ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 100% Gewürztraminer
• pH: 3.00
• TA: 10.4 g /L
• ALCOHOL: 7.21%
• BRIX AT HARVEST: 47.9 °B
• RESIDUAL SUGAR: 38.1%
• BOTTLED: August 2010
• PRODUCTION: 147 cases


Vintage

Unlike our other wines, the vintage for Ice Wine hinges on one singular event. Bud break, bloom, fruit set and veraison all play an important role in the development of the grape and the ultimate flavors we will get out of the Ice Wine. Most importantly, though, after all of these and after all of the other fruit in the vineyards has been harvested, we put bird netting over the Ice Wine grapes and we wait until the weather turns very cold. Production of a true Ice Wine requires the grapes to freeze on the vine at 17°F or colder for a minimum of 3 hours before harvest. Once the temperature dips below 17°F, at no time should the temperature of the grapes rise back above 17°F. Fortunately, on the morning of December 7th nature did not disappoint. Howling winds and sub zero temperature on the heels of a snow storm created beautiful Ice Wine harvest conditions. It also created a nightmare on our eastern Washington
country roads. Driving was impossible due to snowfall, and the picking crew could not make it to the vineyard. On December the 8th the roads were finally plowed, the wind had calmed down and fortunately, temperatures were still sitting at 0°F. Under these ideal conditions the 2009 Ice Wine was picked and brought to the winery.


Winemaking

At 17°F or colder the grapes become more like snow cones than like grapes. Pressing the grapes at this cold temperature causes the water (ice) to stay trapped in the skins and only the concentrated syrupy sugar is coaxed from the fruit. Thus, shortly after arrival, on the bitter cold morning of December 8, we transferred the Ice Wine grapes into the press, beginning the slow, methodical drip, drip, drip of the golden nectar. Pressing Ice Wine grapes must be done as gently and patiently as possible. Only after 2 hours of pressing the fruit did we finally see the first drips of Gewurztraminer syrup. After a day of pressing the daytime high climbed into the low teens and there was only a very small amount of juice out of the press. We left the fruit in the press overnight and started again the next morning, and the next. After 3 days of pressing, we were finished, and out of almost 2.5 tons of fruit we had barely 172 gallons of juice. We let the juice settle for the next two days, and then we racked the juice to 4 barrels for fermentation. Each barrel was inoculated with different strain of yeast. Despite the 3 month fermentation process, the yeast consumed only 20% of the available sugar. We then blended the 4 barrels together. To build complexity and to allow the flavors from the individual components marry, we gave the wine an additional 4 months of barrel age. We were very pleased with the result, and we proudly bottled our 2009 Ice Wine on August 18, 2010.


Winemaker Comments

Nose and palate are firmly integrated in our 2009 Gewürztraminer Ice Wine. Orange blossom, honeysuckle and tangerine are followed by dried apricots and luscious dates. A firm core of acidity leaves the palate cleansed and refreshed, leaving you with the suddenly plausible notion that you have just imbibed the most delectable honey on the face of the Earth.