Late Harvest Riesling
We sourced our fruit for our Late Harvest Riesling from Green Ranch. Multiple passes were made through the vineyard leaving behind those clusters with purple to greyish berries starting to show signs of botrytis. These clusters were allowed to hang and accumulate sugars and transform flavors. Dry weather in this warm and early vintage helped the botrytis mold push the sugar levels to 40 brix with little bunch rot development. One of the biggest challenges of making a dessert wine is the conditions that encourage botrytis, noble rot, also promote the development of bunch rot. Suddenly, the weather changed bringing light rain and forcing us to pick the grapes before the bunch rot could develop. When the fruit arrived at the winery we were surprised to find the grapes had rehydrated and the brix levels had dropped to 32.6 brix.
The fruit was destemmed into half-ton picking bins and allowed to sit overnight. This hydrates the dried berries with botrytis and helps to extract the juice and flavors. The grapes were gently pressed for hours and allowed to drain slowly. If pressed too hard the soft grapes will clog the drainage channels in the press so it has to be done slowly and gently. The juice was chilled and allowed to settle for 4 days before racking to another stainless steel tank to begin fermentation. The juice was inoculated with Vin 13 a hybrid yeast strain developed in South Africa. This hybrid yeast is a strong fermenter chosen for the difficult conditions that a desert wines present. It also amplifies the expression of terpenes and thiols that naturally occur in the juice, and produces esters. All of these compounds create the intense and complex aromatics found in this wine. The wine was fermented and aged all in stainless steel tanks and was prevented from undergoing any malolactic fermentation. The wine was sterile filtered prior to bottling and no eggs, dairy, or animal derived products were used in the production of this wine.
The wine is a clear, silvery straw color, showing aromas of ironed linen, apricot jam, golden raisin, honey yogurt, and wax. It is medium bodied, satiny, with a zippy tanginess. Flavors of spiced apple, tangerine, and citrus zest are prominent with a gravel finish. It has been described in our tasting room as sunshine in a bottle and summertime in a glass. It is such a pleasant and easy drinking wine that you will find yourself going back for a second glass or more. This is and easy drinking style of dessert wine rather than a honeyed sipper. It pairs well with an after dinner salad, its sweetness and weight complimenting the tartness of a light vinaigrette. It also works well with soft cheeses or could be paired with goat cheese Meyer lemon tarts.