Pippin Hill took a trip down the road to Wineworks where our trusted winemaker Michael Shaps makes all our world-class varietals and blends. Our 2017 wines aren’t ready just yet, but we wanted to check on their progress in the cellar. We sampled three wines: Chardonnay, Petit Manseng, and our first ever harvest of Tannat.
Our 2017 Chardonnay and 2017 Petit Manseng are currently aging in French oak barrels imported from Burgundy, France. Joy Ting, Wineworks’ enologist and production manager, loves using these barrels. “They give a nice seasoning to Chardonnay and Petit Manseng that’s not overpowering–it just gives it some round character and some richness,” she says. Pippin Hill Vineyard expert Brooks agrees, saying “Petit Manseng typically has a very tropical flavor to it and that’s exactly what’s being encapsulated in that barrel.” Brooks says this year’s harvest of Petit Manseng exceeded his expectations. “It’s exactly what we want,” he said after his first taste.
We were thrilled to taste our first ever Tannat! From planting to harvest, Brooks has been working hard on getting our new wine just right. Our brand new Tannat hasn’t gone through malolactic fermentation yet so it’s still very acidic. Also, the wine is in brand new barrels so we tasted a lot of barrel influence. It’s not close to being bottled, but we can tell it’s on its way! The final product will be slightly acidic, full-bodied wine that will be used as a base for one of our new blends as well as added to other blends we produce to add color and structure.
Our wines are still undergoing malolactic fermentation. Once that process is done, we will transfer the wine out of the barrels, clean the barrels, put the wine back in, and let them age. This step lets the tannins evolve so that the wine mellows out and opens up. Nine months after harvest, we will sample the wines again and decide how best to make our signature blends.