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Oaking Sangiovese wine

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BernardSmith

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I am making some Sangiovese wine from grapes and want to add oak cubes or spirals to the 6 gallons of wine I have (in 2 3 gallon carboys). Assuming I add about 1.5 oz of oak chips (or 1 spiral ) per carboy of Hungarian oak, how long should I allow the oak to sit in this wine - about a month? longer ? much less? Thanks
 

joeswine

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And what grapes did you use to make your Genovese?
 

skyfire322

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When I oaked mine last year, I used M+ Hungarian oak spirals and left it in there for a little over two months. Just opened a bottle last night and it was nice and smooth. YMMV though.
 

ceeaton

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I put some Hungarian M+ spirals in a Sangiovese I made, left them in 9 months. I'd have to look at the notes to the amount, but it was pretty a pretty good amount comparing to the recommendations. A little oaky for the first couple of years, but is really nice in a 4 yr old wine. Unfortunately I only have two bottles of that one left (now 5 1/2 yrs old).
 

buzi

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Morewine has oak spheres. I got them for Christmas a few years back and they work great! Thay don't have as much surface area as a stave or spiral so it is a little easier to control the oak (for those of us that can be a little more absent minded!)
 

BernardSmith

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And what grapes did you use to make your Genovese?
My LHBS got me a couple of crates of Sangiovese grapes (72 lbs) from California (Mettler vineyards). My first attempt at making wine with fresh grapes and so far everything seems to be working nicely. I don't have a press and so pressed by hand and was able to extract 3 gallons but I did a second run and so have 1 liter more than 6 gallons although at the moment I am not mixing or blending the second run with the first. Both are undergoing MLF and now both have been oaked (medium Hungarian) - the first run with a spiral and the second with about 1.5 oz of oak cubes. Color in the carboys look good (tho' I am not sure what color Sangiovese ought to have - in the carboy it is very dark but when I sampled for tasting and measuring the color was more Burgundy. (pH is around 3.4 and the gravity was .992. Have not measured the TA but the wine , tho' very green tastes nice and bright)
 

winemaker81

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@BernardSmith, keep the runs segregated. While the 2nd run should be tasty, it's lighter than the 1st run and it will reduce the quality of the 1st. The result should be good either way, but a year from now taste both, and you'll experience the difference.

If you need topping wine for either, use a commercial Sangiovese.

Last year I found a reference that called for 2 oz cubes in 5 gallons, and used 6 oz cubes last year's 2nd run in a 14 gallon neutral barrel for 3 months. IMO it's a bit over-oaked, but should settle out. However, the intent is to enjoy the 2nd run while the 1st is aging, e.g., the 2nd run helps me fight temptation! so that intent not quite as effective as it might otherwise be. [That said, I'm really happy with the 2nd run!]

If you oak the 2nd run lighter, it will be drinkable sooner.

In the picture, the 1st run is on the right, which is darker and has stronger legs, and a stronger aroma. However, I'm not complaining about the color of the 2nd run.

2020 blends 1st 2nd.jpg
 

BernardSmith

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Thanks for those thoughts. I do intend to keep both runs separate but for the second run, how long do you think it may need to age if I oak the three gallons for about 4 weeks with about 1.5 oz of oak? I thought that MLF was almost done a couple of weeks ago but I am still seeing tiny bubbles rising to the surface and when I last checked using an Accuvit strip it looked like there was a scant 30 points of malic still in the wine.
 

CDrew

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I'm not an expert in any way, but I did make 25 gallons of Sangiovese in 2020 the night after I stayed in a Holiday Inn!

Sangiovese is a fairly light bodied and light tannin, moderate+ acid wine. With that in mind, I'd go at the very low end of the oak recommendations and probably avoid M+ as too smokey.

If you are thinking cubes, use the dose calculator published by StaVin here. I think in Italy, Sangiovese is typically aged in neutral oak, so keep that in mind too. For mine, I dosed at 20% of "new" levels, used Medium toast and I'll check monthly aiming to have it off the oak before you can even identify the oak flavor. So I'm aiming for a hint of oak rather than a blast of oak.

It has seemed to me that if your wine has more tannin, that will balance well with more oak. Since Sangiovese is low in that regard, I'd aim low on the oak addition. You can always add more later, but you can't take it out. I learned this lesson painfully in 2018 and it is still haunting me.

Good luck, I'm still learning too, and just sharing a bad experience to make a point.
 
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winemaker81

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@CDrew's suggestions are great. 1.5 oz for the 1st run sounds good to me -- test at 4 weeks and make a decision. Stir the wine before tasting, as the oakiness will be settled around the oak, as there are no convection currents. You may have read one of my earlier posts that commented on how strongly overoaked the wine around cubes in the bottom of the barrel was when I racked the barrel.

For the 2nd run, I suggest a bit lighter yet, 1 oz, also testing at 4 weeks. It's lighter bodied and won't need as much. A lot of this will depend on how full bodied your 2nd run is in comparison to the 1st.

Taste them both together at the 4 week mark, and if you have top up for both, taste those along side. Having a control sample should help you better decide if either wine has enough oak.
 

winemaker81

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@BernardSmith, I'm going to toss out an other option. Last night we opened bottles of last year's 2nd run -- hard pressed with no oak and medium pressed with barrel/cubes (as described above).

The wines are totally different -- the unoaked is very fruity, most would call it sweet, although the SG says it's certainly not. My son called it party wine, but nothing he'd drink with beef. The oaked wine, while light bodied, is beef wine, having a nicely oaked spicy finish. [Last month I thought it was over oaked, but it's mellowing very nicely.)

Depending on what you want to produce and who your drinking audience is, you could not oak your second run.

This year's 2nd run is 4 carboys -- I'm going to oak 3 with American, French, and Hungarian oakstix (respectively), and the 4th will remain unoaked. Yes, yet another one of my experiments .....
 

BernardSmith

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I very much appreciate your post. As it happens we are all vegetarians in mu household and many of my friends are too so looking for a beef friendly wine is not an issue but the idea of not oaking or only minimally oaking the second run is really interesting. I think what I may do is taste the second runnings after two weeks of oaking and decide then whether to continue or rack the wine off the oak. The thing is that I was able to only hand press the wines so the tannic quality may be less pronounced than one might expect ... in which case oaking my be more desirable than not
 

winemaker81

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I've done hand pressing -- it works, but leaves a lot behind. Last year I purchased a used #40 press through Facebook Marketplace, and I'm happy that I did. If you continue to make red wines, it's worth the investment, but be cautious as a lot of the presses available are smaller than you may realize.

I did a "medium" press on 16 lugs of grapes, producing 40 gallons of raw wine. I added 15 gallons of water to produce the 2nd run, and I hard pressed that when it was done, producing 20 gallons of wine. It's kind of surprising that 5 gallons of wine was left in the pomace after the 1st pressing.

My press retails for $680 USD, although used I paid half that AND got 25 and 54 liter demijohns, plus some capsules, an unopened package of 72 corks, a double-lever corker that looked like it was made in the 1500's, plus a few other toys. Yeah, I got a screaming deal! Anyone needing new toys should start looking now, as used wine making equipment isn't all that common unless on a dedicated board.

MoreWine has a large selection of presses -- read the details for capacity. I'd love a bladder press, but at this time the price is a bit too rich for my blood.
 

BernardSmith

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All great advice and suggestions but this was my first 72 pounds of grapes and to spend a few hundred dollars on a press is a luxury that I am not certain I can consider at this time but it is certainly something I will continue to consider.
 

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