From the winemaker:
Jacob Gundlach brought over this grape from his homeland and it has been growing on Rhinefarm ever since. Although plenty of wineries in Alsace make their Gewürztraminers a little sweet, we vinify ours completely dry, with bright acidity.
Gewürztraminer on Rhinefarm represents the new and the old. We are lucky to work with a combination of 44- and 10-year-old vines planted in the coolest part of our ranch where Mother Nature’s influence from the coast travels through the Petaluma Gap to reach our vines. Utilizing that cooling affect, we strive for balanced vines with canopies that protect the fruit as much as possible from direct sunlight to preserve the beautiful Gewürztraminer characteristics, and pick early to capture the natural acidity. This varietal is usually the first harvested each year, turning a beautiful light red hue to let us know its natural spice is developing. Each nuanced portion of the vineyard provides slightly different flavor profiles and those are identified and fermented separately. During winemaking, we freeze a small portion of the fruit to develop the mid-palate of the wine.
In our many acres of Gewürztraminer on Rhinefarm, we have 11 acres of older vines planted in 1971 and an almost 7-acre block planted in 2008. These blocks on the lower portion of the vineyards are impacted by the cooling fog influence from the San Pablo Bay eight miles to the south as well as the Petaluma Gap to the west. The vines grow in topsoil that is between 18”–30” deep, consisting of Huichica clay-loam with occasional pockets of small stream gravel. Beneath this topsoil is a thick layer of compacted Carneros Bay sediment that naturally restricts vigor. The climate and soil, along with the maturity of the vines, keeps yields to 2 tons per acre, and up to 4.5 for the younger block, producing structured, intensely aromatic fruit with mineral elements and substantial acidity.
We night-harvest in five separate lots, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. The grapes are whole-cluster pressed, and 15% of them are frozen for 48 hours then thawed overnight and pressed to provide mouthfeel, richness and texture. The juice is 90% stainless-steel fermented and 10% fermented in neutral oak.
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