This special dessert wine is crafted with the style of classic German ice wines in mind. Since Oregon does not reach the constant freezing temperatures necessary to freeze the grapes on the vines, we emulate the process by picking the grapes as whole clusters, gently putting them in quarter-ton bins and freezing those bins in a large freezer for about a month. The warm dry weather during harvest of 2014 allowed for the grapes to have extra hang time on the vine for maximum flavor development without any disease pressure, a rarity here in the valley. This was the last fruit we picked, on October 2nd, which was considered late for our Estate in this vintage.
After pressing all our Pinot ferments and putting them in barrel for their secondary fermentation, we slightly thawed the frozen Riesling grapes for 24 hours before transferring them into the press. It sounds like hail on a tin barn as the hard grapes tumble in. As the frozen grapes are pressed, the water in the grapes remains behind as ice and only the sweetest juice, which does not freeze, slowly drips out and is collected for fermentation. The juice came out twice as sweet as the juice from unfrozen grapes, and the yield was less than half. After the press, we cold fermented the juice for nearly 2 months using a neutral yeast. This painstaking process yielded an incredibly intense, sweet and concentrated wine – a pure expression of the essence of White Riesling from our Estate.
Light gold in color, the 2014 White Riesling Dessert Wine is silky with balanced acidity. With a bright nose, notes of apricot and jasmine come through. The flavors express characteristics of white peach or nectarine and honeysuckle.