Gold Medal, Best in class
Our Tempranillo clone originates from Spain where it is the #1 wine grape. We built this wine after the traditional Rioja style. Worldwide, Tempranillo is the fourth most sold wine following Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot. It is well-known for its spicy, smoky and leathery flavors that age well. The grape’s popularity is growing quickly in the United States. Tempranillo is one of only a handful of grapes that has red juice. Most all red wine grapes have white juice and the flavor/pigment is derived from the skins. It also has an enzyme that naturally fights oxidation, which allows for long-term barrel aging.
As mentioned, we built this wine after the Spanish Rioja style. It is a blend of 1% Viognier, 14% Grenache and 85% Tempranillo; all grapes from our own Apetahi Estate vineyards.
We de-stemmed the clusters, returning just enough of the stems to add natural tannins. The juice was put through 48 hours of cold-soaking to extract color from the skins before inoculation. We punched down 3 times a day in the fermentation bins and allowed for an extended maceration of almost 4 weeks, pressing when the cap fell.
We used our hydraulic basket press and immediately blended both the free-run and pressed juices. The juice was left to settle and then blended with Viognier at barreling. (Viognier helps to curb what could inherently be a harsh backend and has a natural ability to lock in color and bond polyphenols in a wine). After bulk aging and blending trials, Grenache is added for balance.
In the future, we are going to experiment with whole cluster fermentation. Tuck this one away and join us for a side-by-side comparison!