Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

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BenjaminL
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Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

#1 Post by BenjaminL » April 15th, 2019, 12:38 pm

I was at an extension course in January where a famous Napa winemaker uttered the following statement: "I split the fermentation up into 4 because I wanted a complex wine, which is hard to do with only 2 tons."
I've been ruminating over it for the past 3 months for many reasons, not the least of which is that I began my wine business around small 1 -2 ton fermentations which get bottled individually!

Maybe I take her point that using 4 different yeasts will make 4 different wines, but can't a single fermentation be a stand out for quality which can only be diluted through blending?
B Leachman

Rboinski
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Re: Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

#2 Post by Rboinski » April 15th, 2019, 1:18 pm

The WM could have handled each tank a bit differently but it really depends on the varietal. Could experiment with stem inclusions, fermentation profiles, commercial yeast/native yeast, free run vs different press cuts, etc. She could probably get about 4-5 barrels out of that plus some breakdown for topping which gives you various wood to play with. Could even pick the 2 tons by row and get some different levels of phonological ripeness. There's really a lot you can play around with.
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Robert Boinski

Wes Barton
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Re: Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

#3 Post by Wes Barton » April 15th, 2019, 1:40 pm

Hahaha. Sound like a typical Napa Cab producer. Late pick and meticulously sort to achieve uniform ripeness and so forth, then complain how difficult it is to make a complex wine.

So, everything Robert said above. Plus things like a field blend. Also, site matters. A lot. A site that doesn't have much to say will take more effort. With a truly great site, you can get a wonderful, complex wine with a very small batch. (And, many world-famous sites have stood above rather bad winemaking.)
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Gary Schulte
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Re: Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

#4 Post by Gary Schulte » April 15th, 2019, 5:15 pm

Benjamin - There are many "select" wines that are small fermentations.....1 barrel maybe 2 maybe 3. Quality and complexity are there. Too many false dogmas and preconceived notions passed on in both grape farming and winemaking. Keep doing your thing.

BenjaminL
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Re: Can't make a complex wine with only 2 tons

#5 Post by BenjaminL » April 17th, 2019, 7:22 am

That's for the insights- and encouragement! I know her a little bit and I asked her afterward to clarify a little, she said she learned that complexity arose from blending different fermentation while making Dulce at Far Niente.
B Leachman

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