About ten years ago I first heard of winemakers starting to revive the ancient winemaking method of skin-contact whites. This is where the white grapes are fermented in contact with their skins just like a red wine. These are sometimes called “orange wines,” and they can be funky as hell on a good day and other times just plain weird. Not my glass of wine.
But the idea of using the skins to make a more interesting wine fascinated me. Chardonnay mystifies me with its versatility, and this seemed like a perfect trial. In 2014 I tried it with five days of contact, and in 2016 increased it to over ten days. This wine is actually a blend of skin-contact Chards from 2017 and 2018 (hence the “NV” which stands for “non-vintage.”)
The result is a wine with weight and viscosity while retaining varietal character. It's still Chardonnay, just turned up to eleven. With aromas of citrus and honey, this wine has a grounded lightness to it. The added structure of the skin maceration—which you'd think would have made the wine too tannic—has been softened through barrel-aging and constant lees stirring. This is a wine with enough concentration that it should age very gracefully.
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