13 Jul 2011

2011 Fume Blanc will be bottled next week. I am always excited by and about wine but it's not very often that I am genuinely thrilled, in the way that I am by this wine.
It's the result of experimentation, hard work, experience and luck.
The experimental part was the fermenting of the entire batch in small oak barrels with one new French barrel included. We have done this before (2010 Fume Blanc) but not with the new oak.
70% of the barrels were not inoculated--they fermented with the natural indigenous yeast on the grapes. The remainder were fermented with a relatively neutral yeast chosen for its simplicity. We didn't want anything in the way of the fruit.
The hard work came with monitoring each individual barrel. Just about all Sauvignon Blancs are fermented in tank so you have one fermentation to look after, not a multitude. We also stirred the barrels, just  as in Chardonnay production.

The experience was knowing what outcome we wanted, from tasting other wines, tasting our grapes and knowing what was possible.
The luck allowed us to harvest these grapes in very good condition in the difficult 2011 vintage (the second-wettest on record apparently). Disease was all around us but the Sauvignon Blanc survived. 
The wine itself is pure class--it has more style than Karl Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel combined. More detailed tasting notes will follow once we have it bottled and settled down.