100% estate-grown Scheurebe from our Home Ranch Vineyard in St. Helena.
The Scheurebe block was carefully picked and grapes were frozen to -5°F followed by a partial thawing before a long, gentle pressing. The juice was fermented in stainless steel to a final 8% alcohol and 22.5% residual sugar.
The 2014 Eisrébe is delicately nuanced with crisp apple, sweet floral and stone fruit aromas. The weighty palate boasts dried apricot, tangerine, honey and sweet melon with light acidity and a faint saline note. Richly textured with a long creamy integrated finish.
The 2014 Napa Valley growing season began with mild winter temperatures and dry conditions until February. Spring rains brought much needed moisture to the soil and filled our vineyard reservoirs. Bud break occurred three to four weeks earlier than 2013 with a long period between bud break and bloom. Frost was of no issue and the February and March rains provided for optimum vine growth and an outstanding canopy surface area. Consistent temperatures during the summer growing months with very few heat spikes created ideal ripening conditions for an early harvest. A warming trend in midSeptember pushed maturation and another during the first week of October helped the later ripening blocks reach full maturity. Smaller berries of excellent quality produced balanced, concentrated wines with perfumed aromatics.
In 1994, the desire to produce an “ice wine,” or Eiswein, as it is called in Germany, prompted Joseph Phelps Vineyards to adopt a unique program whereby Scheurebe grapes would be picked late in the season and then frozen, thus concentrating their high sugar levels. The resulting wine was called “Eisrébe,” a play on the German words Eis (ice) and Rebe (vine).
Although German Eiswiens are produced from fruit that is actually picked frozen on 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.