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Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc

Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc

With both of our daughters pregnant, we recall our time in the country Georgia where the people  make wine using an ancient method often accompanied with ancient wisdom. We were told, “It is not natural to rip a child away from it mother at birth. Why do modern white winemakers rip the juice from the skins and seeds after harvest?”  The alternative is the ancient method of keeping the white grape skins with the juice during fermentation and aging. In the Paso Robles AVA of California, Ancient Peaks winery produces a Sauvignon Blanc using some ancient winemaking tradition.

The winery admits that this wine is an outlier by design that defied conventional wisdom. That is unless you are in the country Georgia. The Sauvignon grapes were fermented on their skins during the entire fermentation. Then unlike ancient winemaking in Georgian qvevri, the wines were racked to neutral French oak barrels where it aged for more than two years. This method is totally different than the usual winemaking protocol for white wines in the United States. The result was a dark gold colored wine with a dried tropical fruit aroma. The taste also emphasized dried fruits. The wine was full-bodied with medium tannins.

The Atlas Peaks Sauvignon Blanc has a wonderful color. The dark gold is a bit lighter than the amber colored qvevri wines we had in Georgia. However, it is much darker than the first two vintages of qvevri wines I made in Maryland. I do enjoy the fermentation on the skins, a red wine protocol, for white wines. It gives the wine different layers of flavors and makes the wine more complex with a fuller body and tannins. This is a wine to savor and enjoy with food.

Are Americans ready for white wines that were fermented and perhaps aged on the skins? That depends on likes and education. I discovered that with education, most people will sample white wines fermented on their skins. They may or may not like them. I also discovered that wine drinkers that like tannins in a wine will enjoy a tannin white wine. For me it is like a Christmas Present.

Read the Wine Trail Traveler article about Ancient Peaks Winery.


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