After I dosed the wine with SO2 back in November, it looked like the wines dumped a lot of sediment. This was a little surprising since they’d fermented dry so I’d figured there wasn’t much yeast going about in there. But, maybe there was.
I fretted about it over the holidays. On the one hand, these were super tannic and I was told by a winemaker that exposure to the lees would alleviate that to a degree. On the other hand, I’ve been reading in Goode’s book all about how exposure to dead yeast cells can lead to undesirable results. I was also thinking about how I’d like to reduce oxygen exposure, but since I’d already gone down the SO2 road, I was able to comfort myself to a degree there.
Regardless, the rack-it-off side won out and yesterday I racked it off the sediment (and took the opportunity to check in).
D21 Petite Sirah
The Petite Sirah I fermented with the D21 seemed to throw a lot of sediment after the addition of SO2 in November. When I’d racked it out of the carboy, however, there was a good amount but not nearly as much as I had thought. It just climbed up the sides of the carboy a bit, giving the impression of depth. It was also rather compacted and hard, so the wine that I racked off was pretty clean even at the end.
Tasting was a big surprise though. The D21 had been the more tannic of the two — like really tannic. But, this time around, it was pretty muted. The tannins were still strong, but not overwhelming. As I wrote in my notes: “Tannins are quite nice. Still austere but approachable.” Not a lot of fruit and not a ton of depth to the flavor, but not the wild ride it was before.
As for So2 this time around, it was at 35ppm as I measured it and I added an additional 25ppm to bring it to 60ppm. Less than what’s recommended given the ph (measured at 3.97 this time), but still a safe level for the added oxygen exposure I was giving it.
RP-15 Petite Sirah
The RP-15 batch didn’t look like it dropped as much sediment — and it didn’t. What it did drop was a bit looser however. Tasting this hadn’t changed as much as the D21. But, whereas this tannic wine was still less so than the D21 previously, now it’s the more tannic of the two. It still displays a decent amount of fruit in the background and a decent depth as well.
Likewise, this clocked in at about 35ppm SO2 (though likely a bit below that) and I added an additional 25ppm. On the ph meter, this was giving me a 3.98.
Thoughts and Next Steps
So, maybe there’s something to the idea that leaving it on the sediment reduces tannin? The D21 threw more sediment and saw a dramatic reduction in the tannic nature.
Also, the jug of the two combined, which I used to top up, which barely had any sediment (maybe because I didn’t add SO2, and it was totally fine by the way), was possibly the most tannic. I’m thinking it preserved a lot of that original D21 character. Interesting stuff.
These guys are close to being bottle ready I think. I’ll probably give it another month or so, then make it happen.