Winemaking Notes: Viognier has been a fun yet challenging varietal to work with. The trick has been to get optimal ripeness, without losing too much acidity and still manage alcohol levels. In 2011, we selectively picked the 100% estate grapes from our Perfect Hedge vineyard in Osoyoos on two separate dates. The grapes were whole cluster pressed and fermented in 85% stainless and 16% concrete eggs. Then barrel aged in a combination of neutral oak, stainless steel and concrete.
While just used as a trial in 2011, concrete fermenters have been extensively used in old world regions like France, and being slightly porous concrete allows the wine to breathe but does not impart any oak flavours like oak barrels do. And the newer egg shape brings some unique properties to the fermentation process.
The distinctive Viognier nose of violet and orange peel really opens up on the palate with peach nectar and tropical fruits. The luscious and silky mouthfeel has great weight, but still nicely balanced with enough acidity for a long but fresh finish.
Vintage Notes: The 2011 growing season was a late season from beginning to end. Bud break was 3 weeks behind normal and while we did get some decent heat units in August and September, the vineyards just never caught up. Our prudent vineyard managers cropped lightly throughout the season to give the vines the best chance in ripening. Thankfully, October brought some above average temperatures allowing us to keep fruit hanging until mid-November. The quality of white varieties in particular was very good with lower Brix levels but much better acid balance.