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White Tail - $35
ABOUT THIS WINE: The 2016 vintage of “White Tail” is an estate semi-sweet late-harvest white wine which is made from botrytis Vignoles grapes. Vignoles was developed by French grape-breeder J.F. Ravat by crossing Le Subereux and Pinot de Corton, a clone of Pinot Noir. Botrytis, or “Noble Rot”, is a type of fungus which shrivels and decays wine grapes into moldy raisins. This intensifies the sweetness and complexity of this wine. Noble Rot wines have a special aroma compound called phenylacetaldehyde, commonly found in buckwheat and milk chocolate, which imparts flavor notes of dried fruit, caramel, honey, beeswax, and ginger to the wine. Noble wines are typically Sauternes from Bordeaux, Tokaji Aszu from Hungary, and Spätlese level German Rieslings.
Legend has it that in 1775 the first botrytis wine was created in the Schloss Johannisberg region of the Rhine (Germany). During this time period, it was typical for vineyard owners to send messengers to their different vineyards to direct when grapes would be cut. One owner, the Bishop of Fulda had a messenger who was robbed en route, and the cutting was delayed for three weeks. By the time the messenger got there, the grapes were infected with Botrytis mold. The grapes were presumed worthless and given to local peasants, who produced a surprisingly good, sweet wine which subsequently became known as Noble wine, or Spätlese - late harvest wine.
The Fall of 2016 was exceptionally dry, which allowed the Vignoles grapes to dry out into sweet, nutty flavored raisins. The grapes were hand-harvested at 30 Brix, destemmed and lightly crushed directly into the grape press. The yeast was allowed to complete fermentation at 15.6%, converting much of the residual sugar into alcohol. Unlike other late-harvest wines, this example is a natural wine, with a higher alcohol profile and a semi-sweet perception.