2016 Rockin' One Blanc
90 points, Gold Medal - 2018 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition
Pear preserves, almond cream and honeyed lemon are the dominant characters of the 45% Roussanne, 28% Marsanne and 27% Viognier trio. The soft acidity and plush palate emerge, exhibiting nuances of ripe gala apple, chamomile blossom, vanilla custard and tangerine zest. Undertones of stone like minerarlity stage the finish meeting lingering essence of candied ginger, toasted coconut, buttered brioche and a dash of freshly ground nutmeg.
Looking to bring an added dimension to the ripe fruit of Roussanne and the texture of Marsanne, the 2016 Rockin’ One was fermented and aged for 10 months in seasoned French oak barrels. Hand-picked in the early morning, the cold grapes were pressed within moments after coming off the vine. The long, slow fermentation helped maintain crucial aromatics, while occasional lees stirring helped lend texture and structure to the wine. Unlike Cass’s other white wines, the 2016 Rockin’ One underwent a partial malolactic fermentation.
The 2016 vintage was a roller coaster ride of temperature swings. We started off with a very early and warm Spring that woke the vines up very fast. No frost issues, everything went very smoothly! The vines had great flowering and berry set, and unlike the 2015 vintage, we had a nice and big crop. To put things into perspective; the Merlot in previous years averaged around two tons per acre. This year we pulled in around five and a half tons per acre!
In late June we had a period of triple digit heat which helped kick verasion into gear. We were thinking we would have one of the earliest harvests on the books but then we had a pretty mild summer. Cool weather continued about two-thirds of the way through August, and the vintage finished relatively cool. This cooler weather was nice for a couple of reasons. First is that the grapes did not accumulate sugar at as fast of a rate as normal. This means that they had extended hang time which translated to better flavors and better physiological ripeness. Second is that our winemaker was able to bring fruit in at fairly steady rate so there was no huge rush in the cellar at any point.
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