2006 Eisrébe

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Varietal
Scheurebe
Blend and Grape Sources
100% Scheurebe from our home ranch in Spring Valley outside of St. Helena.
Harvest Dates
September 20, 2006
Winemaking Data
Grapes were harvested October 3, 2006 at an average 22.9° Brix, then frozen to minus 5°F and subsequently pressed, after which the sugar content of the juice measured 33.2° Brix. The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks to 21.5% residual sugar and 7.6% alcohol and bottled in February, 2007.
Winemaker Notes
A small vineyard planted in 1992 on our St. Helena ranch has traditionally been the source of our Scheurebe production, but the 2006 bottling also includes 8% from young vines planted in 2004. The wine contains good texture, acidity and richness which perfectly complement the seductive, honeyed aromas and flavors of ripe apricots.
Vintage Notes
While massive flooding from the Napa River in January of 2006 made national headlines, little damage was done to dormant grapevines. A rainy spring delayed budbreak, but a warm, dry June brought ideal conditions for vines to bloom and set fruit. A heat wave in mid-July further helped fruit catch up to its normal ripening cycle, and those clusters which suffered sunburn were later removed during the thinning process. Cooler weather returned in August and lasted into September, extending the growing season and allowing moderately paced ripening and acid development. All of our white fruit was harvested by September 14th, with the majority of the reds picked in October. The extended hang time resulted in good color extraction, superior tannins, and the framework to produce rich, opulent, long-lived wines.
Background
In 1994, the desire to produce an "ice wine," or Eiswein, as it is called in Germany, prompted us to adopt an innovative program whereby Scheurebe grapes would be picked late in the season and then commercially frozen, thus concentrating their already-high sugar levels. We called the wine "Eisrébe." Although German Eisweins are produced from fruit that is actually picked frozen from the vine, we found that by freezing the grapes ourselves we could fashion a delicious dessert wine that is viscous and smooth, with excellent acidity to balance the sweetness.