For this project, V&E students sampled Semillon wines from various regions and opted to create a different style of Semillon than what is typically made in Washington. The students followed flavor development in ripening grapes and chose to harvest half of the fruit early on September 7, 2018 at 22°Brix and a pH of 3.1 to capture the floral and mineral flavors and fine acidity found in the fruit at that ripeness. The second half was picked 28 days later at a maturity of 26°Brix and a pH 3.35–more typical harvest parameters for the Washington wine industry.
The grapes were hand-picked and whole cluster pressed. Juice was settled, racked without SO2, enzymes, bentonite additions, and fermented in neutral oak barrels with FermArome yeast, and no malolactic fermentation. After completion of fermentation, the wines were aged on fine yeast lees for four months before bottling.
The two wines were very different. The early pick had very strong floral and mineral aromas with lime zest, a delicate texture, and higher acidity. The later harvest was heavier, with pear and quince flavors and a creamy texture with more pronounced phenolics. The class evaluated fining options to soften the phenolics and tried a variety of blend proportions. In the end, the students decided to combine the two wines in a 50:50 blend, combining the mineral and floral aromas and fine texture of the early harvest with the fruit and heavier mouthfeel of the second harvest.
Aroma/Flavor: Floral (Honey Suckle, Elderflower, Lavender), Mineral (Wet Stones), Honey, Lime Zest
Partner Vineyard: Inland Desert Nursery | Yakima Valley AVA
Partner Winemaker: Pepper Bridge Winery |Walla Walla, WA
Composition: 13.54% Alcohol, TA 6.53g/L, pH 3.18, RS 0.27g/L
Quantity Produced: 150 Cases