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ZebraB

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This is my first year fermenting from grapes so a lot to learn. My pinot noir just completed MLF and it tastes much better than when it was pressed. It was weak and now has more depth of flavor. So I am wondering if there is any flavor that the wine gets from the fine lees for red wines? I stirred each week during MLF to try to keep the bacteria feed, but could it also add flavor like Sur lie with Chardonnays? Or could it hurt the flavor if I leave it on the lees longer (assuming that I do add SO2)?
 

CoteRotie

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After pressing, I settle my Pinots in stainless, then rack once into barrel. After that I age in barrel for 1 year without racking at all. That's been very successful for me with Pinot.

Other varieties like Syrah would need racking along the way as they tend to have reductive characteristics.

Of course depending on your fruit, what you're aging in and what style you're going for you might want to try other methods. If you get your fruit from the same source every year you get to know the grapes and how to work with them.
 

ZebraB

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Sounds like a good plan. Pinots have a rep for being less is more. I will rack off the MLF carboy into another carboy with some French oak (I don't have a barrel) then leave it be for next year (except for some SO2 management).

I plan to buy more grapes from the same family next year. The flavor of the grapes were very good even in this cool weather year in non AVA area. Good honest hardworking folks that take pride in growing the grapes.
 

NorCal

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It’s a stylistic decision for whites, but I cannot say I’ve heard of batonnage or sur lee aging of reds. Not saying it’s not being done, but I don’t think it’s a common practice for reds. Although just based on the racking and a 12-24 month barrel schedule you could say that reds are all sur lee aged.
 

BI81

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Sur lies aging reds have some benefits, but can also have some negatives and requires a bit more babysitting.

The positives are mostly due to mannoproteins being release from yeast autolysis. They can aid in reducing astringency, improving color stability (in some cases), and enhanced perception of sweetness.

There’s also a release of some yeast metabolites that can contribute to a fruitier sensory profile, lower the impact of some carbonyl compounds such as diacetyl, and help to release some aromatic compounds.

Now for the downsides....increased volatile acidity, reduced sulfur odors, and in some cases a reduction in color. It’s also important to stir (battonage) and introduce oxygen to prevent a reduced environment and resulting volatile sulfur compounds.

All wines experience some of the benefits unless they’re racked excessively. Personally I rack as soon as MLF completes, I don’t find the risk to be worth the reward.
 

ZebraB

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I miss quoted since I racked 24 hrs after press so it is fine lees and not gross lees. I will follow CotieRotie lead by let it sit Unsired on the fine lees for 1 year. I did have some left over, so I have one bottle that I pored the original fine lees from the bottom of the carboy to experiment with. We will see in a year. Not the best test since it will not age that long, but hopefully give me some direction for next year.
 

Booty Juice

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Two of my (older) relatives in Chicago (where there is a large Slovenian population) leave their reds on the fine lees. One does not stir. One does stir and claims that if you stir, you must do so "enough but not too much". Which I suspect is why the other one doesn't bother. I drank his (don't stir) 2018 CS with him 2 weeks ago and was excellent.
 

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