Day 3 – Semillon 2019
Day 3 and our first white wine of the calendar!
I’m a bit of a champion of the underdog when it comes to wines, particularly white wines. Those in the know won’t necessarily think of Semillon as an underdog, but in these parts, it’s not a terribly prolific wine. When we started producing single varietal Semillon with the 2016 vintage, I counted 10 wineries in all of BC producing one. What made ours even more unique was the fact that it’s fermented and aged in large format French oak puncheons (500L barrels). This wine, in 2016, was the launching point for our Unsanctioned Series, a lineup of wines which now represents the best of what we make each year.
Luke Whittall, in his brand new book “The Sipster’s Pocket Guide to 50 Must-Try BC Wines” (published by Touchwood and available through Amazon, Chapters Indigo, and select local stores), does a fantastically poetic job of articulating what Semillon is all about. Check out this excerpt that, by the way, includes our Semillon as his reference wine in the book:
Ripeness is Everything!
Borrowed from Wine Folly
Madeline Puckette, of Wine Folly fame, does a fantastic job of illustrating the dramatic effect that the ripeness of Semillon has on the resulting wines. I tell this story a lot when asked…and to be honest, more often when not asked! I like to pick our Semillon early, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, is to capture the flavour profile from the left side of the spectrum in the picture above. Doing so generally means I’ll have less sugars in the grapes when they are picked, which results in lower alcohol and higher acidity. Neither of those scare me! I’m a fan of wines with lower or moderate alcohol levels, and as far as acidity goes, my technique for making this wine, using barrels for both fermentation and aging, helps me manage the elevated levels of acid in the grapes. I love the resulting wine, and hope you do too!
The grapes were harvested by hand early in the morning on September 22nd. After whole-cluster pressing, the wine was left to settle in a tank overnight, and then racked into barrels. The wine was fermented and aged in a combination of 500L French oak puncheons and neutral oak barrels. Bâtonnage, or stirring of the lees, was performed once every two weeks for the 10 months the wine spent in barrel.
Aromas of confit lemon, green apple, vanilla, coconut milk and hints of wet gravel. On the palate, lots of lemon and green apple with a hint of orange peel and a slight grassiness. The fruit is supported by a beautiful nervousness and tension on the finish. Crisp and dry on the palate, with a medium body. This wine has a creaminess to the texture resulting from the barrel aging and lees stirring.
Oysters, oysters, oysters! But if oysters aren’t your thing, this is a highly versatile wine on the table. The textural complexity, medium body and crisp acidity enables our Sémillon to pair well with many different dishes. Cream-based pastas, seafood salads and ripe soft cheese comes to mind. Check out our recipe for pork chops with apples, grainy mustard and cream!
Appellation Okanagan Valley VQA
Acid 6.0 g/L
Residual Sugar 1.3 g/L
Alcohol % 11.5
Production: 100 cases