The Stylistic Impact of Different Cap Management Procedures in Cabernet Franc

Summary

Decisions as to the type and duration of cap management during red wine fermentation can have a significant impact on aroma, flavor and chemistry of the resulting wine. Punching down and pumping over bathe the cap in liquid, help minimize microbial spoilage, introduce oxygen to the fermentation, dissipate temperature buildup and reduce saturation of extracted phenolics. The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of gentle punch downs with short pump overs in Cabernet Franc. The winemaking goal for this wine was to produce an early bottling fruit forward style. Punch downs resulted in a slightly warmer cap temperature that was not fully integrated by cap management. Slightly higher levels of phenolics were seen with punch downs vs. pump overs. In a triangle test, 17 out of 28 respondents were able to distinguish these wines, indicating the wines were significantly different (Z=2.873, p=0.002). However, there were no significant differences in scores for fruit intensity, astringency or herbal/green character.

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Different Maceration Techniques in Cabernet Franc (2015)

Cabernet Franc was fermented in three separate ways.  The control received no cold soak nor extended maceration.  One wine was fermented in the Maceration a Chaud du Marc style, where fermenting juice was racked into another tank where the temperature was kept around 20C (70F), the skin was left in the Tbin and temperature was brought up to 42C (107F) until the juice reached a specific gravity of 1.020 and was blended back with the skin.  The third wine received both a cold soak and extended maceration.  No chemical differences were observed between wines, except that the wine with cold soak and extended maceration had higher pH, lower TA, and lower ethanol.  Maceration a Chaud du Marc slightly increased polymeric pigment and color, and slightly decreased hue.  People tended to prefer the Maceration a Chaud du Marc, in spite of being described of having some typical Brettanomyces aromas.

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Co-Fermenting Cabernet Franc with Viognier (2015)

Two lots of Cabernet Franc harvested from the same block were sorted and processed identically. Prior to fermentation Viognier pomace was added to the trial lot (5-7% by volume). The trial wine had lower phenolic and color attributes, likely due to adsorption of phenolic and color compounds on the Viognier pomace.  Tannin was not much lower, but color was greatly lowered.  There were only slight differences in chemistry.  A sensory difference could be distinguished between the control and the trial, with most people preferring the control.

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