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Pinot Noir help

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tradowsk

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I'm venturing into grape-land with some pinot noir grapes from a local winery. Looking to do a few gallons only this year to see how it turns out before taking a bigger plunge.

I have a few questions:
1) Typically, I go for bigger reds (cab sauv, merlot, zin, etc) because I often find the lighter reds a bit 'watery'. However, I've had some spectacular beaujolais that perfectly balance lightness and richness. So what would I do or not do to make sure I get a flavorful pinot noir?
2) Do you ferment on the skins or just the juice? I've done extended maceration on cab kits in the past, but not sure if that's right for a pinot.
3) I' thinking of skipping MLF and using 71B yeast. I'd like this to be a lively, fruity wine. Thoughts?

Any other advice for a grape noobie?
 

BI81

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I'm venturing into grape-land with some pinot noir grapes from a local winery. Looking to do a few gallons only this year to see how it turns out before taking a bigger plunge.

I have a few questions:
1) Typically, I go for bigger reds (cab sauv, merlot, zin, etc) because I often find the lighter reds a bit 'watery'. However, I've had some spectacular beaujolais that perfectly balance lightness and richness. So what would I do or not do to make sure I get a flavorful pinot noir?
2) Do you ferment on the skins or just the juice? I've done extended maceration on cab kits in the past, but not sure if that's right for a pinot.
3) I' thinking of skipping MLF and using 71B yeast. I'd like this to be a lively, fruity wine. Thoughts?

Any other advice for a grape noobie?
If you’re into big reds, Pinot is probably not what you’re looking for, it’s thin skinned, light on tannin and typically matures at a lower sugar level than cab Sauv, Syrah, etc. (depending on where it’s grown of course)

But, if that’s what’s available you can saignee off some juice to help increase concentration.

If you’re into the fruitiness of Beaujolais this’s a bit different stylistically than your “big red”, they’re typically lower in alcohol and tannin, aren’t as aggressive with oak and higher in acid. If that’s what you’re going for, try a very light crush or only de-stem with no crush if that’s an option for you. This allows for some more enzymatic fermentation internal to the berry and will help retain some fruitiness. Just remember when you press there will be sugar left and you’ll need to let fermentation complete after pressing. Also when doing this with Pinot you’ll need to be diligent with yeast nutrition and monitor for any off smells, pinot is finicky and takes some extra attention at times.

Yes, ferment on the skins. Red wine gets its color, tannin, structure etc from the skins and seeds.

I would not recommend skipping MLF, you’ll want the conversion to lactic to round out your acid. Also, this will give you a stable wine and alleviate the risk of MLF in bottle, which can lead to off aromas, bad flavors and ever busted bottles.
 

tradowsk

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Thanks for the advice @BI81!

I should clarify: my usual go-to wines are big reds, but I'm also a fan of medium amd light body ones as long as they don't have a watery characteristic to them like I've gotten from a lot of commercial pinots. Hence my questions for how to make a balanced pinot. I have a bunch of cab bottles aging away currently, so time to expand into new varietals.

I was leaning toward the no-crush ferment as you mentioned, I believe that's what the winery I'm getting the grapes from does. I'm assuming you do crush a portion of them up front to release some juice though, right?

I'll rethink the MLF then, I hadn't considered it spontaneously occurring later in the process. I'll talk to the winemaker and see what he uses since I really like the pinot he makes.
 

Snafflebit

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If that’s what you’re going for, try a very light crush or only de-stem with no crush if that’s an option for you. This allows for some more enzymatic fermentation internal to the berry and will help retain some fruitiness.
On my batch of merlot grapes I did a hand destem and on a second batch of cab sauv I used a crusher/destemmer. I am noticing the merlot smells much fruitier and the berries have about 1/4 of the juice left in them after 1 week of ferment.
 

ZebraB

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I am trying Pinot for my first time. I found this presentation on line. Page 21 starts talking about making Pinot Noir. It talks about different styles and how to process for the different styles. As NoCal stated previously to me do not follow day but use the hydrometer to guide, but it is pretty clear to delineate this since you have done other wines.
 

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tradowsk

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I am trying Pinot for my first time. I found this presentation on line. Page 21 starts talking about making Pinot Noir. It talks about different styles and how to process for the different styles. As NoCal stated previously to me do not follow day but use the hydrometer to guide, but it is pretty clear to delineate this since you have done other wines.
That is an insanely helpful presentation, thank you very much for sharing it!! I was actually reading through your other thread last night, got a lot of good info front there as well.
 

tradowsk

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Well I got my grapes!

They're cold soaking until tomorrow night, then I'll let them warm up over night and pitch on Thursday. Will co-inoculate with Wyeast 4007 MLB sometime on Friday.

Thanks for all the help everyone!
 

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