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Old 03-17-2009, 05:41 AM   #1
Texron
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Default Pinot Noir Question

I started a Wine Expert Selection Estate Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir kit 3/06/09. The Starting Gravity was 1.096. The day after I started it it was bubbling furiously and continued for about 7 days without stopping. On the 7th day It was bubbling when I went to work and totally still when I got home. I got really busy with work and didn't get back to it until yesterday which would be day 12. I racked it fronm the primary to a carboy and then checked the Specfic gravity and it was at 0.0991. Another check today it was unchanged so I assumed it was through fermenting so I stabilized it, stirred it to release the carbon dioxide and added the fining agents.

This was strange. The instructions tell you to leave it in the secondary fermentation stage for 10 days or until the SG is 0.996 or less. I can only assume that it was completed in the primary fermenter because I left it there for 12 days, but I wonder, is this common or perhaps its a characteristic of Pinot Noir grapes? Might I expect some "off-flavors" from leaving it on the lees in the primary fermentor so long or is this another one of those situations where "it will probably be OK".

I will appreciate anyones feedback on this.

Ron

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Old 03-17-2009, 12:06 PM   #2
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I'm no expert on this, but from what I've read over the past years, leaving the lees in will only help the flavor.

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Old 03-17-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
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No problem. What you describe sounds perfectly normal. You would have to leave it on the lees much longer for that to have any effect. Personally I probably would have left it in the secondary for at least 10days before moving to the next stage but what you did was not wrong given where the wine was. Just leave it clear in the fermenter for a month or more before bottling. This wine will not reach its peak until around a year after you start so there is no hurry.

Lees aging is used to improve some wines. However it is a strategy that requires certain yeast strains favorable to the process and some process steps including rousing the yeast at regular intervals. Leaving a wine sit on the yeast does not automatically improve the wine. However leaving the wine on the lees for a month or more will do no harm.

Craig

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Old 03-17-2009, 04:04 PM   #4
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Thansk Craig, I appreciate your feedback. Obviouslly this is not an exact science but it certainly is a mystery. I realize in a couple years I'll look back with a chuckle over those "early" days but it sure seems like your flying blind sometimes.

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