Kian Tavakoli, winemaker for Crushpad, explains when you do and do not want to think about including whole clusters in your
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Hello Everybody and welcome to yet another exciting installment of our CrushPad Winemaker Minutes. And in this installment, I am going to be talking about destemming and why do wineries or wine makers do stem their fruit, whether it is a white wine or red wine, there is reasoning for destemming and what the basic notion of destemming is that actually taking the berries and separating them from the stems.
Now, there is plenty of different wines that are made here at CrushPad from Cabernet to Pinot to Cero as well as white wines like Chardonnay sauvignon and even some rehunie and just to get the white wine out of the way. The majority of the fruits that we process in CrushPad is actually whole class suppressed. So the stems are actually included in the pressed, well, while we do the squeezing because those stems actually serve as a filter to be able get clearer juice into the tank for settling. But if anybody wants to do any kind of skin contact for their white wine, that is where they would do some of destemming or entirely a full amount of destemming, hundred percent of destemming.
Now, how destemming would we do for a red wine? Let say, we are making a very aggressive ripe Cabernet and wanted to express quite a bit of Tannins. Now, keep in mind that Cabernet is actually quite tonic as the variety in terms of the amount of Tannins that are in the skins as well as in the seeds. Particularly, for dealing with very ripe seeds, so there is really no need for any destemming inclusion in the fermenting bin. What stem inclusion would do to any wine that has stems in it is actually impart additional Tannins structure to the wine, which gives it a backbone into finish and gives that kind of tightness that you find in younger wines.
So, as I mention with Cabernet, why have even more Tannins that you need to eventually have take out. So, for the most part as Cabernet wine makers, we tend to completely destem the fruit. Now, we get to a variety like Pinot or Cero or maybe even Zinfandel and a lot of times, there is not a lot of natural Tannins in the skins, in Pinot, it is a very thin skin variety to begin with so not a lot of phenolics there. And with Cero, it is usually more fruit driven as suppose to actual Tannins that are available in the skin.
But in the seeds as well as in the stems, quite a bit of Tannins can be found there and we can find our way into including a percentage of stems in there. Question is how much stems should we include in the bins and that really is related to the level of Tannins structure, a particular wine maker wants to put in their wine and also quite importantly, how ripe are the stems? If we are dealing with a vintage or year where the fruit does not ripe an all the way through and we have to pick due to some rain that maybe hitting the vineyard or we have reach optimal flavor development but the seeds and the stems still have not reach full lignifications, which actually means browning of the seeds and the stems and kind of a slide wood layering that is what lignifications means.
And what then would happen in those vintages where there is no proper lignifications? If you include those stems in there you would impart harsher, more bitter and green type of Tannins. So, we do look for very closely when the food comes in to the winery, to monitor those stems, to make sure that we have proper ripeness before any kind of inclusion is put in there. And for anybody who is interested in additional flavor and aromatic developments in their wines particularly in Cero and Zinfandel, by putting ripe stems in there, you do get that spicy, nutty, to some extent sometimes even a little bit of under wood character that shows through in the wine. That gives the wine an extra layer of complexity, gives a little bit more focus and of course with the additional Tannins component in there, you actually get a much sturdier and much more aged worthy wine.