Pied de cuve experimenting

Preparing the pied-de-cuves/1

Preparing the pied-de-cuves/1

Every harvest I feel we have some sort of lottery game going on with our pied-de-cuves. They more often start wrong with acetone smells than right with pure fruit flavors. After doing some research and reading articles about yeasts and fermentation at different temperatures, I decided to experiment with low temperature fermentation to start with in order to avoid the acetone smells.

Preparing the pied-de-cuves/2

Preparing the pied-de-cuves/2

In various articles Aki found the same method: start with temperatures between 6 and 10 degrees Celsius stimulating yeast strains which are able to work anaerobe and produce clean and stable fermentation. After this initial phase, one should take the mash out of the fridge or cold environment and transfer it in ambient temperature to gradually have the temperature increase so that fermentation starts and develops without problems.
I tried this on both red and white starters and I can confirm that the grape mash starts to ferment perfectly, although odorless, without any flavors. A strange phenomena.
Once the fermentation started in the cold room, I put the tub outside to let the must gradually increase in temperature. As of 14 degrees Celsius, there was a slight acetone development. With enough oxygen, it disappeared temporarily, but returned stronger as of 16 degrees Celsius.

I was honestly very disappointed as I thought I had found a universal way to start fermentations without problems. And so I started all over again for two more times, working completely anaerobe in the initial phase. Also this method was satisfactory for me.

What I did learn, is that fermentations are part of the Creation, or the Divine. The Human world has been gifted with the intellect to understand the material, the sensorial ability to smell, touch, see, hear, which helps us recognizing differences. Yeasts are part of the Creation and are to be accepted as we will be unable to ever understand the complete complexity of all the changing interactions amongst the hundreds or thousands of yeasts of that specific vintage, in that specific site.

This does not mean that I am against science. On the contrary as there are so many other things to analyze and understand which will occupy an entire life of a sensitive wine producer concerned with understanding the place where he or she lives and trying to seize that expression into a bottle. Maybe in the far future, Man will be able to understand parts of the Creation. Meanwhile and for the time I will remain on mother Earth, I will rely on my nose and the four pillars I regard essential to always make better wines: Logics, Coherence, Intiution and Experience.

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