from post #16) on your sorting table or are you manually pushing the grapes down as you go? Also, how do you like the Spiedel ferment/storage tanks? I'm looking to upgrade to some HDPE tanks for larger volume aging instead of my 6 gal carboys. I like the FlexTanks and Intellitanks, but the Spiedels are much more appealing from a cost perspective.
 

NorCal

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@NorCal do you have some sort of conveyor system (Photo from post #16) on your sorting table or are you manually pushing the grapes down as you go? Also, how do you like the Spiedel ferment/storage tanks? I'm looking to upgrade to some HDPE tanks for larger volume aging instead of my 6 gal carboys. I like the FlexTanks and Intellitanks, but the Spiedels are much more appealing from a cost perspective.
Wow, an oldie from 2017, including my now upgraded, one owner, 200K mile F-150.

I made that slide from common materials from Home Depot. The sliding surface is melamine and the edges are sealed with food safe silicon. The grapes are spread out, MOG picked out and any bad clusters removed. I do like fermenting the whites in the Spiedels. I stir them daily, but ferment under airlock. I've had 30 gallon FlexTanks, but found them difficult to clean, because they are so deep. Recently I purchased the new square-ish format of the Spiedel, which is a big improvement over the barrel type.

conveyor.jpg
 

BI81

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Ha, I was thinking of commenting on how pristine the truck looked for the year, definite pride of ownership!!

Any issues with the melamine warping over time from the juice?

Appreciate the feedback on the Spiedels, I'll go ahead and track down the new square models.
 
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