Powerful Pinot noir

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Dec 26, 2018
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Would like to hear from the pros on what to do with this :)
Did 2 runs with 2021 grapes last year of around 200 Liters each:
1 cab-merlot-syrah blend and 1 Pinot Noir.
"New" this year for me was addition of a little wood chips during primary ferm followed by MLF fermentation on both.
The blend is pretty much bang on (started with SpGr at 1.107 and pressed at 0.995) and seems balanced today.
PN however had fairly high starting SpGr. at 1.117, and I thought I brought it down and read 0.995, so I pressed.
Since its PN, and didnt want a super dark colour, I stopped punching 2 days before, and I think this led me to have higher SpGr than what I was reading (got like 0.999 today).
11 months later, I have a super dark, sweet, and strong Pinot noir (almost port like)

Should I have "ameliorated" (added water to must) at beginning ?
Is this done often with PN ?
Any thoughts on what to do ?
Is diluting it at this stage a faux pas ?
Does adding chips during Primary fermentation give alot more aroma?
I usually added chips in the second year while its ageing, and with a bigger amount, and never get this type of aroma

Thanks !
Nov 5, 2006
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Raleigh, NC, USA
Reducing the OG would have been a good idea. My 2019 Merlot and Zinfandel came in around 15.7% ABV and both are finally mellowing. If you have a lower ABV PN, try bench testing blends. Reducing very high OG can be done with any wine.

I would not add water now -- you're diluting the character. Blending is a better choice.

Sweet? What yeast did you use? If it's got residual sugar, make a starter with EC-1118 to finish it.

Fermentation oak stabilizes tannin (oak tannin drops post-fermentation instead of grape tannin), stabilizes color, and improves mouth feel and fruit. I'm not sure about aroma, but that does fit.

Fermentation oak and aging oak have different effects.
Mar 10, 2021
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Another possible strategy for dealing with high SG/overripe grapes would be to crush, run-off a certain percentage of free run, then bring back up to the original volume with acidulated water. This would obviously need to be done prior to fermentation, but may give preferable results over diluting the entire must. It would also give the option to create a lighter rose type wine with the free run.

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