raisin sorting

Everybody’s got different experience, palate and goals. I by no means mean to insinuate any suckerhood on anybody. I’ve found that flavors that are flaws at 6 months are often very interesting at 2 years (personal maxim: if a wine tastes really good its first winter in barrel, you probably screwed up). I also think that the pursuit of wines that exclusively show berry and sweet tannins results in dull wines. My opinion. I’ve been known to hold too many of 'em.
I’m sure that if I were operating with unlimited funds, I’d have a sorter as well. And it might collect a lot of dust. But I’m a bootstrapper and I’ve gotta pick and choose my battles, and as far as wine quality goes, that money can go to way more important things.
Mr. Cabot, good to see you here as well. I’m a big supporter of your foray into the wild northlands.

John, for me sugar concentration is an issue, acid too. But the real issue is raisiny flavors and aromas. I want to work toward less leaf pulling to keep from overexposing fruit. This past year up here, it wasn’t like that kept dehydration at bay. But it’s a start.

I am mainly concerned by sugar accumulation in the fermenter. If I pick a given lot at 24brix it will sometimes soak up to 26brix. In addition raisins harbor bad bugs, I noticed the lots that had more raisins to begin with had a higher VA in the wine.

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I was talking to Doug Tunnel at thansgiving time about the raisining they experienced in 09, and his impression was that it was more about the size and tightness of the clusters and the unusually high number of berries per bunch. He said there were just too many berries to support and the bunches just "thinned’ themselves out by cutting off flow to a certain number of berries in any given bunch. I have seen this in grenade like Zin clusters. I’m not talking about berries being pushed out by over crowding either, which happens commonly in ZIn.

Raisins are the bane if my Paso Zin existence. We double sort our smaller/estate lots, but on our larger production wines we simply cannot. Even though we tend not to get pruny/raisiny flavors much. the soaking up makes it really hard to get watering back 100% correct. We had 2 large lots this year that were machine harvested go up to 30+ and were watered. They continued to go up again after that, but unfortunately they started going off on their own after only 2 days of cold soak, so I never did get an accurate read on how high they would have soaked up again.
Gotta love Zin. [swearing.gif]

What is the generally accepted definition of raisins in here? Dimpled fruit or the hard, truly fried little buggers? Unless you are macerating for a really long time, it seemed to me that the raisins stayed intact not causing much concern. I saw one lot that seemed to have a high number of raisins get an enzyme, so we were in and out before the raisins had a chance to blink.

The ones that are hard as rocks probably won’t have the ability to soak up. The raisins I would consider being able to soak up a lot of sugar would be like the consistency of a table raisin that you might eat.

After getting one of those super-soaker zins in 2008, I had to tell my grower that if I got the grapes at over 27 brix (to me, the limit of reasonable), I wouldn’t be able to pay him. The old codger brought the grapes in at 26.3, 3.32, .77 this year. Amazing what a little financial motivation will do.

John, that’s an interesting perspective. I don’t think we would have seen the dehydration without the significant heat. There were several 100+ days and a few at 70+ overnight. Both highly unusual. Still, it makes sense that the vines would shut down, and they might essentially drop fruit to moderate things. It wasn’t like clusters were raisined, rather parts of them. I’ll have to think about this.