Mega Purple and Pinot Noir

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Wes Barton
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#51 Post by Wes Barton » May 31st, 2018, 3:51 pm

Adam Lee wrote:One thing not discussed here thus far is that Meomi was known for freezing at least some of their grapes. What effect does that have?

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That's standard practice for making wine from stone fruit. It beaks down the cell walls, so it's maceration method. Basically a very gentle way of getting everything out of the grapes.
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#52 Post by Brian Maloney » May 31st, 2018, 4:01 pm

Hi,

We experimented with freezing Pinot a couple years ago (2016 vintage). Its essentially instant extraction as well as very slightly increased yields compared to traditional methods. It did change the feel/texture a bit, which I'm not sure if part of that was the stem inclusion. As far as costs, from my memory it was more expensive to truck it than to freeze the 2 bins. We didn't repeat in 2017, and for those wondering it ended up being a very small (i.e. less than 1%) part of our Russian River Pinot noir blend.

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#53 Post by Wes Barton » May 31st, 2018, 4:02 pm

Cris Whetstone wrote:On the 'free run', I'd be interested in hearing more about that. I've hung out with a lot of Cali Pinot producers and never heard such a thing before. I know sometimes the free run stuff can be held for a vin gris type of rose but I've never heard of it being exclusively used for the finished product. It just doesn't seem to make sense to me. I'm sure someone has done it but I doubt it's a majority of producers.

I'm ready to be proven wrong though. [cheers.gif]
You're confusing bleed off with free run. Free run is post fermentation. Think if you dumped all of the must into a press. It's all the liquid that runs through (freely), like it you were putting it through a strainer. It's a significant majority of the yield.
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#54 Post by Cris Whetstone » June 1st, 2018, 12:18 am

Wes Barton wrote:
Cris Whetstone wrote:On the 'free run', I'd be interested in hearing more about that. I've hung out with a lot of Cali Pinot producers and never heard such a thing before. I know sometimes the free run stuff can be held for a vin gris type of rose but I've never heard of it being exclusively used for the finished product. It just doesn't seem to make sense to me. I'm sure someone has done it but I doubt it's a majority of producers.

I'm ready to be proven wrong though. [cheers.gif]
You're confusing bleed off with free run. Free run is post fermentation. Think if you dumped all of the must into a press. It's all the liquid that runs through (freely), like it you were putting it through a strainer. It's a significant majority of the yield.
Interesting. I've always been told free run was the juice that came from the weight of the grapes crushing themselves before the fruit was pressed. I always thought the bleed off was just the process of removing that juice when you didn't want it, which is most cases for reds.
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#55 Post by Jason T » June 1st, 2018, 12:53 am

Me too. Learned something today. Thanks Wes.
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#56 Post by Brian Maloney » June 1st, 2018, 9:40 am

Cris Whetstone wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:
Cris Whetstone wrote:On the 'free run', I'd be interested in hearing more about that. I've hung out with a lot of Cali Pinot producers and never heard such a thing before. I know sometimes the free run stuff can be held for a vin gris type of rose but I've never heard of it being exclusively used for the finished product. It just doesn't seem to make sense to me. I'm sure someone has done it but I doubt it's a majority of producers.

I'm ready to be proven wrong though. [cheers.gif]
You're confusing bleed off with free run. Free run is post fermentation. Think if you dumped all of the must into a press. It's all the liquid that runs through (freely), like it you were putting it through a strainer. It's a significant majority of the yield.
Interesting. I've always been told free run was the juice that came from the weight of the grapes crushing themselves before the fruit was pressed. I always thought the bleed off was just the process of removing that juice when you didn't want it, which is most cases for reds.
Free Run for whites = juice generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight, prior to pressing.
Free Run for reds = wine generated prior to pressing from the must.
Saignee/bleeding = juice from red grapes, pulled at the sorting table (prior to destemming/crushing) or at the fermentor (after destemming/crushing)

Hope that helps clarify,

Brian

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#57 Post by Merrill Lindquist » June 1st, 2018, 2:11 pm

Wow - thanks, Wes and Mr. Maloney! I was wondering if I had lost it. Not wishing to come under fire for what I do, I kept my mouth shut.

But what the heck - it's Friday.

I grow and make a very small amount of Cabernet - average of 175 cases (or 7 barrels) per vintage. I typically make a Special Selection and a "regular." The SS is SOME parts of SOME barrels.

In order to make this a significant endeavor, I mix the free run with the press. (The cellar guys were REALLY mad the year I saw them going straight to barrel without mixing, and I made them back it all the out and start over.) Because I keep each barrel "true" throughout the entire 22 months in barrel, to have a barrel or two of press and the rest free run does not make sense. The difference in the wines from each barrel is due to the cooper and the number of times I use a barrel. Anyone who has done a sit-down with me and tasted samples from each barrel concurs there are significant differences from barrel to barrel.

But I do not make Pinot Noir and I do not use Mega-Purple. I enhanced my 2011 with a legal 5% from another vintage (2012, so it was young and robust).
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#58 Post by Mel Knox » June 1st, 2018, 4:39 pm

Merrill,

I think you should start freezing your grapes.
Later, use raspberry jello for fining.
Also, start making pinot noir....


M
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#59 Post by Mel Knox » June 1st, 2018, 4:45 pm

Another thing: I think you should start a vineyard by planting seeds, preferably on well drained soil in an area where they get 12 inches of rain per year.

Also: everyone is canning their wine...why not you??

Enough of this so-called tradition. If they had had aluminum cans in Samuel Pepys' time, they would have used them!
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#60 Post by Al Osterheld » June 1st, 2018, 4:56 pm

If you get away from the mass market wine, I would suspect there is more Mega Purple used with Cabernet than with Pinot Noir.

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#61 Post by Merrill Lindquist » June 1st, 2018, 6:57 pm

Mel Knox wrote:Another thing: I think you should start a vineyard by planting seeds, preferably on well drained soil in an area where they get 12 inches of rain per year.

Also: everyone is canning their wine...why not you??

Enough of this so-called tradition. If they had had aluminum cans in Samuel Pepys' time, they would have used them!
You know I love you, Mel, but you are one sarcastic PITA flirtysmile .
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#62 Post by Mel Knox » June 1st, 2018, 8:45 pm

Merrill I even have a slogan for you:
Yes, we can!
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#63 Post by Cris Whetstone » June 1st, 2018, 11:25 pm

Brian Maloney wrote:
Cris Whetstone wrote:
Wes Barton wrote:You're confusing bleed off with free run. Free run is post fermentation. Think if you dumped all of the must into a press. It's all the liquid that runs through (freely), like it you were putting it through a strainer. It's a significant majority of the yield.
Interesting. I've always been told free run was the juice that came from the weight of the grapes crushing themselves before the fruit was pressed. I always thought the bleed off was just the process of removing that juice when you didn't want it, which is most cases for reds.
Free Run for whites = juice generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight, prior to pressing.
Free Run for reds = wine generated prior to pressing from the must.
Saignee/bleeding = juice from red grapes, pulled at the sorting table (prior to destemming/crushing) or at the fermentor (after destemming/crushing)

Hope that helps clarify,

Brian
Thanks Brian. That seems logical.
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#64 Post by Adam Lee » June 2nd, 2018, 1:32 pm

Mel Knox wrote:Merrill I even have a slogan for you:
Yes, we can!

Mel,

Come on, you can do better than that! "What do Catholic Priests and Pinot Noir have in common? They both come in little cans."

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#65 Post by Jason T » June 2nd, 2018, 1:40 pm

Annnnnnnnd the thread goes to Adam.
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#66 Post by Mel Knox » June 2nd, 2018, 3:15 pm

Adam,
I live too close to a band of Jesuits to make a response.
They might reverse exorcise me while I am exercising at their gym.
Or mistake me for an altar boy.
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#67 Post by Roy Piper » June 3rd, 2018, 10:51 pm

I've seen mega-purple used twice...

Once many years ago on bulk press wine being sold off at a low price to a large producer.

And also once visiting a custom-crush facility that was tweaking its extremely successful, large-production, moderate-priced red blend.

I think the idea mentioned on this thread that it should not be allowed to call itself "Napa", or anything other than "California" would be something I would back.

I cannot fathom any Pinot producer using it. Seems like a cardinal sin.
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#68 Post by Brian Ojalvo » June 3rd, 2018, 11:22 pm

I have seen it used once about 2 years ago. I was aghast that it was being used on a Napa Valley Merlot by a high end producer. I have photographic evidence. Note the Tapatio hot sauce next to the 2 bloated purple jugs on the winery fridge door.
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#69 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 4th, 2018, 1:32 am

Brian Maloney wrote: Free Run for whites = juice generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight, prior to pressing.
Free Run for reds = wine generated prior to pressing from the must.
Saignee/bleeding = juice from red grapes, pulled at the sorting table (prior to destemming/crushing) or at the fermentor (after destemming/crushing)

Hope that helps clarify,

Brian
I'm confused by your claim of white wine free run juice being generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight. That would yield ridiculously little of free-jun juice, which feels rather counterintuitive to many quality whites in the world being produced solely of free-run juice. From my understanding, free-run juice for white wines is the stuff that is acquired from grapes that have been crushed (and usually destemmed) but not pressed - nothing to do with the weight of the grapes. If one wants to increase yield (usually at the cost of quality), one might also press the white grapes in order to have some more juice from the grapes, but this juice is usually more coarse and lower in quality.

From my best understanding you are spot on in that free run for reds is the must you get when you remove the juice off the solids and you don't press the solids to get the last drops from them.

Also, I really don't understand how you can pull juice from grapes at the sorting table. At the sorting table you remove grapes you don't want to make wine from. In this part the grapes are still intact and you can't remove any juice from them. From my best understanding saignée/bleeding is always done after the crush when the must and grape skins are together - at this point you draw off some juice before any color is leached off from the grape skins in order to increase the relative proportion of the skins to the must.

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#70 Post by Jason T » June 4th, 2018, 2:40 am

Brian’s description of “free run” for whites is as I’ve understood it and heard it used by those in the industry since I got into wine.
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#71 Post by Otto Forsberg » June 4th, 2018, 4:44 am

Jason T wrote:Brian’s description of “free run” for whites is as I’ve understood it and heard it used by those in the industry since I got into wine.
I did some googling to see whether I am wrong, but basically all the sources said that the must is normally divided into two: free-run juice and press juice. A few sites talked about the juice crushed under the weight of the bunches, but those seemed to be more on the marketing side, not on the technical side. The more technical sites just put it shortly something along the lines of "free-run juice is the must obtained before the pressing of the grapes".

Of course there is the portion that one can get from the grapes that are crushed under their own weight before actually crushed in a crusher, which is the highest-quality portion - sometimes called tête de cuvée, sometimes by some other terms - and often vinified separately. However, to my best understanding, the term "free-run juice" refers to all juice one gets without the aid of a grape press.

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#72 Post by M A T T H A R T L E Y » June 4th, 2018, 5:59 am

Brian Ojalvo wrote:I have seen it used once about 2 years ago. I was aghast that it was being used on a Napa Valley Merlot by a high end producer. I have photographic evidence. Note the Tapatio hot sauce next to the 2 bloated purple jugs on the winery fridge door.
Tapatio is good hot sauce
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#73 Post by Mattstolz » June 4th, 2018, 6:10 am

Michae1 P0wers wrote:
Although, isn't it true that CA allows you to blend in 20% (25?) of other grapes without disclosing that information? To me that would always tend to make it an open question of what is in the wine, particularly if it is not true to the expected grape's characteristics, such as very dark and fruity pinot.
I did just want to add one thing to this that hadn't been mentioned before. in the US, you are allowed to blend 25% of another grape variety, but in CA, Oregon, and WA, where the grape is from is much more stringent. as it pertains to this thread, CA wine has to be 100% from CA grapes, which doesn't impact the use of Mega Purple much since most is probably from central valley, but Oregon also has to be 100% Oregon grapes, and WA has to be 95% WA grapes. across the US, the 75% changes to 85% for AVAs, and 95% for single vineyards (although HOPEFULLY a single vineyard pinot would never consider using MP!) Can someone who makes wine chime in, because I'm not sure whether or not you'd have to consider where the rubired grapes used to MAKE the MP are from if you are using it in your blend, or is it treated like adding citric acid or sugar like its not even a grape product?

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#74 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 4th, 2018, 2:09 pm

Mega-purple currently falls under the category of amelioration, and is not subject to being counted as a part of the cuvee.
It’s added in very small percentages(<1%), but given the extraordinary concentration, it still makes a very significant impact in the wine(to be fair that is why people use it).

IMO, it should be something that should be regulated and wineries should have to declare to TTB when they purchase it, and also which of their wines they are using the MP for, and how much they are adding.
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#75 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 4th, 2018, 2:16 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
Jason T wrote:Brian’s description of “free run” for whites is as I’ve understood it and heard it used by those in the industry since I got into wine.
I did some googling to see whether I am wrong, but basically all the sources said that the must is normally divided into two: free-run juice and press juice. A few sites talked about the juice crushed under the weight of the bunches, but those seemed to be more on the marketing side, not on the technical side. The more technical sites just put it shortly something along the lines of "free-run juice is the must obtained before the pressing of the grapes".

Of course there is the portion that one can get from the grapes that are crushed under their own weight before actually crushed in a crusher, which is the highest-quality portion - sometimes called tête de cuvée, sometimes by some other terms - and often vinified separately. However, to my best understanding, the term "free-run juice" refers to all juice one gets without the aid of a grape press.
The first “free run” juice from white fruit has a significantly higher percentage of dust and other non-fruit particulate. We actually separate the first 5% juice of a press for whites from the rest of the “low bar” press (low bar for me is juice extracted at below .2 bar) and put that first 5% in with the heavy press wine.
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#76 Post by Brian Maloney » June 4th, 2018, 2:51 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
Brian Maloney wrote: Free Run for whites = juice generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight, prior to pressing.
Free Run for reds = wine generated prior to pressing from the must.
Saignee/bleeding = juice from red grapes, pulled at the sorting table (prior to destemming/crushing) or at the fermentor (after destemming/crushing)

Hope that helps clarify,

Brian
I'm confused by your claim of white wine free run juice being generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight. That would yield ridiculously little of free-jun juice, which feels rather counterintuitive to many quality whites in the world being produced solely of free-run juice. From my understanding, free-run juice for white wines is the stuff that is acquired from grapes that have been crushed (and usually destemmed) but not pressed - nothing to do with the weight of the grapes. If one wants to increase yield (usually at the cost of quality), one might also press the white grapes in order to have some more juice from the grapes, but this juice is usually more coarse and lower in quality.

From my best understanding you are spot on in that free run for reds is the must you get when you remove the juice off the solids and you don't press the solids to get the last drops from them.

Also, I really don't understand how you can pull juice from grapes at the sorting table. At the sorting table you remove grapes you don't want to make wine from. In this part the grapes are still intact and you can't remove any juice from them. From my best understanding saignée/bleeding is always done after the crush when the must and grape skins are together - at this point you draw off some juice before any color is leached off from the grape skins in order to increase the relative proportion of the skins to the must.
Hi Otto,

Re: White grape free run - when a press is loaded a significant amount of juicing occurs, we have a 6 and a 10 ton bladder press and load by conveyor from 1/2 ton bin. On average with Chardonnay (most of what we press) we see about 20-40 gallons of juice per ton equivalent (varies widely depending upon the site/clone/berry size/vintage). When we make sparkling, all of this free run is moved to a press tank, for still chardonnay programs, we typically will keep it in the main cuvee, but I do know of wineries who separate this out due to the higher levels of dust and lipids it carries. For the varieties I work with we very rarely destem and crush, but you are right in that case you would see a higher level of free run, particularly if you must hold for a couple hours.

As far as "Free Run" as a marketing term - for most white wines, I'd say its not really a useful term, as most of the quality wine comes from the low pressure, low tumble portion of the press. In a champagne style pressing this would be referred to as the cuvee. For a destemmed/crushed white, the earlier drained juice would have less phenolics, compared to the pressed must, but in my experience in CA, most of the best whites aren't made in this method.

Re: Red grapes on the sorting table yielding juice - they do yield juice, not a lot, but typically around 5-10 gallons per ton (again varies by vineyard, clone, growing conditions, etc.) Its typically pretty blah stuff full of dust and from the biggest berries, so an easy discard, but significant if you compare yields from direct to crusher vs. sorted fruit. I'm not sure how much sorting you've seen in person, but most cluster shaker tables come with slotted screens and sumps to collect this juice for disposal.


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#77 Post by Chris Seiber » June 4th, 2018, 3:02 pm

So, to this point in the thread, we have zero evidence or even reason for strong suspicion that any pinot noir any of us considers significant to our wine experience uses Mega Purple. Or has other varieties secretly added. Is that a fair statement?

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#78 Post by Merrill Lindquist » June 4th, 2018, 3:04 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:Mega-purple currently falls under the category of amelioration, and is not subject to being counted as a part of the cuvee.
It’s added in very small percentages(<1%), but given the extraordinary concentration, it still makes a very significant impact in the wine(to be fair that is why people use it).

IMO, it should be something that should be regulated and wineries should have to declare to TTB when they purchase it, and also which of their wines they are using the MP for, and how much they are adding.
This is not argumentative at all, but I am truly curious why you think the TTB should be involved. Is there anything dangerous included in it...or something like gluten for the gluten-intolerant? I must admit, I am fairly ignorant about this product. I am looking for more information both as a consumer and as a producer. So, it is a curiosity factor, Marcus, but you seem so adamant about it, I am wondering what that is all about.

I know there are many members of the Board here who look for tons of information on every aspect of winegrowing and production, and that is fine with me. My practices have nothing to hide (speaking as a grower/producer). But when I order a glass of wine at our local place (as a consumer), I make a call about whether I like it or not. It would never occur to me to wonder if it had Mega-Purple, or if they had used oak additives instead of oak barrels, if they had used chemicals in the vineyard for weed control or growth.
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#79 Post by Wes Barton » June 4th, 2018, 3:06 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
Brian Maloney wrote: Free Run for whites = juice generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight, prior to pressing.
Free Run for reds = wine generated prior to pressing from the must.
Saignee/bleeding = juice from red grapes, pulled at the sorting table (prior to destemming/crushing) or at the fermentor (after destemming/crushing)

Hope that helps clarify,

Brian
I'm confused by your claim of white wine free run juice being generated from berries as they crush themselves under their own weight. That would yield ridiculously little of free-jun juice, which feels rather counterintuitive to many quality whites in the world being produced solely of free-run juice. From my understanding, free-run juice for white wines is the stuff that is acquired from grapes that have been crushed (and usually destemmed) but not pressed - nothing to do with the weight of the grapes. If one wants to increase yield (usually at the cost of quality), one might also press the white grapes in order to have some more juice from the grapes, but this juice is usually more coarse and lower in quality.

From my best understanding you are spot on in that free run for reds is the must you get when you remove the juice off the solids and you don't press the solids to get the last drops from them.

Also, I really don't understand how you can pull juice from grapes at the sorting table. At the sorting table you remove grapes you don't want to make wine from. In this part the grapes are still intact and you can't remove any juice from them. From my best understanding saignée/bleeding is always done after the crush when the must and grape skins are together - at this point you draw off some juice before any color is leached off from the grape skins in order to increase the relative proportion of the skins to the must.
I don't know anyone who makes whites as you describe. Sounds like a good way to brutalize and oxidize. Most crusher/destemmers would be tearing up the stems to some degree. The gentlest way to handle white grapes is the press whole cluster. The stems sort of knuckle in to get a good press without as much pressure as it would take to get the same amount of juice without them (where the seeds would still be present) and the skins are there to pad and protect the stems and seeds from rupturing. Some of the well regarded old school producers press their whites more than others (which may require a great site and a high level of attentive detail to be better instead of worse).

The press percentage of reds is a lot more than a few drops. Depends on the properties of the grape due to things like variety, site, picking timing, whole berry percentage, press timing, etc. Think maybe 20-30%.

Processes vary so much. If you destem before sorting, you'll likely get some juice from ruptured grapes, depending on things like skin thickness and ripeness and how gentle that particular destemmer is. If there's juice from that, it probably would have color. Then, when to bleed off is a decision. Waiting a few hours for the ideal color/flavor for a rose would have a negligible impact on the remaining must (which could be compensated by taking an extra ounce of bleed).
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#80 Post by Wes Barton » June 4th, 2018, 3:17 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:Mega-purple currently falls under the category of amelioration, and is not subject to being counted as a part of the cuvee.
It’s added in very small percentages(<1%), but given the extraordinary concentration, it still makes a very significant impact in the wine(to be fair that is why people use it).

IMO, it should be something that should be regulated and wineries should have to declare to TTB when they purchase it, and also which of their wines they are using the MP for, and how much they are adding.
Exactly. There's big loopholes The percentage of concentrate is very different from the percentage impact it has, so it can slip under some of the rule's intent. As a grape product, it gets by rules that block other additives that would do the same things, again bypassing the intent of those rules.
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#81 Post by Wes Barton » June 4th, 2018, 3:25 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:So, to this point in the thread, we have zero evidence or even reason for strong suspicion that any pinot noir any of us considers significant to our wine experience uses Mega Purple. Or has other varieties secretly added. Is that a fair statement?
Yes.
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#82 Post by Mattstolz » June 4th, 2018, 4:05 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:Mega-purple currently falls under the category of amelioration, and is not subject to being counted as a part of the cuvee.
It’s added in very small percentages(<1%), but given the extraordinary concentration, it still makes a very significant impact in the wine(to be fair that is why people use it).

IMO, it should be something that should be regulated and wineries should have to declare to TTB when they purchase it, and also which of their wines they are using the MP for, and how much they are adding.
thanks for the clarification! as for the TTB, i personally think it should be disallowed in AVA stated wines, but unfortunately the fact that it's not highlights one of my biggest issues with the AVA system in the US in general, in that it gives you little to no indication of what to expect from the bottles contents. i understand from the winemaker's side how this is a benefit, but its terrible for consumers. thats an entirely different thread, though.

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#83 Post by Mel Knox » June 4th, 2018, 5:25 pm

Once again my advice is to use mega red as the purple version is more traceable

Some wineries have gotten into trouble using concentrate that helped make their AvA claim false
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#84 Post by Karl K » June 4th, 2018, 6:12 pm

Per Wes the winemakers I have spoken with
confirm that destemming is too likely to induce oxidation to be used with any great frequency on whites
Last edited by Karl K on June 8th, 2018, 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#85 Post by Garry_Brooks » June 6th, 2018, 12:27 am

the Concentration could also come from reverse osmosis. It has a pretty distinctive impact that’s not too different from mega purple or mega red. The sweetness could definitely come from mega. It’s like viscous grape jelly. Ugh. Its a guilt inducing process, but it can take pretty compromised wine and turn it into something that is sellable on the shelf for $15. (Or $22.95). Add some oak staves and micro ox and you are in business. It does tend to burry the most beautiful notes in the wine and strip away terroir. But I don’t think that’s what they were going for any way.
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#86 Post by TomHill » June 6th, 2018, 5:20 am

Garry_Brooks wrote:the Concentration could also come from reverse osmosis. It has a pretty distinctive impact that’s not too different from mega purple or mega red. The sweetness could definitely come from mega. It’s like viscous grape jelly. Ugh. Its a guilt inducing process, but it can take pretty compromised wine and turn it into something that is sellable on the shelf for $15. (Or $22.95). Add some oak staves and micro ox and you are in business. It does tend to burry the most beautiful notes in the wine and strip away terroir. But I don’t think that’s what they were going for any way.
Garry,
Could you describe what "distinctive impact" RO has on the wine, other than the lowering of the alcohol.
I've never been able to identify any tell-tale signature that a wine has been hit w/ RO.
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#87 Post by John Morris » June 6th, 2018, 7:36 am

Tom -- I think Garry is talking about RO to remove water, not alcohol.

Back in 2001, I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux for several days, and I found that the wines at the properties that used RO (a significant proportion) seemed a bit muddy to me -- not precise or transparent. It was hard to know if that was just the RO or was due to the fact that many of these properties were spoofifying in a variety of ways. But I detected a clear pattern. Of course, there it was to concentrate the wines, not reduce alcohol.

Whether RO to lower alcohol leaves any similar tell-tale signs, I don't know.
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Thanks...

#88 Post by TomHill » June 6th, 2018, 8:14 am

John Morris wrote:Tom -- I think Garry is talking about RO to remove water, not alcohol.

Back in 2001, I tasted fairly extensively in Bordeaux for several days, and I found that the wines at the properties that used RO (a significant proportion) seemed a bit muddy to me -- not precise or transparent. It was hard to know if that was just the RO or was due to the fact that many of these properties were spoofifying in a variety of ways. But I detected a clear pattern. Of course, there it was to concentrate the wines, not reduce alcohol.

Whether RO to lower alcohol leaves any similar tell-tale signs, I don't know.
Thanks, John. I had forgotten about using RO for removing water from the must.

I've tasted a number of wines that I know of that used RO to knock down the alcohol and have been unable
to identify anything I thought to be a RO signature.
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#89 Post by larry schaffer » June 6th, 2018, 9:27 am

Interesting thread indeed.

The use of RO to 'concentrate' wines certainly takes place here in CA, and certainly with some 'top notch' producers loved by some on this board. It's an 'accepted' technique - yet does not need to be disclosed either.

The use of RO to lower alcohol has gotten more precise over time with 'sweet spot analysis' - Clark Smith can certainly talk about this, but in general, they take the wine that you want to decrease the alcohol from and create samples at varying degrees of alcohol. It's amazing how the wine changes when alcohol is removed, and you'd be surprised how texture and aromatics are affected by even minute changes.

As far as the TTB and regulating the use of Mega Purple - there are too many 'rabbit holes' to go down as far as I'm concerned to even begin to talk about this. What about the use of 'liquid oak' just before bottling for wines that are aged in stainless steel all of their lives? What about the use of velcorin? What about the use of gum arabic to 'soften' a wine just before bottling? What about the use of 'grape concentrates' by variety that are often added to 'add fruit' and sweeten a wine just before bottling? What about the ability for a winery to age their wines in plastic tanks with 'oak additive tea bags' placed in them saying that their wines were 'aged in oak'?

So many roads to travel down . . .

Cheers.
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Yup...

#90 Post by TomHill » June 6th, 2018, 9:45 am

larry schaffer wrote:Interesting thread indeed.

The use of RO to 'concentrate' wines certainly takes place here in CA, and certainly with some 'top notch' producers loved by some on this board. It's an 'accepted' technique - yet does not need to be disclosed either.

The use of RO to lower alcohol has gotten more precise over time with 'sweet spot analysis' - Clark Smith can certainly talk about this, but in general, they take the wine that you want to decrease the alcohol from and create samples at varying degrees of alcohol. It's amazing how the wine changes when alcohol is removed, and you'd be surprised how texture and aromatics are affected by even minute changes.

As far as the TTB and regulating the use of Mega Purple - there are too many 'rabbit holes' to go down as far as I'm concerned to even begin to talk about this. What about the use of 'liquid oak' just before bottling for wines that are aged in stainless steel all of their lives? What about the use of velcorin? What about the use of gum arabic to 'soften' a wine just before bottling? What about the use of 'grape concentrates' by variety that are often added to 'add fruit' and sweeten a wine just before bottling? What about the ability for a winery to age their wines in plastic tanks with 'oak additive tea bags' placed in them saying that their wines were 'aged in oak'?

So many roads to travel down . . .

Cheers.
Yup, Larry. When I did a visit w/ Clark at Vinovation, he presented me w/ 4 Cabs, 1 not RO'd, and 3 RO'd to a sweet spot.
We then blended two at the sweet spot and the blend was distinctly dumber/lesser. It was an eyeopener.
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#91 Post by John Morris » June 6th, 2018, 9:50 am

TomHill wrote:When I did a visit w/ Clark at Vinovation, he presented me w/ 4 Cabs, 1 not RO'd, and 3 RO'd to a sweet spot.
We then blended two at the sweet spot and the blend was distinctly dumber/lesser. It was an eyeopener.
Tom
I don't understand what you mean by the bolded part.
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#92 Post by TomHill » June 6th, 2018, 9:57 am

John Morris wrote:
TomHill wrote:When I did a visit w/ Clark at Vinovation, he presented me w/ 4 Cabs, 1 not RO'd, and 3 RO'd to a sweet spot.
We then blended two at the sweet spot and the blend was distinctly dumber/lesser. It was an eyeopener.
Tom
I don't understand what you mean by the bolded part.
They RO'd the wine at 0.2% alcohol degradations. They then taste thru them and identify the ones that
seem to be better than their neighbors, the ones at a "sweet spot".
So he presented me 3 samples that were at what they thought to be several "sweet spots".
When you then blend two at "sweet spots", the blend is at an alcohol level somewhere in between, off the "sweet spot".
I thought the off-"sweet spot" blend was distinctly a lesser wine.
Tom

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#93 Post by R. Smith » June 6th, 2018, 10:15 am

larry schaffer wrote:Interesting thread indeed.

The use of RO to 'concentrate' wines certainly takes place here in CA, and certainly with some 'top notch' producers loved by some on this board. It's an 'accepted' technique - yet does not need to be disclosed either.

The use of RO to lower alcohol has gotten more precise over time with 'sweet spot analysis' - Clark Smith can certainly talk about this, but in general, they take the wine that you want to decrease the alcohol from and create samples at varying degrees of alcohol. It's amazing how the wine changes when alcohol is removed, and you'd be surprised how texture and aromatics are affected by even minute changes.

As far as the TTB and regulating the use of Mega Purple - there are too many 'rabbit holes' to go down as far as I'm concerned to even begin to talk about this. What about the use of 'liquid oak' just before bottling for wines that are aged in stainless steel all of their lives? What about the use of velcorin? What about the use of gum arabic to 'soften' a wine just before bottling? What about the use of 'grape concentrates' by variety that are often added to 'add fruit' and sweeten a wine just before bottling? What about the ability for a winery to age their wines in plastic tanks with 'oak additive tea bags' placed in them saying that their wines were 'aged in oak'?

So many roads to travel down . . .

Cheers.
It seems perfectly reasonable first step for TTB to require ingredient labeling as Ridge and others have begun to do voulentarily. I agree that that there are many loopholes and imperfections in any regulation, but this would be a meaningful step in the right direction.
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#94 Post by larry schaffer » June 6th, 2018, 10:36 am

Ryan,

So here's an honest question:

Let's say a winery uses egg whites to fine a wine. Now, the traditional way of doing this is to stir them into a barrel then, after the egg whites have settled to the bottom and removed unwanted tannins / bitter compounds, the wine is 'racked off' of these and they do not remain in the wine.

Should a winery be required to say that they used these even if they do not remain in the wine at all?

And if so, should we then require labeling on meat products to include anything that the cow or animal ate during their lifetime but that does not remain in them?

Cheers . . .
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#95 Post by ky1em!ttskus » June 6th, 2018, 10:57 am

Larry, the answer to your question is no. Food labels don’t disclose every process, just ingredients. Same should go for wine.

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#96 Post by Doug Schulman » June 6th, 2018, 11:07 am

ky1em!ttskus wrote:Larry, the answer to your question is no. Food labels don’t disclose every process, just ingredients. Same should go for wine.
That's right. Even Velcorin doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient when it has been added because it has broken down by the time the product gets to the consumer. I understand the complexities of the issue, but many (not all) of them have already been worked out by the food industry. That's something that much of the wine industry conveniently ignores when arguing the case against ingredient labeling.
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#97 Post by larry schaffer » June 6th, 2018, 11:14 am

Doug Schulman wrote:
ky1em!ttskus wrote:Larry, the answer to your question is no. Food labels don’t disclose every process, just ingredients. Same should go for wine.
That's right. Even Velcorin doesn't need to be listed as an ingredient when it has been added because it has broken down by the time the product gets to the consumer. I understand the complexities of the issue, but many (not all) of them have already been worked out by the food industry. That's something that much of the wine industry conveniently ignores when arguing the case against ingredient labeling.
But then what's to stop a winery from 'doing all kinds of stuff' and not including it on the label? And would there be a 'minimum % needed' to have to be on the label?

Wouldn't it just be better if wineries were HONEST about what they did if asked - and stop painting 'false pictures' on their websites or in their marketing? pepsi newhere [snort.gif]
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#98 Post by ky1em!ttskus » June 6th, 2018, 11:19 am

Well, obviously. But since they’re not, I think ingredients should be listed. And there is no threshold. If it’s added to the wine, list it.

What do you mean “all kinds of stuff”? And how is labeling ingredients going to change wineries doing those “kinds of stuff”? Aren’t wineries doing things now?

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#99 Post by larry schaffer » June 6th, 2018, 11:26 am

The only way this changes is if the Wine Institute gets involved, and the only way they would get involved if it's being done in other parts of the world as a rule rather than an exception. This is not to say that it shouldn't be done but . . .

And the FDA would only get involved for 'health reasons'. And that may happen with the increased number of folks 'getting headaches' or just not feeling quite right after consuming certain wins these days . . .

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#100 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » June 6th, 2018, 11:40 am

Adam Lee wrote:
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Yes, we can!

Mel,

Come on, you can do better than that! "What do Catholic Priests and Pinot Noir have in common? They both come in little cans."

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