ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 100% Gewürztraminer, Gordon Bros. Estate,
• ALCOHOL: 8.24%
• RESIDUAL SUGAR: 31%
• BOTTLED: September 2009
• PRODUCTION: 190 six-packs
The designation of an Ice Wine requires the grapes to freeze on the vine itself through naturally occurring conditions. Although no temperature requirement exists in the United States, at Gordon Brothers we choose to adhere to the Canadian standard of 17 °F or colder. Due to the abnormally cold nature of the 2008 vintage we were confident nature would provide us with these stringent conditions. Not one to disappoint, on December 16th we harvested the Gewürztraminer. The day started at a chilly -3 °F with a daytime high of 16°F. Definitely cold enough for Ice wine! We started picking at day break and we were finished by 11am.
At 17°F or colder the grapes become more of a snow cone and less of a grape. The advantage of this is that when the grapes are pressed the water/ice stays behind trapped in the skins and the concentrated sugar syrup is patiently coaxed from the fruit. Thus shortly after arrival the grapes were transferred into the press beginning the slow, methodical drip, drip, drip of the golden nectar. The grapes were pressed for over 6 hours on the 16th as the juice worked its way out of the frozen mass.
We left the grapes in the press overnight, and pressing commenced again for another 4 hours until the stubborn mass refused to yield any more. Despite this extended pressing regime, the yield on the 2008 Ice Wine was a mere 50 gallons per ton compared to a normal yield of 150-155 gallons per ton for our other wines. The juice was allowed to settle for 2 days prior to racking allowing for lees compaction and trying to maximize what little juice we had. The juice was transferred to new American Oak barrels that had only previously fermented Chardonnay juice.
Total fermentation time was over 4 months long. Even after this extended fermentation time the yeast only managed to consume 30% of the available sugar before giving up, utterly exhausted from the difficult task of fermenting syrup.
Floral infused honey and gently crushed roses leap out of the glass with explosive potential. Carrying seamlessly through to the palate the aromas are joined by flavors of apricots and nectarines, blood oranges and lots of citrus zest. Firm acidity keeps the residual sugar in check and provides a mouthwatering finish that demands you take another sip. For a dip into the exotic do not pair this wine with anything. Instead pour generous helpings over your favorite vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy the decadence.