This study examines the impact of different tannin addition practices on the color and tannin profiles of Merlot wine. Merlot was harvested from the same block and split into three separate fermentation vessels. One vessel received no tannin or oak chip additions, a second vessel received VR Supra and Lafase HE Grand Cru at processing, and VR Color during fermentation (ARC-Laffort Protocol), and a third treatment received Lafase HE Grand Cru and mini chips bois frais oak chips at processing. All other treatments between wines were equal. Wine chemistry between treatments were the same, except that the control tended to have slightly lower TA. Both treatments increased color intensity and tannin, with the Laffort-ARC protocol having the greatest impact. The treatments slightly increased catechin and gallic acid. The treatments tended to slightly lower anthocyanins, but increased polymeric pigment. No strong trends could be seen for the descriptors used in this study. There was a slight tendency for the control to have higher Fruit Intensity and lower Astringency. The Oak Chips + Grand Cru had a slight tendency to increase Body, Bitterness, and Overall Aromatic Intensity. However, these were weak trends. In general, the ARC-Laffort Protocol Treatment was the least preferred. Several judges described these wines as having slightly oxidized characteristics, and as such these sensory results may not be very representative.
This study examined the impact of 5 winemaking techniques on the phenolic composition of Merlot. The treatments were as follows: 1) Control, 2) Stomping grapes during a delestage (otherwise identical to control), 3) Lafase Grand Cru (Laffort) at crush, 4) VR Supra (Laffort) at crush, and 5) Both Lafase Grand Cru and VR Supra at crush. All other treatments were the same between wines. All wines had a delestage operation performed at 2 Brix, where stomping occurred for the stomping treatment. There were no major chemical differences between wines. Stomping had very little effect on phenolic chemistry. VR Supra and Grand Cru alone increased color, but when combined color was lowered (corresponding to lower anthocyanins). No other impacts on phenolic qualities could be observed, except tannin was increased and gallic acid decreased in the wine treated with VR Supra. The sensory impact of the VR supra treatment cannot be adequately assessed due to it being an outlier. Overall, the treatments tended to slightly increase Fruit Intensity and Body relative to the Control. The stomped wine tended to be the most preferred wines for all but the May 3 Tasting. Grand Cru + VR Supra also tended to be regarded fairly highly. The Control wine tended to be the least preferred. These results were not very strong, however, and more studies on the impacts of these treatments on the chemical and sensory qualities of wine should be performed. Additionally, more work should be done to examine the impact of these treatments on wine during aging.