It’s no secret that the team at Traynor is a fan of experimenting in the cellar, and knows that the job is never done when it comes to perfecting a process. With the most recent release of the 2021 Inclusion Orange, we thought it would be a great excuse to walk down memory lane and do a vertical tasting across the three vintages of this wine. Richard reminisced with each sip and was able to taste the Inclusion Orange’s evolution, while chatting about how the process has changed over the years to bring different qualities of the wine to life in the bottle.
Before even getting started, you can see from first glance that there are big changes across the vintages just based off of colour. Each year there was a different process as Mike and Richard tested with what they truly wanted out of this wine, and how they wanted it to evolve not only in the glass, but in the bottle over time.
First up was the 2017 Inclusion Orange. This was the first iteration of this wine and was skin-fermented Frontenac Gris. The wine sat on the skins for around 20 days, which is why there is a lot of colour and tannin present, and definitely darker than what was originally intended. When this wine was bottled and young, it was really intense and big on the nose, but is now mellowing out, giving those enjoying the wine years later notes of candied orange peel, versus fresh fruit flavours. The 2017 was also originally very smoky, but has mellowed out and hints of smoke are now almost non-existent. Richard remembers the 2017 being tannic, but again this has softened a lot over the years. It still has a bitter quality to it and has actually become more intense over time, but in a refreshing way. This is pretty common in skin-fermented white wines, and almost serves as a palette cleanser.
Moving onto the 2019, you can already see it is much lighter in colour — more of a gold than orange. This is due to a change in the process, where the grapes were cold soaked first before skin fermenting, meaning it sat on its own skin for four days, but was kept cold so it didn’t start to ferment. This change in process helped to extract less bitter qualities and more fresh fruit notes. Once done with cold soaking, they took the juice, and used a technique called Ripasso over Sauvignon Blanc skins. This additional step added some complexity and other flavours to the wine. On the nose there are some similarities to the 2017, like the ripe citrus qualities. However, the 2019 has a bit more herbal notes shining through — think thyme, sage, savoury spices and fresh tea leaves. On the palette, there is almost no tannin to it, especially when comparing to the 2017. This wine is much lighter, with no bitter quality, and more acidity like a sour candy.
Finally, we make it 2021, where lessons from both years could be put into practice. The grapes were once again cold soaked on its own skins, followed by Ripasso — up until this point it is the same as the 2019. However, at the very end of the process the team blended the juice with Sauvignon Blanc, making the blend approximately 65% Frontenac Gris and 35% Sauvignon Blanc. This addition added more layers and complexity to the wine and a happy balance between the previous two vintages. Richard smiled as he said they finally nailed the colour on this one — a more intense orange colour, but not as dark as 2017. The nose is a lot more subtle and less pronounced in 2021, think more underripe citrus — lime or lemon not quite ripe yet. On the palette you can recognize the balance right away, it still has the sour candy quality of 2019, but more subtle. There is also little more bitterness to it compared to 2019, but not as bitter as 2017. It is the product of the previous two vintages and landing somewhere perfectly balanced and refreshing.
There is always a reason to continue experimenting and testing out new winemaking techniques, especially since you never know what the crops are going to look like going into harvest each year, but the team all agreed the 2021 was the perfect blend of the previous vintages and great for sipping on no matter what time of year it is.
Keep an eye on Traynor’s social channels @traynorvineyard for upcoming new releases and winery updates as we get ready for an exciting 2022 season in Prince Edward County!