CRAFT by Under My Host® Issue No. 15 Classics - Page 88

ice-winemaking method, but with a few piv- otal twists. In mid fall, we harvest our pinot noir and pi- not gris grapes at optimal maturity, waiting for the acids to be in perfect balance with the sugars. This is differentiated from tra- ditional ice wines and many dessert wines which are considered to be “late harvest” allowing grapes to continue ripening past maturity while building up more sugars in the pulp. The reason for our non-late harvest is that we value acidity and phenolic from the juice, skins, seeds, and stems and since these elements all begin to deplete in wine grapes as they hang past ripening, harvest- ing at optimal ripeness is key. These ele- ments balance out the sweetness to come later in the winemaking process. Next we haul the grapes to a freezer where temperatures drop to 0 0 F. The reason for this is to concentrate the sugars in the melt- ing but in addition the freezing actually causes some of the cell walls of the seeds, skins, and stems to break down which re- leases strong and even astringent flavors into the juice upon pressing. We depend on these strong phenolics to add to the overall richness and complexity of the wine. Once frozen, the grapes are removed from the freezer and placed into the press for a week long pressing cycle where the grapes are rolled every two hours. This process pulverizes the skins, stems, and seeds and further extracts incredibly concentrated flavors. The first drops that melt out of the press are a low melting point sugar, acid, and phenolic rich solution and the higher melting point water remains frozen in the press. The week-long pressing result is two batches of grape juice: one that is highly concentrated and another that is highly di-