Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ice wine making debut at Pinnacle Ridge

Noticed on the Web site of Pinnacle Ridge Winery in Kutztown, Pa., that the folks there will be introducing their 2007 Late Harvest Vidal next week on what they refer to as Wine Wednesday. Sent proprietor Brad Knapp an e-mail inquiring about both and received this almost immediate response:

We have made true ice wine in two vintages (2004 and 2005). In 2006 we kept waiting to get appropriate temperatures (15 degrees F or lower) and we lost our fruit while waiting (til mid January). The wine we are releasing on Aug. 6 is a 2007 late harvest Vidal Blanc. In 2007 we, again, were waiting for cold enough temperatures but finally decided on Dec. 27 to pick the fruit in an unfrozen state since the forecast was not showing any weather cold enough to harvest ice wine and we did not want to lose our fruit again. The fruit begins to dehydrate (rainsin) once the canopy of the vine shuts down and the leaves fall off. The vine no longer "talk to" the grapes.

There is no movement of nutrients, sugar, or water to the fruit from the vine. In essence the vine becomes a holding mechanism for the fruit. So if you let the fruit hang it will slowly dehydrate and raisin. The flavors also begin to change. A very distinct honeyed, tropical fruit character will emerge with time. The fruit looks horrible (brown, wrinkly), but tastes great and unique. It is from this type of fruit that we made our late harvest. It displays a lot of the flavors of ice wine but without the intensity of ice wine. Residual sugar is 7% (instead of the more typical 15-20% for ice wines). Price is $15/375 ml instead of $30-$80 more typical of ice wines.

Wine Wednesday is a new approach we have been using to releasing new wines. We are typically very busy on weekends and much slower during the week. So we decided to try and release our new wines on "Wine Wednesday" in order to allow our regular customers (those who get our newsletter) an opportunity to get the new releases without dealing with the crowds on weekends. We have only done it once thus far (2006 Cabernet Franc) and we got a nice group of folks who showed up to check out the new release and are going to continue the "Wine Wednesday" program.

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