What to do with Pinot Noir, light visually and in total body...

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Chris Johnson

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There’s some old articles out there where Ponsot said he never tasted his Pinot before April/May and he never made any decisions about it until later. I did 6 different Pinots in 2019. My favorites in the tank are not my favorites now. It is maddening how fickle the wines can be. One from Santa Cruz has taken almost a year to get over bottling and finally sorting itself out. With OR Pinot, it takes more time. I helped a friend make OR Pinot from the valley floor in 2011 and that wine didn’t shine until year 4. As for blending, I made some in 2018 and had a little PV leftover. Blended 10% to it and it blew apart the Pinot.
 

MiBor

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put some mega-purple in it and call it Meiomi
Or maybe add one bottle of Meiomi per carboy to fix the light color (and maybe add some Tannin Estate) than let it develop on its own for a few months. It may come around and be ready to bottle by end of the summer when you'll need the carboys for the new wine you'll be making this fall.
 

Booty Juice

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There’s some old articles out there where Ponsot said he never tasted his Pinot before April/May and he never made any decisions about it until later. I did 6 different Pinots in 2019. My favorites in the tank are not my favorites now. It is maddening how fickle the wines can be. One from Santa Cruz has taken almost a year to get over bottling and finally sorting itself out. With OR Pinot, it takes more time. I helped a friend make OR Pinot from the valley floor in 2011 and that wine didn’t shine until year 4. As for blending, I made some in 2018 and had a little PV leftover. Blended 10% to it and it blew apart the Pinot.
This +1.

It's obviously all down to personal preference, but I wouldn't do anything with it for a LONG time. PN's are fickle af, but if you used good fruit it should come around. Eventually. Maybe.
 

Booty Juice

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Greetings Crushday,

I see that you are making (frozen must bucket) PN from the WV and are growing PN vines – very nice! You must be very enthusiastic about this varietal. I’m familiar with the Dundee Hills region (AVA) but not the specific Dundee Hills Vineyard you referenced.

I also see that you are from the Pac NW, which means that you have potential access to some extremely good PN fruit at very reasonable prices. Having relatives, friends and business in Portland, the WV is where I first talked to winemakers 10 or so years ago when I started making PN. They are rightly very proud of their PN’s and Chard’s as they are of excellent quality – and a great value (land costs are low).

A link to some WV information:

Everyvine

Some things I learned from winemakers up there:

Like the CA Central Coast, it’s common for PN to be fermented with partial whole clusters. Very common. WV PN can also have a lighter color and different acidity / flavor profiles due to the cooler climate, so I would not necessarily fret about the color.

The winemakers I met there were all very open about discussing their techniques (in a general way), and it has since become fairly common for wineries to do the same on their web sites. You might want to check out some of your favorites.

My experience with making PN (I no longer do) lead me to:

Like any wine making, the quality of the fruit is most important.

Native ferments (a personal preference), partial whole cluster ferments (25% or more), leave the free run gross lees intact for the duration of aging (12 to 20 months), light oak.

This is just broad brush stuff as I don’t want to bore - but I will say that making PN can result in delicious wines, but the journey can also be quite the carnival ride!

Good luck and all the best to you!
 

crushday

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leave the free run gross lees intact for the duration of aging (12 to 20 months)
All great information and advice. Leaving the gross lees intact for the aging period is an interesting notion. I'll have to check into that. Native ferments - meaning not to inoculate with another yeast - go au naturale?

A couple years ago I planted 20 PN vines. They are doing great and I wanted increase my capacity this year. Based on advice from this morning I was able to store the 60 left in peat moss. I'll take care of them when I get home from Montana. The 40 I did plant are on an automatic drip system and is not expanded yet to accommodate the others.

Thanks for everything!
 
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