The Wine ~
The grapes were picked at peak ripeness: 24 Brix in this vintage. Pressing was done as whole clusters, utilizing a membrane press to gently dejuice the grapes without breakage of skins, seeds, or stems. The juice was settled for 24 hours and racked to barrel for 100% barrel fermentation. Fermentation was conducted at approximately 55° F to promote a long, slow development of the fruit. Three distinctive yeasts, two isolates from Burgundian cellars and another from Champagne, were used to add complexity.
Upon completion of primary fermentation, the barrels were stirred weekly to promote the breakdown of the yeasts adding additional layers of complexity as well as enhancing the creamy texture of the wine. Malolactic fermentation started at the completion of primary fermentation and continued through February. The wine was aged surlies for 16 months in barrel. This extra time allowed the slowly developing fruit to emerge and further enhance the richness and structure.
Tasting Notes ~
(Barrel Sample 3/00) Dutton: ripe apple, butter, tightly focused but less developed at this stage, needs time to open up. Poplar: apricot, perfumey/floral high notes, intense fruit up front.