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Kramer Vineyards

 

 
Kimberley Kramer
 
January 13, 2020 | Kimberley Kramer

What Wines We’re Looking Forward to in 2020

Piquette

Made from rehydrated grape pressings, Piquette is a lower-alcohol beverage full of fizz and fruit. We read about this nearly forgotten beverage of the ancient farm worker during harvest and decided to give it a try with Müller-Thurgau. Grape solids usually go to the compost pile after pressing, but there’s still sugar and flavor in those skins and pulp that can be extracted after a few days of steeping in water and pressed again. We were delighted to find this humble drink to be tart and citrusy, with a gentle sparkle on the palate. The finished alcohol is 7.5%, perfect for a sunny midday refresher.

Bottled in single-serving 12-ounce longnecks and sharable 750 mL sparkling formats, the Piquette will be released on the first day of spring, March 19.

The Kramers bottling the Piquette November, 2019

The Pétillant-Naturel label features a porcupine, a reference to the wild nature of the style.

Pétillant-Naturel

Also known as méthode ancestrale, this is the oldest method of sparkling production, in which the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is complete, finishing in the bottle. The active yeast consumes the residual sugar from the grapes, generating pressure, resulting in a gentle fizz with loads of yellow fruit flavors. Typically, the wine is not disgorged, and will have a cloudy appearance from the spent yeast in the bottle.

We released a small 20-case lot of Pinot Gris made in this style over the summer, and it sold out quickly. Between the strong response in the tasting room and our desire to grow in our knowledge of sparkling wines, we have increased production this year. Look for the 2019 Pétillant-Naturel Pinot Gris this spring.

2017 Single Clone Pinot Noir Series

We’ve been bottling standalone clones of Pinot Noir since the 2014 vintage (click here for more explanation). In 2017, we expanded the collection to include five clones: Pommard, Wädenswil, 115, 667, and 777. These are wines we make for ourselves, to learn more about clonal selection and expression, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised that these wines have gained a following over the last few years. We’ll be releasing the elegant 2017s throughout the spring and summer and will host a comparative tasting on April 25 & 26 (reservations recommended).

 


We grow nine clones of Pinot Noir--note their distinctive cluster shapes

 

Time Posted: Jan 13, 2020 at 4:37 PM
Kimberley Kramer
 
September 26, 2017 | Kimberley Kramer

2014 Whole Cluster Fermentation in Pinot Noir

What is Whole Cluster Fermentation?

What is Whole Cluster Fermentation? This refers to the practice of fermenting entire bunches of grapes, stems and all. Typically, our grapes go through a destemmer, a machine that knocks the berries off the stems. In the process, many of the berries split and begin to release juice immediately. When we bypass that step, the fruit stays intact longer, releasing the sugar available to the yeast more slowly. This results in fermentations that take longer to complete, at much lower temperatures. The shift in fermentation kinetics, along with the presence of the stem has an impact on aroma, flavor, and structure of the wine. Are these features beneficial to the overall quality? How much whole cluster is the ideal amount, if any? Will our ideas about this change as the wine ages? With the vintage? These are all questions we hope to answer through our whole cluster series.

The Experiment

In 2014, we harvested five tons of Pinot Noir from the same part of the vineyard, and separated the fruit into five fermenters. We added a whole cluster layer in four of these vats, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. The fifth bin was all destemmed. We proceeded with our typical fermentation management protocols, with pumpovers and punch downs twice daily, and pressing at dryness. The wines were aged in older French oak barrels and bottled the winter of 2016.


Owner Keith Kramer, filling vats with destemmed Pinot Noir

 

 

The Results

We observed differences in the fermentation kinetics almost immediately. The vats with higher percentages of whole cluster fermented at lower temperatures:

This also correlates with fermentation rate, as indicated by the rate of sugar depletion.

It seems that utilizing whole cluster fermentation as a technique results in a slower fermentation with lower temperatures. Cool, right?

 

 

Technical Details


We found that the chemistry of the finished wines was varied, although this could be due to differences in ripeness levels in the field, and/or clonal differences throughout the block. It is important to note that each vintage is unique, so for us to learn anything meaningful from this exercise, we will need to repeat the experiment over multiple vintages in varying conditions.

The Wines

Our 2014 whole cluster Pinot Noir set includes one bottle each of the experimental wines, and the 2014 Pinot Noir Yamhill-Carlton, for a total of six bottles. This collection is a lovely gift, and fun to share at a dinner party or with a group of friends.

Order the set >>

 

 

 

 

Time Posted: Sep 26, 2017 at 1:16 PM