2019 First Grid Rack Dried Semillon
Savoury dessert | Single vineyard | Ancient method
Carried out in two stages; first to select early ripening green-skinned semillon bunches; and ripeness around 10.5 Be in early January. The second selects hand-harvested ripe bunches showing yellow to olden colours, 12.5 to 13.5 Be harvested in mid-February from vines planted in 1996.
The first stage grapes are pressed as free run juice, cool fermented and stored on light lees in stainless steel. The second stage harvest is placed on single layer inert drying racks with under cover protection (shed drying) open to wind drifts and the warming conditions of late summer. The drying process took 35 days in 2019; then the bunches are prepared for a second fermentation.
First made in 2006, the Barambah wine + dried grape recipe combines high acid, dry white stage 1 semillon wines with stage 2 bunches of grapes. To view these are partially desiccated brown or black berries on their dried stems floating in a mash. Over two days soaking the dry berries provide a high sugar must (300 g/L) blended with diluted wine (7% ABV). On cold settling the alcoholic, golden juice is refermented until cessation at 10.5% ABV and 145 g/L sugar.
The filtered wine is aged at 4 oC in tight grain French hogsheads for a year, bottled in August 2021, aged in 375 ml and 1.5 L until mature and released in December 2022.
The ancient Greeks made wine 4500 years ago from their dried grape varieties, still existing today. Later the Romans followed with spiced wines from dried fruit made in amphora. The widespread modern Italian technique is often called Passito while in the South Burnett it’s called the contemporary Barambah method.
From the Moffatdale sub-region terroir, aromas of green tea (stem and dry skin artifacts) and lemon rind. The sweetness has layers from skin contact in maceration, ripe stems during air-drying, a savoury texture and sweet restraint. Light bodied, crispy acids, the wine design is a textural-drying style made for cheese enjoyment.
10.5% alcohol, 145 g/L residual, 3.1 and 12.4 standard drinks
Peter Scudamore-Smith | Master of Wine (1991)
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