Can you say Complexity?

January 4, 2013 § 4 Comments

The Complexity of Wine

The Complexity of Wine

One of my main focuses for the 2012 vintage was to get as much complexity out of our wines as possible. You may ask, “How do we go about getting complexity???” What I have found over my extensive winemaking career (ha ha!) is that complexity is best gained at the beginning stages: when the grapes are picked. One main way to achieve this is by scheduling multiple pick dates.

What is complexity? In wine, complexity would be defined as layers, depth, and dimensions that make the wine evolve over the course of a glass. As a boutique winery, we feel like complexity is something that we must have to separate ourselves from the larger production wines on the market.

On our Peters Vineyard Pinot Noir, we had three different picks. We picked the first round of fruit at 13.6 alcohol, which left plenty of bright, vibrant acidity. This fruit yields very food friendly flavors, with less alcohol, red fruit on the nose and a more Burgundian palate. We picked the second batch of fruit at 14.4, which provides very balanced flavors. Our last pick, at 14.9 alcohol, is the “crowd pleaser” and yielded considerably fleshier fruit with riper, juicier flavors.

Now for Sauvignon Blanc! This year we had two picks that were twelve days apart. The fruit from the first pick once again shows more acidity, but also showcases the varietals grassier component. We age this lot in neutral French Oak, along with two barrels of acacia wood for a trial. Our second pick highlights the more of tropical side of the varietal, and is all aged in stainless steel. This is more of our traditional style of Sauvignon Blanc, and is similar to past vintages. These wines will all be put together as one homogeneous lot of wine at the end of their cellaring life to give us these beautiful layers of complexity.

The Timber Crest Zinfandel this year was all picked on Sept 28th and all fermented in one-ton open top fermenters. To gain complexity, we picked a half ton of Petite Sirah on that same day and co-fermented half of the lot with the Petite Sirah, and half of the Block as 100% Zinfandel . This gave us roughly 7% Petite Sirah that was co-fermented.

How do we know if we gain complexity? Now I get to go through the cellar and taste these individual lots side by side with one another and see these subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences. It blows me away how different these nuances from same vineyards can be.

A Snap-shot of Harvest 2012:

3 vineyards of Petite Sirah

6 vineyards of Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley

3 vineyards of Grenache (4 if you include the Rosé)

2 vineyards of Pinot Noir – 5 clones total

2 clones of Chardonnay – 2 picks

Free run juice handled separate from press wine

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