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Sam Platt

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Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Sam Platt » Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:16 pm

Can anyone suggest a red Burgundy that uses "whole cluster" fermentation? Or suggest where I might find a list of producers who use the technique.

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Sam

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Peter May

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Peter May » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:47 pm

John D. Zuccarino wrote:I can tell you of two I know of, Rowland Cellars and
Belle Vallée Cellars


But they're not Burgundy....... :?:
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Sam Platt » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:54 pm

I have been able to find some domestic Pinot producers that use whole cluster fermentation, but I cannot find a list of Burgundy producers who use the technique. It was suggested to me that appreciating the aroma and taste imparted by whole cluster fermentation is important to developing a well rounded education in Burgundy.
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Peter May » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:05 pm

I thought whole cluster fermentation was standard in Beaujolais which makes me think that means it is not common in neighbouring Burgundy :)
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Howie Hart

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Howie Hart » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:18 pm

I'm sorry, but I cannot suggest one, despite spending quite a bit of time nosing around, as the technique intrigues me also. I have a 1990 version of Robert Parker's "Burgundy" and he describes many Burgundy producers who cold ferment whole bunches of grapes for 6-10 days. All the producers listed also used an enologist named Guy Accad, who apparently has fallen out of favor since the book was published (stories about him pop up in a Google search). Apparently, the technique is relatively new to Burgundy, with the earliest examples from the mid-70s. Many of the wines produced this way in the '80s had intense color, were very aromatic and Parker rated many of them very high, however, he wasn't sure how long they would last, speculating that the winemaking techniques may lead to short-lived wines. In addition, many of the wines were made from small parcels and production was as small as 25 cases. A few listed in the 1990 book are: Domaine Georges Chictot - Nuits St. Georges; Domaine J. Confuron-Cotetidot - Vosne-Romnee; Chateau De La Tour - Vougeot. As indicated by the publication date, this info is quite dated and may not be valid today.
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Sam Platt » Wed Apr 19, 2006 2:07 pm

Howie Hart wrote:I'm sorry, but I cannot suggest one, despite spending quite a bit of time nosing around, as the technique intrigues me also


I find lots of general information on the techinque, and even some references that it is used in Burgundy, but no detail on who uses it. Perhaps for some reason it's a technique that Burg producers don't want to advertise. Longevity may be the issue. If that were the case I would still think some Village and Premier Cru producers would make use of whole cluster fermentation. I'm after something that I can drink near term (now) anyway. If I had more free time I would turn my search for WCF Burgs into a quest. Alas, there are bills to be paid.

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Sam

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Sam Platt » Fri Apr 21, 2006 6:40 pm

I found this at Avalonwine.com:
Whole cluster fermentation - A traditional winemaking technique (used particularly in Burgundy) where grapes are not destemmed and the entire cluster is added to the fermentation tank (meaning grapes and stems).

Yet I still cannot find any information on Burgundy producers who use the technique! Perhaps its use is so common place it doesn't merit mention by the producers.
Sam

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Steve Edmunds

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Steve Edmunds » Fri Apr 21, 2006 9:19 pm

Claude Kolm must have some ideas about who may or may not. One issue is that the stems tend to effect the depth of color in the wine, which may be an issue for some vignerons.
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Bob Ross

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Bob Ross » Sat Apr 22, 2006 12:52 pm

Sam, this is from Robinson's Oxford 2 -- there's a new edition in the pipeline for the fall:

whole bunch fermentation

"Ultra-traditional method of red wine fermentation in which grape berries are not subjected to destemming. The possible disadvantages are that, unless the fruit is very ripe and must is handled very gently, the stems may impart harsh tannins to the wine. The technique also involves a greater total capacity of fermentation vessels which must be open topped to allow punching down of the cap. The advantages are that the stems can ease the drainage of the juice through the cap, and encourage healthy oxygenation by increasing the cap's interface with the atmosphere during maceration. This practice is most common in Burgundy."
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Bob Ross » Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:07 pm

Sam, here's one producer:

Domaine J. Confuron Coteditot
Yves Confuron sticks to the family tradition of whole-bunch fermentation, picking very late. These are wines which can taste richly jammy when very young, with huge body and tannins fine enough to mislead one into believing they will not last - but the Premiers and Grand Crus are ten to fifteen year wines in a top vintage. One of the very top domaines of the Côte de Nuits, and the wines are in great demand, with the Grands Crus nearly always selling out from our first offers.


http://www.londonfinewine.com/viewCategory.do?id=107

Regards, Bob
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Steve Edmunds

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Steve Edmunds » Sat Apr 22, 2006 1:52 pm

Couple of observations related to Jancis' quote: It's the stems that need to be ripe enough (the grapes, of course, must be properly ripe). The fermenter doesn't need to be open-top; pumping over is common in whole-bunch fermentations in various parts of France.
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Bob Ross » Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:13 pm

Thanks, Steve. I'll send your note to her -- she's working on page proofs, and that seems a useful clarification to me.

And here I thought you were just a little old guitar picker! :-)

Regards, Bob

PS: I loved your intervention on Therapy. B.
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Bob Ross » Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:35 pm

Steve, you have another fan: Jancis responded five minutes after I wrote to her:

Thanks a lot! I'm a big fan of Steve's. You won't believe how much OCW has changed... I hope.

Best,

Jancis

My message to Jancis read:

Hi,

I thought you might be interested in this comment on the definition of whole bunch fermentation from the OW 2d, since I know you are working on a revision:

"Ultra-traditional method of red wine fermentation in which grape berries are not subjected to destemming. The possible disadvantages are that, unless the fruit is very ripe and must is handled very gently, the stems may impart harsh tannins to the wine. The technique also involves a greater total capacity of fermentation vessels which must be open topped to allow punching down of the cap. The advantages are that the stems can ease the drainage of the juice through the cap, and encourage healthy oxygenation by increasing the cap's interface with the atmosphere during maceration. This practice is most common in Burgundy."

Steve Edmunds, who makes some lovely wines, wrote: "Couple of observations related to Jancis' quote: It's the stems that need to be ripe enough (the grapes, of course, must be properly ripe). The fermenter doesn't need to be open-top; pumping over is common in whole-bunch fermentations in various parts of France."

Regards, Bob
Last edited by Bob Ross on Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Howie Hart » Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:57 pm

We were not discussing whole berry fermentatio. We were discussing Carbonic maceration. Carbonic maceration and whole berry fermentation are not the same thing.
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Sam Platt

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Re: Whole Cluster Fermentation?

by Sam Platt » Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:11 pm

Thanks to everyone for the replies. I will seek out the Cotedidot. It's not available here, but I might be able to find some in the "big city" (Indianapolis). I will also see if I can get input from Claude Kolm.

Thanks Again,
Sam

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