Co-Fermenting Cabernet Franc with Viognier (2015)

Emily Pelton

Veritas Vineyard & Winery


Two lots of Cabernet Franc harvested from the same block were sorted and processed identically. Prior to fermentation Viognier pomace was added to the trial lot (5-7% by volume). Both lots were inoculated and fermented separately but identically receiving the same additions. Both lots were pressed on the same day, settled and racked to identical barrels for aging. 

Lab Results

Sensory Results

There was a significant difference (p<0.05) between the Control (no co-fermentation) and the Trial (co-fermentation). Of those that correctly identified the difference between trial and control (n=21) 61.9% preferred the control and 23.8% preferred the trial, and 14.3% had no preference.

Descriptive Analysis:


Appearance: Red/purple with deep core. Red and blue hues. Shining, bright. 

Aroma: Intensity and concentration of dark fruit and spice. Slight over ripe/cooked fruit. Young red wine, cherry, spices, dark berries, a bit metallic, a bit oaky(?), some butter/cream, perhaps slightly reduced (only one taster commented on this). 

Taste: Round, volume soft but some structured tannins all the way around. Seems to end too soon. Slight Brettanomyces character at the end (only one taster mentioned this). Green tannins, dry acid. Sticky/astringent and bitter finish. Lacks mid palate. 

Overall: Young, astringent red that lacks mid palate. Seems fruit-driven. May have slight reduction.


Appearance: Medium ruby, less bright, lighter core, lighter hues, less blue, more watery at the edge of rim. Less vibrant, a bit older-appearing color. 

Aroma: Red fruit, under ripe tones (green branch), chili powder, some acetic notes, curry, cumin, spices, less fresh, almost jammy, a bit dirty. Aromas not as dense. 

Taste: Lean entry, aggressive/astringent/green tannins, lacks volume, harsh/dry finish. Watery, shorter. Seems older. Less structure but as astringent as Control. Lean. 

Overall: Lighter. One taster felt the wine seemed "older" in color and aromas. Structure still has green tannins and astringency. There seemed to be some acetic notes with this wine. One taster thought this wine fruitier and fresher, while another taster felt it seemed older with less fruit and freshness (contradiction among tasters).

The trial wine had lower phenolic and color attributes, likely due to adsorption of phenolic and color compounds on the Viognier pomace.  Tannin was not much lower, but color was greatly lowered.  There were only slight differences in chemistry.

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