Smoke Taint

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Kim Z
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Smoke Taint

#1 Post by Kim Z » October 13th, 2017, 12:27 pm

I saw this timely article and wanted to share: https://blog-en.fruitionsciences.com/20 ... oke-taint/
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Casey Hartlip
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Smoke Taint

#2 Post by Casey Hartlip » October 14th, 2017, 7:00 am

I've been wondering about smoke taint so late in the development of the fruit. When we had our 2008 fires here in Mendocino county, the fires started on June 21. The berries were still sizing and we had heavy smoke in the air for over a month. It's my understanding that as the berries sized in that smoke, that the skins absorbed the smoke. I'm going to guess that the current situation won't be the same, but we'll find out.
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Brian Tuite
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Smoke Taint

#3 Post by Brian Tuite » October 14th, 2017, 7:07 am

In the situation we are facing currently I think ash residue on the skins may be an issue more than the smoke but the resulting taint may be similar. They can at least rinse off the fruit before processing if that helps at all.
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John Cabot
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Smoke Taint

#4 Post by John Cabot » November 3rd, 2017, 12:42 pm

So, while I decided not to harvest our estate Syrah(Kimberly's) this year, our other vineyard here in Orleans(Marier) is just a ridge over from Kimberly's and received less smoke, so we decided to make the Zinfandel and Syrah. In years past I've noticed that Zinfandel doesn't show the negative characters of smoke taint nearly as much as other grapes. Syrah seams to be the worst. I just finished pressing out the wines and the Zin smells and tastes great. No signs of boot leather, band aide, or acrid ashy notes. The Syrah, on the other hand, is aweful. I couldn't smell it in the fermenter, but as soon as we pressed it, there it was. Sure glad I didn't bother picking and fermenting my 8 tons of Syrah. What I've read says verasion is the most vulnerable time as the guiacol compounds bind with fructose and glucose. The question is, do they bind during the accumulation of those sugars or can they bind just as readily when those sugars are already present(post verasion to harvest). Also curious to what extent the skins come into play. Many of my colleagues here in eastern Humboldt just made rose out of their fruit, with the thinking that not having the skin contact would avoid the smoke taint. I'm skeptical.
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Joe Webb
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Smoke Taint

#5 Post by Joe Webb » November 5th, 2017, 10:18 am

John Cabot wrote:Also curious to what extent the skins come into play. Many of my colleagues here in eastern Humboldt just made rose out of their fruit, with the thinking that not having the skin contact would avoid the smoke taint. I'm skeptical.
In my experience here in 08, the SB and Semillon were fine, the skin fermented PN not so much.

The worst examples I had of the vintage were skin contacted white and rose. It was like there was smoke from the skins imparted to the wine but with white and rose there is not enough other flavors/aromas in the wine to hide any of the smoke so they were the worst wines to try and drink IMO.
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Brian Tuite
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Smoke Taint

#6 Post by Brian Tuite » November 5th, 2017, 10:26 am

So far in my discussions with those in Napa smoke taint numbers are low. Some below perceptible levels and others none at all. This on Cab Sauv fruit picked after the fires started. Have heard of people having tainted wine due to pressing out during the heavy smoke days.
Bob Wood - 1949-2013 Berserker for eternity! RIP

"On self-reflection, I think a big part of it was me just being a PITA customer..." ~ Anonymous Berserker

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PeterJ
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Smoke Taint

#7 Post by PeterJ » November 19th, 2017, 3:38 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:I've been wondering about smoke taint so late in the development of the fruit. When we had our 2008 fires here in Mendocino county, the fires started on June 21. The berries were still sizing and we had heavy smoke in the air for over a month. It's my understanding that as the berries sized in that smoke, that the skins absorbed the smoke. I'm going to guess that the current situation won't be the same, but we'll find out.
I bought a bunch of Pinot Noir, at Navarro, from that vintage. It had a definite smokiness to it but was still very drinkable, likely because it was Pinot. BUT Navarro bottled it under a sub-label, I'd assume, to not give it the full seal of apptoval as up to their normal standard.
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Ken Zinns
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Smoke Taint

#8 Post by Ken Zinns » November 20th, 2017, 7:39 am

PeterJ wrote:
Casey Hartlip wrote:I've been wondering about smoke taint so late in the development of the fruit. When we had our 2008 fires here in Mendocino county, the fires started on June 21. The berries were still sizing and we had heavy smoke in the air for over a month. It's my understanding that as the berries sized in that smoke, that the skins absorbed the smoke. I'm going to guess that the current situation won't be the same, but we'll find out.
I bought a bunch of Pinot Noir, at Navarro, from that vintage. It had a definite smokiness to it but was still very drinkable, likely because it was Pinot. BUT Navarro bottled it under a sub-label, I'd assume, to not give it the full seal of apptoval as up to their normal standard.
Remarkably, Navarro is still selling smoky 2008 wines under the Indian Creek label - scroll down to the bottom of the linked page from their website:
Navarro Vineyards - Wines
So if anyone wants to learn what smoke-tainted wine smells and tastes like, this is a perfect opportunity thanks to Navarro [cheers.gif]

Few 2017 wines will have any effect from the wildfire smoke (since most fruit was picked and processed before the fires), and I strongly doubt that any wines from fruit picked during the fires will be anywhere nearly as badly affected by smoke as many 2008 wines from Mendocino and nearby areas were.
ITB, Harrington Wines & Eno Wines, and Grape-Nutz.com

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