Light gold color, it has a nose of orange blossom, apricot, and bergamot. Slightly peaked acidity, with a dry, cleansing finish.
Making skin-fermented whites has been something I have been playing with off and on for years. My first accidental vintage of a skin-fermented chardonnay was in 2001. Accidental because there was a bin of fruit in the back that I forgot about and it kinda took care of itself for a week. When stumbled upon it again, I decided to try to salvage it and kept it separate from the rest of the chardonnay. As the wine evolved, I became very fond of it. The intensity and concentration were unmatched by any of the other whites I made that year. While that wine was deeply, deeply flawed, there was something to it.
Skin-fermented whites became something of a regular for us at Traynor in 2016. We have been experimenting with styles, techniques, and varieties every year since then. We try something, we drink something, we try something else. In our first vintage, I essentially tried to re-create that first accident and for the most part, I did. It was concentrated, rich, tannic, esoteric, and angular. Very interesting, not particularly friendly.
2017; we played around some more. I picked a little later, fermentation was a little colder, the wine was a little brighter, but still a bit too heavy to consume in bulk (my preferred style of consumption).
To be honest, I don't remember 2018-2019. We were balancing new babies, we focused our skin contact work on our 5th Element and Inclusion.
So, 2020... What a year...
The greatest development for us in 2020 was the creation of the bottle shop. It created an entirely new sales channel for us, but also expanded our team and our feedback loop. We now have a much larger group of really amazing people who 1)love wine, 2) love what we are about, and 3) provide us direct feedback on what people are looking for in our wines. The feedback was clear. People love what we are trying to achieve, but we should be making our natural wines (skin contact in particular) more FUN!
So Richard and I went back to the drawing board. We looked at several wines from wineries around the world and tried to figure out their process. What we settled on as a game plan for harvest to change things up was to;
1) Destem to soften the tannin
2) Cold soak to achieve fruitier, lighter extraction
3) Press slightly before fermentation was completed, to avoid harsh/bitter tannins
4) Rack sooner to get the wine off the seeds and skins
5) Bottle as quickly as possible to avoid using sulfites (as much as possible) and keep the wine fresh.
So that was the plan... The fermentation took forever to take off, so it had a nice, long cold soak. Twenty-eight days on the skins. Then it took four months to ferment. We had originally intended on making three different skin-fermented whites (a Chardonnay, a Riesling, and our 5th Element), but halfway through maceration, we decided to blend the Chardonnay and Riesling. I liked the floral aromatics and acidity on the Riesling and thought it would blend well with the fruit and softness of the Chardonnay. There were a few other minor changes to the plan throughout, but overall I think we achieved our goal.