A beautiful season ended in a long ‘Indian’ summer. Four rows interspersed with Semillon on sandy gravelly soils broken up by a large stony ridge were chosen for the Grande Duchesse. There, the vines yield little but very luscious grapes, perfect for this stately wine. We picked the grapes at a tiny yield of 700g of their 20-year-old vines a few days later than our ‘sur lie’, ensuing luscious fruit. The succulent healthy grapes were carefully picked into small crates and only a few minutes later still intact and fresh with Hans in the winery.
Such purity in the fruit deserved a long cold maceration to extract the wonderful flavours. Gently pressed into a new 500lit French oak puncheon the must embarked on a natural wild yeast ferment and secondary fermentation. The young wine lived on its pure lees with regular stirring to provide silkiness, complexity and depth for two years to mature and evolve. We bottled this nectar without cold stabilization or fining and only light filtration to retain the beautiful aromas. A low organic sulphur addition should help protect its anticipated long life. Natural sediments may show but do not impact on the high quality of this natural wine.
A complex bouquet of white flowers, white peach, nectarine, pink grapefruit and silky tannins unfold beautifully in the glass. A full-bodied, well-balanced palate with a touch of wild honey a dap of ginger and green apple notes culminate in a long, lingering finish. Like a well-crafted Graves this wine has class and poise.