I made 20 gallons of chambourcin from grapes this year and plan to make a semi-sweet with a portion of it. I'm not sure whether to oak the part I plan to sweeten. Any suggestions, experiences, etc with sweet chambourcin?
I would think the oak would appreciate the sweetness. oak will add tannin which give the perception of a dry mouth or as stated dryness. sugar will provide sweetenss seems like puling in opposite directions..
I usually oak and malolactic my chambourcin and that dramatically changes its flavor to be softer and more subtle. I made a rose with it a while back which was not oaked or put through MLF. The flavors were quite nice with notes of cranberry. So it may not need any oak at all. Medium-toasted oak would impart some vanilla to the wine that may complement it well, though I would go lightly with this if you are going to do it so it wouldn't overwhelm the fruit.
This year was the first year i got any crop from my grapes. To get more volume of wine, i combined my chambourcin with Ives, which i hadnt realized is a cousin of concord. So, now, i have a sweet chambourcin. I was really thinking of oaking mine as well. I only have 8 gallons, so i may oak half of it and see where it goes.
Let me know how you go with yours and how it turns out. Ill keep you posted on mine as well!