Fall to the Flor!
Sometimes I think we are the luckiest winemakers in the world. Working with premium fruit in the stunning Yarra Valley, Each year, we are able to experiment with small volumes of fruit for our Wayward Child range. These are experimental wines and a lot of fun to make as we play around with new techniques and alternative fermentation vessels.
In 2016, our Wayward Child Yarra Valley estate grown Pinot gris developed a surface yeast, known as flor, that is common in sherry production in Jerez, Spain. For the wine-techs, this yeast converts the alcohol in the wine it sits on to a nutty flavoured by-product giving the wine more complexity. It also protects the wine from oxygen so keeps the wine fresh and youthful. In 2016 the flor died off as the weather began to warm up in October we had part flor ageing and part oxidative ageing. Drawing from this inspiration, in 2018 we thought it would be interesting to activate some of this yeast and inoculate one barrel of our full skins Pinot gris. This wine has been fermented on skins and then aged on skins for about 6 weeks. As I write this, it looks likely the Pinot gris will be pressed off skins tomorrow as it has developed the right amount of phenolic grip. Once pressed off, one 300 litre hogshead French oak barrel will be inoculated with the flor yeast.
Today I got to play at being a scientist. The Australian Wine Research Institute sent us through a culture of the yeast to grow it up in sterile grape juice. Yesterday we squished some grapes and then sterilised the juice. I then took the yeast off the agar slope (using a syringe) and put it in the sterile juice. We will grow the yeast up for about 4-6 weeks before placing it in the barrel with the Pinot gris. The flor will then develop and allow the wine to age under its protective mantle for about 9 months (or maybe longer, we just never know with a Wayward Child).
All good things take time so to keep your tastebuds busy whilst the 2018 Wayward Child Pinot gris develops it’s beauty, try the 2017 Wayward Child Pinot gris. This wasn’t made with flor so it’s showing more oxidative characters. A little slow to openup (like most children meeting someone for the first time), this wine continues to develop and bloom in the glass to liquid rose-gold. Already one of the most popular wines at our Yarra Valley Cellar Door since it’s release, don’t miss the opportunity to acquaint yourself with our latest Wayward Child.
Stock is limited, so give our cellar door a call 0452 240 616 to get your Wayward Child before it skips town!