100% whole-cluster, skin-fermented Sauvignon Blanc from Farina on Sonoma Mountain.
The growing season leading to harvest was perfect-- some late Spring rains to guarantee bounty, but not so late that they interfered with flowering or fertilization; constant warmth during maturation but with no heat spikes at all; we harvested early, without haste or pressure.
And the fruit was explosively strong in flavor; almost nutty, but with very good acidity.
We fermented the Prince this year in three separate lots; each with its own very individual character. One lot went weird right from the beginning and developed a Jackson Pollock-like coat of molds on the surface; one seemed like its fermentation was going to stall; the third was perfect from the beginning, fragrant, rich, and timely in its fermenting.
We experimented further this year with our floating cap fermentations-- white and red wines made with the skins and stems, but allowing all of this material to be carried to the top of the fermentation by yeast, and never punched down back into the wine. The method produces wines that are more subtle and complex than what we achieved in the past, and no less dense or intense. We had to abandon this protocol with two of these fermentations: when we saw the weird molds, I scraped them off the top and then asked my brave friend Eliane to hop into the fermenter and use her legs to completely stir the mass of fruit. The hope was that it was a one-time blossoming and that whatever was leftover would not survive in the depth of the fermenter, and that fresh fruit from the bottom would not blossom in the same way. For days we held our breath, and then one morning-- a perfect and beautiful wine. With no traces of its initial strangeness.
Eliane also stirred up the slow fermentation; I think that she climbed in two or three days in a row. And just like its sister, within days, perfect fermentation was restored; the wine finished, dry, complex, subtle. Everything that we could have wanted.