Merlot ripens early but can be delicate and needs to be treated carefully! It is usually the first red grape variety that we bring into the winery and this year was no exception. As with most varieties this year the flavours developed earlier with lower sugar levels and good acidity – perfect maturity!
This clean, healthy fruit was the ideal candidate with which to trial a system of co-inoculation in partnership with our good friends at Oenobrands! This new product, NT202, co-inoculates yeast (for primary, alcoholic fermentation) and bacteria (for secondary, malolactic fermentation) at the same time. The goal with this product is to complete both fermentations much earlier and to keep levels of Volatile Acidity (VA) low. So far it has proved to be very effective. The Merlot juice has now been taken off the skins and the skins pressed. Primary fermentation has finished and malolactic fermentation is 80% complete, which is extraordinary as in some years secondary fermentation has not completed until November!
What this means for us is that as the external temperatures drop we will use less electricity to maintain the red wines at a warm enough temperature to finish their fermentation. Less energy consumption during the vinification process and less manipulation in the winery makes our Merlot a very PC product!