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Wine Business Monthly

Winemakers Use Pied de Cuve Instead of Sulfur
An Alternative Method to Stabilizing Central Coast Whole Cluster Pinor Noir
Elaine Chukan Brown

TOGETHER RAJAT PARR AND Sashi Moorman are the winemakers behind Domaine de la Cote and Sandhi in the Sta Rita Hills and Evening Land in the Willamette Valley. Domaine de la Cote and Evening Land are made from estate vineyards, while Sandhi sources fruit from heritage sites in Santa Barbara County. Their focus is on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which undergo a rather less-frequented fermentation method: all three wineries forego the use of sulfur until bottling and allow fermentation to start with ambient, rather than inoculated, yeast.

To help counteract some of the microbial issues that can result from withholding the use of sulfur, the winemakers have begun to rely on a pied de cuve method to help start fermentation. The method has been particularly helpful in whole-cluster fermentation for Pinot Noir. While the volatile acidity (VA) levels have been reasonably low for all of their wines, Parr and Moorman were interested in ensuring that they would remain low. The pied de cuve has helped lower those levels even further. Moorman shared their approach to the pied de cuve.

No Sulfur Until Bottling

Since the advent of the Sandhi program in 2010, the winemaking has included no sulfur until bottling, as well as fermentation via ambient yeast. When Parr and Moorman started Domaine de la Cote and Evening Land, they continued the practice for those wines as well. The decision to avoid sulfur until after fermentation was made to allow greater complexity in the resulting wine by fostering …

To keep reading head on over to Wine Business Monthly where their August edition is now available free-for-all online. You can either down the full PDF of the magazine or peruse it online. You will have to sign in but there is no cost to read once you’ve done that. The rest of the article on Parr and Moorman’s pied de cuve approach begins on page 66 of the August 2017 edition.

Here’s the link: 

https://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/?go=getDigitalIssue&issueId=9428

Using Grapes from the same vineyard, Billo Nazarene found a way to make two distinct wines that flaunt Walla Walla’s newest sub-AVA’s unique terroir.

Steve and Brooke Robertson, Billo Navarene

In the southwestern corner of Walla Walla’s newest sub-appellation, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, stands the SJR Vineyard. Home primarily to Syrah, but also Grenache and Viognier, the almost 8 planted acre site grows in the signature basalt cobbles and gravel that gave the sub-zone the moniker local vintners prefer, the Rocks.

The Rocks was registered as a recognized AVA in February 2015. Geologist Kevin Pogue articulated the appellation boundaries based almost entirely on its unique soil conditions, a basalt cobbled alluvial fan deposited by the Walla Walla River at the southern part of the valley. The stones of the Rocks District resemble those that made Chateauneuf du Pape famous, but unlike their French counterpart, the tumbled basalt boulders of The Rocks District can be found up to 600 feet deep. While the basalt has eroded to a shallow iron-rich topsoil in portions, the stones dominate the landscape throughout the sub-zone.

To keep reading, head on over to the Wine Business Monthly website where you can view this article in its entirety for free. It begins on page 30 of the November issue and digs into how Steve and Brooke Robertson (shown above left) have worked to fine-tune the farming quality of their SJR Vineyard while also working with winemaker Billo Navarene (shown above right) to dial in the unique style of their Delmas Syrah. At the same time Navarene has also made his own Rasa Syrah from the same site. The result is two utterly distinctive Walla Walla Syrahs that each clearly showcase the characteristics of the vineyard while still being unique from each other. 

This article is one of my favorite things I have written in a long while – the Robertsons and Navarene were incredibly generous with their time and willingness to share tips and techniques on vineyard improvement and every step of the winemaking for both wines. I feel privileged to have been able to share such an insider view to the wine growing and making process. 

Here’s the link to the article: 

http://bit.ly/2fan6lb

Cheers!