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Very tropical, notes of guava and nectarine. A touch of straw on the finish, but not any green notes. Full-bodied, slightly warm on the finish with a hint of alcoholic sweetness.
230 Cases Produced
3g/L Residual Sugar
6mg/L SO2 at Bottling
It's been a while since we had a new release. It's not because we didn't want to. These darn 2020 whites just were not cooperating. 2020 was hot, with a perfect end to the growing season. However, sometimes what happens in hot years is that the fruit loses much of the nutrients required for the yeast to eat and reproduce through fermentation. The combination of high potential alcohol, high acid, and low nutrients made for a harsh environment for the yeast to thrive. The result of these factors caused our fermentations to stick (stop at an undesirable point). We infrequently have stuck fermentations, but when we do, we get stuck. These darn wines would not ferment.
There is one advantage to things not going to plan. We get to improvise! Managing winemaking tends to be a series of sliding door moments. We have opportunities, but they won't be there in the future. In this instance, we had just emptied our Pinot Gris barrels. It was the middle of January. Rather than trudging through the snow to put the barrels into storage, why not fill the barrels with our stuck Sauvignon Blanc and try making a barrel-fermented Fume Blanc as a bit of a twist.
Deciding to switch some of our Sauvignon Blanc inventory into a new wine is not entirely straightforward. Sauvignon Blanc has been one of our steadiest product lines. It is generally very well received, has a consistent following that continues to grow. By removing some inventory and developing a new wine, we are robbing Peter a little bit. On the other hand, making a new wine is fun. So we made a new wine.
I was hoping that the change in environment would also spur the wine to start fermenting again. Maybe some of the Pinot Gris yeast left in the barrel would give the Sauvignon Blanc juice a bit of a kick start. We could innoculate the other fermentations with it finish off the fermentations. We waited another month, and yet nothing was happening. At this point, we start to become nervous. The wines are unprotected, the alcohol is not yet high enough to sanitize the wine. There is a risk of the wine turning into vinegar. We have been stirring the lees for three months at this point to get them to reenergize, but it hasn't worked. So we had to go to our toolbox. We re-inoculated with an alcohol tolerant yeast that was selected to thrive in such inhospitable conditions. I happened to have some on hand that we use for our vermouth base wines, so in it went.
After about a month, the wine was fermenting again. Yay! Finally, the wines had finished fermentation, and when we tasted it, it was a fruit bomb. It was heavier than we expected. As it clarified, Richard and I kept "checking" on its progress. It was delicious but unexpectedly hot. We sent our samples into the lab for final testing and were surprised to discover the wine was 14% alcohol! One of the side effects of the high alcohol tolerant yeast we used was that it is also a very efficient alcohol convertor, a surprisingly efficient converter on these wines.
These wines were anxiety-inducing to make. We ran out of our Sauvignon Blanc about three months ago, and we needed to have the new one in the bottle a while ago, but we try to stick to our no wine before its time mantra. It was a bit of a headache, but fortunately, it's only the self-induced headaches that it's giving us now.