Tenbrink has two beautiful 7-ton wooden fermenters.
We bought them to make red wine; for the previous five years of
their lives, they had fermented cabernet. It seemed like a beautiful
opportunity to make the Prince in wood from the beginning, instead
of in stainless steel as we had in 2006. We had a small worry that
cabernet pigment would leach out of the oak into the wine and color
it, but in the end, we were swayed by two considerations. Christopher
and Sarah brought back word from Sancerre that producers there used
barrels interchangeably for Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, with
just a standard wash in between-- and no staining of the white wine.
And, second, after all, it's the Prince. It can take it.
So we crushed and destemmed the opulently ripe Farina grapes directly
into one of our oak fermenters, chilled it, and punched down and
pumped over the fermentation for about 3 weeks-- a nice slow fermentation
for this wine. We drained the wine, pressed almost not at all, put
the wine in barrel for aging, and one year later, Graeme and I made
our barrel selections. We chose only the new oak barrels and declassified
the remaining wine.
This wine is cloudy in a way that we have not seen before. It was
bottled unfiltered and unfined, but so was the 2006. It throws some
sediment in bottle, but most of the turbidity is rather permanent.
We suspect some kind of protein that formed when we racked the different
barrels together. It is as if we made the wine as challenging as
possible fo rthe new drinker.