Here is a wine you have to try just because a portion of it was fermented in amphora pots. We can applaud wineries that indulge in such experimentation. Why are amphora pots so
significant? Because it is a return to the past — innovative to us, but commonplace to the folks of two millennia ago. Wine was fermented, stored and transported long distances in amphora.
This wine from the Horse Heaven Hills is a very pale straw, clear and brilliant. Apple pear and stone fruit aromas emerge willingly from the glass in a delicate and complex nose.
The mouthfeel is satisfyingly full, creamy, and velvety to the touch coating the mouth with a long-lasting viscosity. Feelings help us call to mind the meaning for us of this tactile experience and if is not too far fetched, the word exotic comes to mind. That’s what we want to happen when we savor wine — or anything for that matter. Meanings that come to us in words help us define the significance of the experience.
To me, it is a perfect example of the effect of “micro-oxygenation,” which is achieved by a tiny amount of oxygen passing through the amphora into the wine just like it does when wines are placed in cask and the oak, being porous, achieves the same result. So many wines today are fermented in stainless steel tanks to keep the flavors of the wine fresh that they lose this important treatment. Oxygen rounds a wine; too much oxygen destroys it.
The winemaker feels the amphora vessels accentuate the terroir — a point to which I cannot speak. In the creaminess of the after taste is a spice that is mellow, adding character to the wine. The fuller, richer flavors of the tropics are accentuated too. Paula Eakin, the assistant winemaker at Columbia Crest, feels that the hotter fermentation that takes place in the clay pots draws out these warmer flavors. She is likely right if we apply theory to our conclusions, and our tasting certainly verifies the facts.
It is one of the softest wines I have tasted. Its finish is seamless (nothing standing out and shouting at you as it slides down your throat). The delicate flavors last and last. True to the grape, the alcohol is up there at 13.8%. This is a wine to impress your wine buff friends and one that you will enjoy, not only in summer but even the cool dark days of winter.
Serve this wine and wow your friends with talk of clay amphora and spice-laden Viognier.
Emotional rating: To those who are sensitive to the meanings of touch, this is a winner — 98
Although the aromas are more delicate than many Viognier’s, it loses nothing of its memorable appeal.
You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in my book, “Experiencing Colorado Wine,” and you’ll find the description of the pairing of several of them with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs.
GET YOUR COPY during our “SUMMER OF WINE” Sale at SQUARE MARKET FOR $20!
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