Bordeaux Wine Guide: Red Winemaking, Fermentation to Fining

Having looked at the first stages of red winemaking in Bordeaux, from the moment of picking through selection, destemming and pressing, my guide to Bordeaux continues now with this examination of the subsequent steps in the winemaking process.

As with the Picking to Pressing, much of this process can be generalised to other varieties, and to other regions. It is not just the Bordelais who fuss over picking decisions and who worry about how to most effectively sort and improve the quality of the harvested fruit. Some steps in the process, however, are more peculiar to the region and its varieties. Destemming, for example, is de rigueur in Bordeaux, whereas other regions may put both fruit and stems into the fermentation vat.

In this continuation of my examination of the journey from grape to wine, Fermentation to Fining, I will look at some of the peculiarities of fermentation, both alcoholic and malolactic, through to the finishing steps before the wine goes into bottle. Along the way I will continue to pay particular attention to areas of controversy, where decisions must be made, or where the process has particular relevance to Bordeaux.

Bordeaux: Red Winemaking

As I have already indicated, this section of my guide is necessarily brief, providing what I regard as nothing more than a superficial skim of the surface. My intention is to describe some of the work that goes on in Bordeaux to the satisfaction of the drinking Bordeaux enthusiast. These articles do not provides the depth of information required by those studying for wine examinations, or those involved in commercial winemaking. If this includes you, the texts I refer to at the bottom of the page may provide greater satisfaction.

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