My last day in New York scheduled a drive out the South Fork of Long Island to visit with Christopher Tracy, a man inspired by the wines of Friuli (not to mention Blaufrankisch–I love Blaufrankish), and the wine maker of the winery Channing Daughters. However, at the last minute I had to cancel due to a mix-up with the car rental company. Disappointed not to hear more about Christopher’s work in person, I set out to find at least one of his wines in New York City.
Slope Cellars in Park Slope solved my problem by carrying the 2008 Meditazione, a Friuli-inspired white wine blend created with 30 days of skin contact, co-fermentation, and barrel aging. In other words, a New York State orange wine.
Channing Daughters 2008 Meditazione
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Channing Daughters’ 2008 Meditazione is a strange, intriguing, and highly textural wine. The blend brings together Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Friulano, Muscat Ottonel, and Pinot Grigio in a full maceration production process. As has been discussed here previously, the extended skin contact chosen in producing this wine allows tannin effect on the palate. The result of which carries a wonderful tongue grip tickle sensation in the mouth.
In producing this wine, the blend of grapes changes from year to year depending on the best balance for the particular vintage. The grapes are de-stemmed and then co-fermented in an open top fermenter, without pump over. The wine is left this way with full skin contact for periods varying from year to year. In 2008 the wine was left on skins for 10 days (in 2009 for 30 days). After fermentation is complete, the wine is moved to a mix of new and old Slovenian oak for 18 months of aging before bottling. With its tighter grain, Slovenian oak introduces lesser tannin or flavor influence to the wine, while still providing some of the complexity and layering offered by its slow introduction of oxygen to the juice as it ages.
The flavors of the 2008 Meditazione are dusty and yellow fruit focused, with layers of nut, white pepper, and touches of honey. The wine begins tight in the nose and mouth with distinct textural layers that open to reveal more dried yellow fruit and skin notes with time in the glass. There are flavors of pickled lemon (salt with citrus), dried white sage, and lightly smokey elements. I couldn’t help but keep returning to the glass with this wine. It is strange, in the most wonderful way, showing the qualities associated with orange wines but with its particular grape combination carrying its own unique presentation of bouquet and flavors. The alcohol level comes in at good balance with 12% alongside medium acidity and tannin, and an ultra-long finish. I had to chase it around the block.
Christopher, thank you for making the time to meet with me. I apologize for the mishap, and am happy to know I can look forward to meeting you in person later in the year. (Also, Ben at Slope Cellars asked me to say hello.)
Thank you to Ben at Slope Cellars for the help in locating Channing Daughters Meditazione, and for the great conversation. I enjoyed meeting you.
Slope Cellars, 436 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215. 718-369-7307
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