Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

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Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #1  Postby JonoBeagle » September 16th 2011, 8:08am

For those who are interested, here are: some incomprehensible thoughts about Maison Ilan in Nuits St Georges and the 2011 Burgundy harvest.

Ray, if anything needs changing [soap.gif] let me know! [cheers.gif]
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Post #2  Postby Josh Shields » September 16th 2011, 10:09am

Well done Jonathan! Very informative.

Very much enjoyed the pic with the fog over Clos de Beze. Always interesting seeing the source of all the wines you drink and read about.
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Post #3  Postby Sean Connor » September 16th 2011, 11:12am

Excellent piece Jonathan. Also interesting to learn that white grapes are allowable in red Burgundy.

Best of luck to Ray with the harvest.
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Post #4  Postby JonoBeagle » September 16th 2011, 12:46pm

Thanks for the comments... Despite loving the wines it was news to me as well... And shows that it really isn't about the grape but about the soils.

When the mutations were not to a great extent obvious, all the mutations that had flavour went into the tanks. It is considered good luck to throw them in, but with the Mazoyeres there was just too much and it would have made the wine dilute. Of course, for measure and fatigue berries and the odd mistaken bunch went in.

In Le Chambertin we had probably three bunches of Pinot Blanc (one we ate, two went in) and a few bunches of Pinot Gris and Burreaux of which most was chucked because Burreaux isn't very interesting and Pinot Gris can look like water berries even when fully ripe!
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Post #5  Postby G. Greenbaum » September 16th 2011, 2:30pm

Sean Connor wrote:Also interesting to learn that white grapes are allowable in red Burgundy.



And red grapes are allowed in white Burgundy. Crazy huh?
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Post #6  Postby Roy Piper » September 17th 2011, 11:54am

The author cannot mean two punchdowns...period, right? He meant 2 punchdowns per day, I assume? Otherwise how would you get the color and tannin out of the skins and into the juice if they are not in contact during fermentation? The cap would just rise to the top after a few hours and sit there for a week. Mis-translation?
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Post #7  Postby Berry Crawford » September 17th 2011, 11:56am

Roy Piper wrote:The author cannot mean two punchdowns...period, right? He meant 2 punchdowns per day, I assume? Otherwise how would you get the color and tannin out of the skins and into the juice if they are not in contact during fermentation? The cap would just rise to the top after a few hours and sit there for a week. Mis-translation?


Ray will often do just 2 to 4 punchdowns a fermentation.

Color is significantly overrated and havnt heard anyone complain about Ray's wines lacking tannin.
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Post #8  Postby Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 17th 2011, 11:56am

Roy Piper wrote:The author cannot mean two punchdowns...period, right? He meant 2 punchdowns per day, I assume? Otherwise how would you get the color and tannin out of the skins and into the juice if they are not in contact during fermentation? The cap would just rise to the top after a few hours and sit there for a week. Mis-translation?

Not a typo or mistranslation.
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Post #9  Postby Roy Piper » September 17th 2011, 11:59am

Berry Crawford wrote:Color is significantly overrated and havnt heard anyone complain about Ray's wines lacking tannin.


Can you please tell me how color and tannin go to the juice if 98% of the cap is not in contact with the juice during fermentation? I gotta think he meant twice per day.
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Post #10  Postby Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 17th 2011, 12:03pm

Roy Piper wrote:
Berry Crawford wrote:Color is significantly overrated and havnt heard anyone complain about Ray's wines lacking tannin.


Can you please tell me how color and tannin go to the juice if 98% of the cap is not in contact with the juice during fermentation? I gotta think he meant twice per day.

He didn't. As to your first question: I don't know. But, I can guarantee there's been no mis-translation or typo.
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Post #11  Postby Berry Crawford » September 17th 2011, 12:04pm

Roy Piper wrote:Can you please tell me how color and tannin go to the juice if 98% of the cap is not in contact with the juice during fermentation?


Some go into the juice. Just not as much as if one is constantly punching down.

Ive stuck my arm into a cap of fermenting pinot with a floating cap and the bottom part was totally saturated with juice so its not like there is no contact at all.

Roy Piper wrote:I gotta think he meant twice per day.


Ive talked to Ray about this at length. its 2 to 4 times per fermentation. Everyone told him he was crazy but the results speak for themselves.
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Post #12  Postby Roy Piper » September 17th 2011, 12:36pm

Well, if he really does do twice during the life of fermentation, then he has charted a path no one else has ever done that I know of. Barry, even your favorite, Joseph Swan, does about 3 pumpovers/punchdowns per day during fermentation. Littorai does 2-4/day. Arcadian 3-4/day. Clos Pepe 2-3/day. These are not highly extracted wines. I have never met or heard of a winemaker doing less than 1-2 per day, much less two per cycle. I am gonna ask Ray about this because it goes against the basic Pinot protocol, if true. Not only that, but there are risks to not keeping the cap wet as well, such as the formation of acedic acid and mold. I am curious to learn more about this and would love to know what other Pinot makers do about cap mangement. But I know most of them and one of the first things I ask is how many times they punch down and I've never heard of less than 2x/day during fermentation until now. I am always up for learning about new techniques.
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Post #13  Postby Berry Crawford » September 17th 2011, 12:48pm

Roy Piper wrote:Well, if he really does do twice during the life of fermentation, then he has charted a path no one else has ever done that I know of. Barry, even your favorite, Joseph Swan, does about 3 pumpovers/punchdowns per day during fermentation. Littorai does 2-4/day. Arcadian 3-4/day. Clos Pepe 2-3/day. These are not highly extracted wines. I have never met or heard of a winemaker doing less than 1-2 per day, much less two per cycle. I am gonna ask Ray about this because it goes against the basic Pinot protocol, if true. Not only that, but there are risks to not keeping the cap wet as well, such as the formation of acedic acid and mold. I am curious to learn more about this and would love to know what other Pinot makers do about cap mangement. But I know most of them and one of the first things I ask is how many times they punch down and I've never heard of less than 2x/day during fermentation until now. I am always up for learning about new techniques.


During Ray's first vintage he told me he was only puching down a few times and I was really worried. Lots of people were telling him he was making a mistake so your take on this is totally reasonable. But as it turns out the vintage appears to be a great success for him so he has been vindicated.

Here is Alan Meadow's take on the vintage. IIRC these wines got 3 punchdowns:

http://domaineilan.files.wordpress.com/ ... d-pdf1.pdf

I will be curious what Ray does the first time he encounters a "light" vintage where extraction may take on greater importance.
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Post #14  Postby Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 17th 2011, 2:06pm

Berry,

Do you not perceive 2011 as a "light" vintage?
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Post #15  Postby Berry Crawford » September 17th 2011, 2:10pm

Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:Do you not perceive 2011 as a "light" vintage?


From what Ive gathered it sounds like the extract is good despite the lack of sugar ripeness.
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Post #16  Postby JonoBeagle » September 17th 2011, 2:21pm

Ray did talk about 3 punchdowns for the wines this year, but the colours were already fairly strong... For all the wines... The punchdowns are all fairly gentle and so is placing in tank and sorting, so a lot of the berries remain in tact. (a benefit of being small perhaps??) and so colours are fairly strong.

Of course in a lighter vintage things may have to change a touch but we are talking about terroir and Burgundy; not as it were a grape variety. Ray is interested in intensity of flavour and as such as said to me directly that he would make a Wine that looked like Rose if it tasted good... "that would be cool". What he wants is terroir! If that means compromising on colour, then so be it!!

The wines as you can see from the Volnay (about to go into barrel and had only two punch downs) was vibrant!!! Colours also tend to change as well when not on the skins but in barrel.

I think a key is that whole berries (mainly as destemming will break some of them) but if there is less punch down, more will remain in tact and will effectively ferment within itself and still gain colour. Of course, no one can be sure but I can guarantee that was not a typo or misquote from me and I have watched all this take place and tasted vibrantly coloured wines and juice.

What Ray does is working... How, perhaps even he doesn't know? What we do know is that everyone starts by telling him he is wrong/it won't work and then are amazed when they taste the wines!!!


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Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #17  Postby JonoBeagle » September 17th 2011, 2:25pm

Flavours are ripe, skins are fairly thick, acids are good but the grapes are not "sweet" per se! In terms of extract, I don't feel that a lot is needed.


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Post #18  Postby Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 17th 2011, 2:55pm

Berry Crawford wrote:
Brian G r a f s t r o m wrote:Do you not perceive 2011 as a "light" vintage?


From what Ive gathered it sounds like the extract is good despite the lack of sugar ripeness.


That is good to hear. [basic-smile.gif]
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Post #19  Postby Ray Walker » September 18th 2011, 1:12am

Hey everyone, thanks for the interest

In 2009, I was about to have some grapes in my hands, with no real experience of what exactly why things happen and figured that I should figure a few of these things out for myself. I could have taken the help from people that obviously knew much more the I did/do, but I figured that would be cheating. Plus, it is much more exciting to make your own path, even if it means failure. I looked at every process that might come up…having no experience, I didn't know exactly what would come up, but I went with my gut and decided to use intuition where my knowledge was lacking. As it turns out, I ended up using my intuition throughout the process. Much of what I did was based upon common sense or more accurately what made sense to me.

When looking at punchdowns, I figured you needed to keep the cap damp (not necessarily wet), and that you hoped to gain extraction of flavors, some color (dependent on the type, force and quantity involved in the method) and that you may want a bit of tannin as well. I was worried about breaking seeds or any stems that found their way into the cuve. So, it made sense to use my feet. Not sure if that would work, I tried to balance on the tank with a punchdown tool in hand and found myself too far away from the wine. I figured with three wines, I wanted to be as up close as possible. The upshot was that I still wouldn't be worried about breaking seeds, so it made sense to actually do what I thought was more fun and interesting.

Pump overs involved a pump, which immediately made it not an option for me. Color was something that I didn't care about. If it looked like a rosé, so be it. I used a tea making analogy, and basically decided to expand on it. Long story short, I figured that I didn't need to extract much to get acceptable (to me) flavor, color was overrated, and that like tea, too much pressing risked muddling the subtle nuances. With this in mind, I decided to keep the punch downs manual (pigeage a pied) actually entering into the tank, not just feet. The count in total throughout the fermentation would be kept to three at the most and that I wouldn't stay in there longer than 3 minutes. There are many reasons for doing this, but I don't wish to write too much.

As it turned out, I decided that for the first wine (Morey 1er Cru Chaffots) that came in, I did 3 punch downs total, for the second wine (Charmes Chambertin Aux Charmes Haute), I did two times total, and for the last wine, I punched it down just once. The people I was sharing the facility with said that I was crazy, that such appellations deserved better than three punchdowns, let alone one (Le Chambertin). I was told that my wines would look like rose, would be pale, wouldn't have structure, wouldn't have intensity and be bland, etc. I figured that if I took their advice in doing two to three times a day (they are both grads from Beaune's oenology program) that I would be working on their wines. I needed to work on my own wines.

I cannot say that this has paid off or it hasn't. I only have Premier and Grand Cru Fruit sources so there is still too much time that needs to pass before saying more.

In 2010, due to being irritated by using a 2.5 new barrels and having to explain this variable in my input between the wines, along with the variable of using some stems on the Morey, I became even more obsessed with aligned input to the point of settling on three times total punch downs for each wine, as well as having everything else I could control beyond the berries themselves even with each other. I did a few other things in getting everything aligned, but I am happy with the progress that I made in doing this. Also, there are other considerations that are involved in doing things this way, but to be more precise here means that I risk making the mistake of actually seeming like I know anything about any of this.

There are still many things left to do improve in this pursuit which will no doubt be imperfect, but it is intellectually stimulating for me. Keep in mind that this isn't for pulling out the 'most' potential from each site or 'highlighting' what is 'good' in each terroir, it is an attempt at having an even starting point for each. I have my thoughts on the others concepts above, but this is for a different discussion.

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Post #20  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 2:12am

I remember the tea conversation... [smileyvault-ban.gif]

It made a lot of sense, considering tea is like Pinot quite fickle and needs nurturing as oppose to producing, to my poncy British Tea Council Tea Master accredited arse, it made perfect sense and it did so to my wife, Japanese and also accredited.

Tea also has terroir. Darjeeling makes Burgundy look like Bordeaux. [snort.gif] for me it is the Burgundy of tea... And it is very delicate. Still it packs a lot of complex flavour... So I don't see why Pinot can't live with as few punchdowns as possible.

For me it is about flavour, not Colour (unless it is black and inky, and I am not interested) and I never mention Colour in my tasting notes. Dark/black for me refers to flavour intensity.
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Post #21  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 10:22am

JonoBeagle wrote:
Tea also has terroir. Darjeeling makes Burgundy look like Bordeaux. [snort.gif] for me it is the Burgundy of tea... And it is very delicate. Still it packs a lot of complex flavour... So I don't see why Pinot can't live with as few punchdowns as possible.


But when is the last time you dipped your tea bag in the hot water just 2 times and then left 80% of the bag out of the water during the seeping?
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Post #22  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 10:32am

Roy, real tea is loose-leaf! Tea bags are a bit like two buck chuck. ;-)


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Post #23  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 10:38am

Don't get me wrong, Ray and I get along great and I am not saying he has messed up. If his wines are getting 92+ from Meadows then the results speak for themselves. I am just saying that, having been involved in the fermentation of hundreds of lots of wine and knowing the science of it quite well, and knowing what most good winemakers do as their protocol, it seems scary to me to leave a cap un-immersed for days on end. It also seems like a possible missed opportunity.

I agree that for Pinot color is not correlated to quality (see anything off Rosella's Vineyard or Keefer,) but those skins that leech that color also hold much of the yummy stuff and the idea that much of it is not getting extracted makes me wonder what might happen if Ray took a small tank of the good, fully ripe stuff and punched down 2x/day in the cold soak. 3x a day in the ferment down to 5 brix or so, then press off and go to barrel "warm." Might be nectar of the gods good. The worst that happens is that he gets to see directly the effects of more extraction.

In looking at his pics on his site I see his tanks are a bit conical in shape and this probably means the cap is more extended and more in contact with the juice, but I would still highly recommend taking a few gallons of juice at least once a day and pouring it over the top to keep the cap "wet." I think he is dodging a bullet by not doing this. But I have not had his wines yet, and others tell me they are great, so the proof is in the pudding.
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Post #24  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 10:44am

JonoBeagle wrote:Roy, real tea is loose-leaf! Tea bags are a bit like two buck chuck. ;-)


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In all seriousness, the tea bag analogy is the right one. Loose leaf naturally immerses in the water, sinking to the bottom. The cap does not, just like tea bags naturally float the top unless you immerse them.

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Post #25  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 10:58am

Whilst I will admit to knowing less of the technicalities than yourself. It was interesting to see and to hear of how many unbroken berries were in the tanks at the bottom when punching down. Which makes me think that there is enough contact between what juice has leached out and skins... Of course, technically this all may be wrong but whatever is happening... Ray is making wines that are very very good with great poise.

Which to cut a long story short makes me think that Ray is getting the loose leaf affect without really working for it perhaps, but I will leave it at that, before I make a fool of myself!!

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Post #26  Postby Ray Walker » September 18th 2011, 11:11am

Roy Piper wrote:Don't get me wrong, Ray and I get along great and I am not saying he has messed up. If his wines are getting 92+ from Meadows then the results speak for themselves. I am just saying that, having been involved in the fermentation of hundreds of lots of wine and knowing the science of it quite well, and knowing what most good winemakers do as their protocol, it seems scary to me to leave a cap un-immersed for days on end. It also seems like a possible missed opportunity.

I agree that for Pinot color is not correlated to quality (see anything off Rosella's Vineyard or Keefer,) but those skins that leech that color also hold much of the yummy stuff and the idea that much of it is not getting extracted makes me wonder what might happen if Ray took a small tank of the good, fully ripe stuff and punched down 2x/day in the cold soak. 3x a day in the ferment down to 5 brix or so, then press off and go to barrel "warm." Might be nectar of the gods good. The worst that happens is that he gets to see directly the effects of more extraction.

In looking at his pics on his site I see his tanks are a bit conical in shape and this probably means the cap is more extended and more in contact with the juice, but I would still highly recommend taking a few gallons of juice at least once a day and pouring it over the top to keep the cap "wet." I think he is dodging a bullet by not doing this. But I have not had his wines yet, and others tell me they are great, so the proof is in the pudding.



Hey Roy
as you said, we do get along well, despite your love for cabs and such. I agree that there is certainly a missed opportunity to get more extraction, more intensity... more color, more tannin and reduce some risk. That said, most of these things align fairly well with what I am interested in personally. And, while I am Very happy to have people enjoy the wines today and to receive excellent praise from people that I respect and admire, wine is a constantly moving target. To taste something is to witness just a snapshot. So, it can be a mistake, but it is fun nonetheless and it drives me intellectually. Lets be clear, I truly enjoy wines of producers that do things which are the opposite of what I do, and I have had discussions with them on these topics. Everyone does what they prefer and there is never one size that fits all when taste is considered.

I will say that looking at the results of the punch down regime in 09 and 10 that I don't want for any increased extraction. It may be appealing or 'the right thing to do' to many, most or some, but it wouldn't be interesting to me.

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Post #27  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 11:14am

JonoBeagle wrote:Whilst I will admit to knowing less of the technicalities than yourself. It was interesting to see and to hear of how many unbroken berries were in the tanks at the bottom when punching down.


My guess is he is not crushing the berries before going to tank. Not uncommon. Many employ this method, including myself. Often the juice will ferment in the berry and the juice will burst out on it's own. Also, it leads to a sweeter press wine, as often some of those berries still have some sugar fermenting in them. Has nothing to do with the cap itself. Also, the cap does sink once fermentation comes to an end and before it ferments there is no cap, so it may appear that the berries are immersed depending on when you are watching the process.
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Post #28  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 11:21am

Ray Walker wrote:Hey Roy
as you said, we do get along well, despite your love for cabs and such. I agree that there is certainly a missed opportunity to get more extraction, more intensity... more color, more tannin and reduce some risk. That said, most of these things align fairly well with what I am interested in personally. And, while I am Very happy to have people enjoy the wines today and to receive excellent praise from people that I respect and admire, wine is a constantly moving target. To taste something is to witness just a snapshot. So, it can be a mistake, but it is fun nonetheless and it drives me intellectually. Lets be clear, I truly enjoy wines of producers that do things which are the opposite of what I do, and I have had discussions with them on these topics. Everyone does what they prefer and there is never one size that fits all when taste is considered.

I will say that looking at the results of the punch down regime in 09 and 10 that I don't want for any increased extraction. It may be appealing or 'the right thing to do' to many, most or some, but it wouldn't be interesting to me.


Note to the board watchers.... this is essentially what we would be talking about off the boards in private and in this case everyone is seeing it "in the open" instead. Don't mistake all of this for a rant/disagreement. Comparing notes, discussing options is what we all do.

Ray, the level of extraction should be geared for the nature of the vintage, as you know, so I trust you have some instinct on what is right for your ferments. But if you get the chance to do a more extractive experiment with a portion of a vintage, I highly recommend giving it a shot. We are not talking a Cab level here, but simply what people like Ted Lemon and many others with a nod to Burgundy. Nothing to lose, much to potentially gain. At the worst some intellectual edification one way or the other and even more confidence in your own path. I think you did more working of the cap in Somoma, correct? Also, do you ferment with stems or de-stem? Often, fermenting with stems leads to the berries being immersed more since the stems keep a more homogeneous structure to the contents of the tank/bin.
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Post #29  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 11:42am

Roy, thanks for the info... Very interesting.

Of course, wine is about discussion and this one is becoming more informative by the minute.

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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #30  Postby Berry Crawford » September 18th 2011, 11:45am

Roy Piper wrote:the level of extraction should be geared for the nature of the vintage


As a consumer who buys these types of wines I would reject the axiom that one should always extract as much as a particular vintage allows. That kind of thinking is predicated upon the assumption that more extraction is always better and one would only back off if the vintage wasn't allowing more. I would very strongly but respectfully disagree with that.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #31  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 11:49am

Berry Crawford wrote:
Roy Piper wrote:the level of extraction should be geared for the nature of the vintage


As a consumer who buys these types of wines I would reject the axiom that one should always extract as much as a particular vintage allows. That kind of thinking is predicated upon the assumption that more extraction is always better and one would only back off if the vintage wasn't allowing more. I would very strongly but respectfully disagree with that.


So you are disagreeing with my quote that you should gear the level of extraction to the vintage.... how? Where did I say "more extraction is always better?" My very quote obviously states the opposite.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #32  Postby Ray Walker » September 18th 2011, 11:56am

Roy Piper wrote:
Ray Walker wrote:Hey Roy
as you said, we do get along well, despite your love for cabs and such. I agree that there is certainly a missed opportunity to get more extraction, more intensity... more color, more tannin and reduce some risk. That said, most of these things align fairly well with what I am interested in personally. And, while I am Very happy to have people enjoy the wines today and to receive excellent praise from people that I respect and admire, wine is a constantly moving target. To taste something is to witness just a snapshot. So, it can be a mistake, but it is fun nonetheless and it drives me intellectually. Lets be clear, I truly enjoy wines of producers that do things which are the opposite of what I do, and I have had discussions with them on these topics. Everyone does what they prefer and there is never one size that fits all when taste is considered.

I will say that looking at the results of the punch down regime in 09 and 10 that I don't want for any increased extraction. It may be appealing or 'the right thing to do' to many, most or some, but it wouldn't be interesting to me.


Note to the board watchers.... this is essentially what we would be talking about off the boards in private and in this case everyone is seeing it "in the open" instead. Don't mistake all of this for a rant/disagreement. Comparing notes, discussing options is what we all do.

Ray, the level of extraction should be geared for the nature of the vintage, as you know, so I trust you have some instinct on what is right for your ferments. But if you get the chance to do a more extractive experiment with a portion of a vintage, I highly recommend giving it a shot. We are not talking a Cab level here, but simply what people like Ted Lemon and many others with a nod to Burgundy. Nothing to lose, much to potentially gain. At the worst some intellectual edification one way or the other and even more confidence in your own path. I think you did more working of the cap in Somoma, correct? Also, do you ferment with stems or de-stem? Often, fermenting with stems leads to the berries being immersed more since the stems keep a more homogeneous structure to the contents of the tank/bin.


Nope, not true. Everyone, this is a classic Roy rant! Just kidding.

First off, I completely agree that I may be leaving something on the table. I don't need an experiment for that. Its true. But, what that 'something' comes with are things that I am not interested in. I'd take the intensity, but I may lose nuance. I'd have to take darker color perhaps along with increased skin based tannin. The results may taste wonderful but it backs in to another one of my choices on doing things the same year over year without prejudice to the vintage. This is a LONG opinion, so I will just say that I am again leaving things on the table in years that Clearly present opportunities with regard to stems, extraction, etc. It is not interesting to me to make adjustments based upon biases for a vintage or consumer base. The wines are as I think they are most interesting to me. If I make assumptions for what a vintage or vineyard or consumer base wants, I will most surely lose by a large margin since I have let go of my core intentions which are to have excellent fruit and to be fair,careful, conscious and even in my methods in the hope that the resulting wines will taste more like their place of origin than what general biases may suggest, be they mine or other's.

There is something to 'gain', but it comes at the cost of knowing what it would be like to remain neutral year over year to see what happens. Knowing exactly how these climats respond to different vintages is more important than maximizing or taking advantage of something. Besides, for every move left, I move further away from those on the right. It makes more sense to be even in my methods so that there are biases, but dealed evenly.

I do de-stem everything. Only one wine was not 100% de-stemmed and that is another story for another night.

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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #33  Postby Berry Crawford » September 18th 2011, 11:59am

Roy Piper wrote:
Berry Crawford wrote:
Roy Piper wrote:the level of extraction should be geared for the nature of the vintage


As a consumer who buys these types of wines I would reject the axiom that one should always extract as much as a particular vintage allows. That kind of thinking is predicated upon the assumption that more extraction is always better and one would only back off if the vintage wasn't allowing more. I would very strongly but respectfully disagree with that.


So you are disagreeing with my quote that you should gear the level of extraction to the vintage.... how? Where did I say "more extraction is always better?" My very quote obviously states the opposite.


I felt that you were implying that but clearly I was wrong. I apologize.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #34  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 12:13pm

I do believe in more extraction and also more heat during the fermentation of Bordeaux varietals than Pinot. But even I will back off on Cab if ripeness levels are not optimum or if I source off a high-tannin vineyard like Howell Mtn. It depends on what you are trying to extract out. You extract and taste, extract and taste. After doing it many, many times you start to project where the fermentation is going and make some kind of guess where to start backing off. But sometimes you have such a perfect lot from such a perfect vineyard and with such beautiful tannin, that you want to leave nothing left in the grape. The key is knowing the difference between the two.

Pinot, by its nature, requires even more careful consideration. Burgundy probably even more so. My guess (and that is all it is) is that if I had a Musigny, I would be careful about extracting too much and if I had a Chambertin, I might be willing to extract more. But even that depends on the vintage and the block and the kind of wine you like to drink. If I was sourcing from Rosella's, I might be more careful but if from Pisoni, I could be interested in more extraction. This is the kind of question I plan to ask when I make my way back down to the Central Coast in Jan/Feb. I am always up for learning more.
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Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #35  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 12:40pm

Ray, somehow I think that with your meticulous sorting regime... :-) that in a difficult vintage where ripening was a problem or where tannins are green your wines may end up being the same, but just in tiny quantities... [cheers.gif]
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #36  Postby Mike During » September 18th 2011, 12:41pm

The mention of Ted Lemon as a reference point for fine Pinot has me worried. I tasted his Burn Cottage Otago wine and IMHO it is a overworked disaster, a Pinot made as Cali Cabernet... nothing at all what I like about Pinot and certainly nothing to do with what Pinot, let alone Burgundy, should be like.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #37  Postby Berry Crawford » September 18th 2011, 1:01pm

Mike During wrote:The mention of Ted Lemon as a reference point for fine Pinot has me worried. I tasted his Burn Cottage Otago wine and IMHO it is a overworked disaster, a Pinot made as Cali Cabernet... nothing at all what I like about Pinot and certainly nothing to do with what Pinot, let alone Burgundy, should be like.


Ted's wines are too big and ripe to my subjective tastes. The wines are vey well made but very far from what I'm looking for.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #38  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 1:26pm

Berry Crawford wrote:
Mike During wrote:The mention of Ted Lemon as a reference point for fine Pinot has me worried. I tasted his Burn Cottage Otago wine and IMHO it is a overworked disaster, a Pinot made as Cali Cabernet... nothing at all what I like about Pinot and certainly nothing to do with what Pinot, let alone Burgundy, should be like.


Ted's wines are too big and ripe to my subjective tastes. The wines are vey well made but very far from what I'm looking for.


Forget names! Okay, lets look at Josh Jensen at Calera....

"We punch down twice a day for 14 days in fermentors."

So that is 28 turns of the juice, 14x what we are talking about here. You people are missing the point. I don't care who you are talking about, Ray is doing it different than anyone I know. It seems to be working, cool. I am just saying, no one else I know does this. In the end, what matters is the final result and if Ray's result is awesome juice... well... great! I just got off the phone with Ray and if next year is as far apart for harvest as Burgundy and Napa is this year, I might well go an do a week-long internship for him and see this in action myself.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #39  Postby Ray Walker » September 18th 2011, 1:30pm

Roy Piper wrote:I do believe in more extraction and also more heat during the fermentation of Bordeaux varietals than Pinot. But even I will back off on Cab if ripeness levels are not optimum or if I source off a high-tannin vineyard like Howell Mtn. It depends on what you are trying to extract out. You extract and taste, extract and taste. After doing it many, many times you start to project where the fermentation is going and make some kind of guess where to start backing off. But sometimes you have such a perfect lot from such a perfect vineyard and with such beautiful tannin, that you want to leave nothing left in the grape. The key is knowing the difference between the two.

Pinot, by its nature, requires even more careful consideration. Burgundy probably even more so. My guess (and that is all it is) is that if I had a Musigny, I would be careful about extracting too much and if I had a Chambertin, I might be willing to extract more. But even that depends on the vintage and the block and the kind of wine you like to drink. If I was sourcing from Rosella's, I might be more careful but if from Pisoni, I could be interested in more extraction. This is the kind of question I plan to ask when I make my way back down to the Central Coast in Jan/Feb. I am always up for learning more.


Its easy to understand where you are coming from with your opinion, but I am quite specific in what I am looking for which is to not impose my preferences on the grapes…which is specifically to mean that I will treat them Exactly the same. In Napa, or other cellars in Burgundy, it is fine. I will even buy wines like this myself where people look at the fruit and make decisions that will change depending on the lot. For me, I am not interested in doing this.

Here is why:

I imagine that at times you may do something hoping that your actions will result in what you want them to. Sure, sometimes it won't work, but in the best cases, you get what you want. This is a rarity, but it does happen that you do something hoping for a result and then it happens. The problem to me is that the result is not only what you hope it will be. You often find other items which are coupled within (more extraction, more intensity, more color, more tannin, etc). The other wrinkle is that when you are artistically aiming for a result such as 'finesse' or 'complexity' or any of those other words that are supposed to be pleasant in a wine, you are shooting at an impossible target since wine is such an intimate thing.

What is one person's extracted is another's elegant. It just strikes me as a bit too much trying to taste and guess how the wine will respond to your inputs in one wine over another or feeling as though a decision in year one will yield similar results in year two.

This is not to say that my thoughts are 'right' or 'best' but I am only working with a handful of grapes so there are decisions that I need to make, just as everyone else does. You think it through and do your best.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #40  Postby Ray Walker » September 18th 2011, 1:36pm

Roy Piper wrote:
Berry Crawford wrote:
Mike During wrote:The mention of Ted Lemon as a reference point for fine Pinot has me worried. I tasted his Burn Cottage Otago wine and IMHO it is a overworked disaster, a Pinot made as Cali Cabernet... nothing at all what I like about Pinot and certainly nothing to do with what Pinot, let alone Burgundy, should be like.


Ted's wines are too big and ripe to my subjective tastes. The wines are vey well made but very far from what I'm looking for.


Forget names! Okay, lets look at Josh Jensen at Calera....

"We punch down twice a day for 14 days in fermentors."

So that is 28 turns of the juice, 14x what we are talking about here. You people are missing the point. I don't care who you are talking about, Ray is doing it different than anyone I know. It seems to be working, cool. I am just saying, no one else I know does this. In the end, what matters is the final result and if Ray's result is awesome juice... well... great! I just got off the phone with Ray and if next year is as far apart for harvest as Burgundy and Napa is this year, I might well go an do a week-long internship for him and see this in action myself.


The thing is that there might well be others doing things exactly like I do. We all could be making a huge mistake. I don't know, but it feels right. Thats all that I care about.

Also, no one mentioned remontage/pumpovers, don't do those either.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #41  Postby Tom Blach » September 18th 2011, 1:42pm

Ray is making Burgundy, not Pinot Noir. There is no overlap!
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #42  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 1:49pm

One thing that is certainly not mentioned as to why so few leads to good Colour and tannins whilst maintaining what Ray wants perhaps is temperature.

Let us take tea again... Higher temperatures= more extraction.
Lower=less...

Now one thing I didn't mention, is that Ray doesn't do cold-soaks or temperature controls, other than perhaps some air-con when strikingly hot (?).

With ferments etc, the temps got a bit steamy at times in the cuverie. Perhaps at higher/natural temperatures that occur in September/with ferments could it be that you don't need so many pump overs, because at higher temps (let us say 30C as oppose to 20C for example) you will naturally get more extract from the raw ingredients?? And in fact the 2 per day figure stems from an era when there wasn't ,uch temperature control or cold-soaks and thus the wines were harder and more tannic?? With all the gadgets that Ray eschews, 2 per day is great, but perhaps with a very natural if that is the correct word, set up, Ray is getting it spot on?

Ridicule if you wish, as I will temper this by saying, I really like Ray's wines and he is a good friend, so I am probably naturally biased.

Roy, definitely hope to see you at vendages 2012... [cheers.gif]
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #43  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 1:53pm

Tom Blach wrote:Ray is making Burgundy, not Pinot Noir. There is no overlap!


Amazing how many people seem to forget this... Or never realized it in the first place. Same for Chardonnay...
Perhaps why some have the obsession about fruit and new oak and extract!

Nt that I think that is good when trying to make Pinot Noir either.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #44  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 1:58pm

Ray Walker wrote:
Its easy to understand where you are coming from with your opinion, but I am quite specific in what I am looking for which is to not impose my preferences on the grapes…which is specifically to mean that I will treat them Exactly the same.


See, that is where we can have a VERY philosophical discussion about what it means to what "not imposing preferences on the grapes" means. For me, doing it all the same is actually imposing the winemaker's view on the grapes, while making adjustments depending on the vintage and lot is actually being more "hands off" in regards to bringing out the inherent nature of the vintage and source, because I am doing what the grapes are asking me to do. There is no right or wrong answer to the question, it is all preference.

For example, if you ferment 4 tons of grapes in one container, it will heat up more during the fermentation due to its mass as opposed to having 4 one ton bins. They will make completely different wines even if other things are held constant and there is no intervention. Also, if you choose oak tanks to ferment in, it is a very different result than stainless, or concrete. Is a cold soak "natural?" Hoe about new oak? If you look in the excellent book "North American Pinot Noir" by Haeger, you will see all sorts of views on that, all from people who feel they make natural wine.

I know many people who do NOT make wine think that "natural wine" is "letting wine make itself" but this is just a fantasy. Winemaking, by it's very nature, is an intervention. Natural wine is vinegar. Winemaking is a human endeavor, not a natural one.

Ray essentially (it sounds like) destems, go to tank, lets temperature rise to whatever level it wants. No nutrient additions and natural yeast. But one is still not as natural as one thinks because you still have to...

1. choose when to pick (a MAJOR stylistic decision that IS an intervention)
2. choose what to ferment in and at what volume
3. whether to extend maceration
4. add So2 to the barrels
5. Choose barrels
6. Decide new oak levels
7. When to go to bottle
etc

I actually think that imposing a singular winemaking on all grapes that come through the winery regardless of vintage or condition or source is a bigger human imposition than getting in touch with the grapes and source and trying to read what they grapes are telling you to do "now" and leaving the notions at the door. For me, a perfect Cab berry is from the middle of the valley at 27 brix with hedonistic flavors in the 2007 vintage. That will require some winemaking decisions that are quite different from a Coombsville Cab grape at 23 brix in 2011.

Now... in Burgundy, that kind of range and the resulting decisions are probably less in most years. Has anyone ever had to ever water back a Burgundy Red? No. But many have added sugar and we are not talking about poor producers here, but elite ones.

Of course, the fact that you can just pick and let the cards fall where they may is probably why some people think Burgundy is the greatest place for wine on Earth. For me? I prefer Cabernet from Napa and Bordeaux.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #45  Postby Ray Walker » September 18th 2011, 2:02pm

I can agree with some of that. But, remember, I am not a 'winemaker' and I don't 'make' 'natural' wine. Also, I don't mind intervention, I just prefer to have an Even hand in my input which makes it easier to see the differences in the terroirs. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't claim to be more or less intrusive than other, but I do guarantee that I am 100% content with my ability to make myself entertained.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #46  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 2:04pm

Ray Walker wrote:I can agree with some of that. But, remember, I am not a 'winemaker' and I don't 'make' 'natural' wine. Also, I don't mind intervention, I just prefer to have an Even hand in my input which makes it easier to see the differences in the terroirs. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't claim to be more or less intrusive than other, but I do guarantee that I am 100% content with my ability to make myself entertained.



Well on that point we can agree! I also think that my choices make it easier to see the differences in terroirs. Nothing more, nothing less.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #47  Postby Brian Loring » September 18th 2011, 2:04pm

I applaud Ray for following his heart. Even if most winemakers won't admit it, we all do what we do because it "feels" right. It's hard to figure out what's "best", because the variables are too numerous, we only get one shot a year, and the base material (grapes) aren't consistent from vintage to vintage.

So please take these comments/questions as me just talking out loud - trying to think things thru. I don't know the real answers, or if there are if they lead to making better wine or not. just something to pass a slow Sunday afternoon...

I'm wondering how the overall extraction profile of the wine is altered if you don't mix up the cap very often. If the issue is contact time between the juice (and emerging alcohol) and the skins, does that mean that the skins that are submerged get over-extracted? Mixing up the must via punchdowns would logically (to me) randomize which skins stay wet and which float free. Would that lead to a more "average" extraction across all the grapes?

Would it be "better" to do more punchdowns and then just press sooner if you're looking for less extraction? Possibly even press sweet before the alcohol levels peak, which could lead to even more extraction?

I also wonder if very few punchdowns lead to issues with sulfides? It would seem to me that no punchdowns lead to a very reductive environment. Ray - have you seen any reduction issues? Or do you do something (micro-ox?) to potentially counter that issue?

I'd love to someday try Ray's wines side by side with other producers from the same vineyards. I'd love to see how his ideas translate to the final wine, and how they contrast with other people did.

Best wishes, Ray! Hope 2011 treats you well [cheers.gif]
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #48  Postby Roy Piper » September 18th 2011, 2:09pm

JonoBeagle wrote:
Tom Blach wrote:Ray is making Burgundy, not Pinot Noir. There is no overlap!


Amazing how many people seem to forget this... Or never realized it in the first place. Same for Chardonnay...
Perhaps why some have the obsession about fruit and new oak and extract!

Not that I think that is good when trying to make Pinot Noir either.


Who forgot this? I know the difference. I have talked to Pinot makers who made Burgundy or learned there and I know how those wines are made too. I guarantee you these Burgundy-trained Pinot makers also feel like they are not "making" the wine by doing cold soaks, more than one punchdown a day, or using 70% new oak and are trying to bring out the best of the wine, naturally.

Have you ever made a wine before? Or are you just guessing and declaring it is a better way because it sounds good? I don't mind debating with another winemaker, but I will get bristly if someone who has never made a wine is telling me I don't know the difference between Pinot and Burgundy.
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #49  Postby Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 18th 2011, 2:11pm

Keep doing what you're doing, Ray.

I find your vision interesting for the same reasons you do, and therefore will always be supportive of your endeavor.

.... Oh yeah, the fact that the wines, thus far, have turned-out fabulously doesn't hurt either! [training.gif]
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Re: Maison Ilan 2010/2011 wines and harvest fun.

Post #50  Postby JonoBeagle » September 18th 2011, 2:17pm

Roy,

What you are looking for is an opinion that will lead to what you perceive to be what the grapes are saying on a scientific level, and as such, there will be greater consistency in quality from vintage to vintage. That is what I believe Ray would call "wine-making" and a "wine-maker" is able to do this.

This is not what I believe Ray is looking for. I don't think Ray considers himself either "natural" or a "winemaker". He considers himself a "vinificateur", and what he is looking for is the inherent differences in the different climats and vintages. In order for this to happen without anything being masked by the human hand (take that with a pinch of salt as Ray has made various decisions along the lines of what he wants to do) is to create a level playing field in order to allow the different terroirs (there I said it) and/or vintage characters to shine.

If you say, Chambertin is robust and extract or decide not to, to gain consistency, and do the opposite with Les Corbeaux the field is no longer level and it is more difficult to see the differences as one has attempted to garner a style/flavour profile by using different techniques. By being consistent across different climats, and vintages regardless means that whatever has been chosen, the differences will be abundantly clear. He could choose to do a million punchdowns, with twenty pump-overs and 600% new oak, with 200 day macerations, and cold soaks. His point is that each climat and vintage will be treated the same, so they all show their individual characters.

Ray's belief is that he thinks that they will show these aspects with as little intervention on his part as possible, so no new oak, only two punchdowns, etc etc. Natural ferments, etc etc. If that means that the wines only age three years and die, so be it (Ray was trying to display terroir, and not ageability), if that means they age a long time but don't develop any more flavour, so be it... His ideal and what excites him is different. I find his wines exciting.

Ray, excuse me if I have put words in the horses mouth... Feel free to chastise as you see fit. [cheers.gif]
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