We have a very special offering of thanks and giving back to our community through the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
Those of you that have attended our open houses have probably met my friend and fellow winemaker Tom Klassen. About 15 years ago he started a side project making a dry Gewürztraminer under the label ‘Hibou de Nuit,’. With a job transition that didn’t allow a place for his project in 2009, I let him move it to my place. Over the next couple of years, as his day job became more demanding, we ended up with two bottlings of about 100 cases each without labels, marketing plans, etc. in our facility under our bond. Now that these wines are at an apex, I negotiated with Tom to adopt these lovely bottles and see that they find good homes.
Tom asked that all proceeds above our limited costs to finish the job be donated to Redwood Empire Food Bank. With winter setting in, and the economic upheaval our area has had, multiplied with the recent fires, it is important to remember those silent people far less fortunate than any of us reading or writing this. With the upheaval we’ve all experienced this year, it is the right time and the right thing to do.
There are two different bottlings: A non-vintage blend (2010 and 2011) and a 2012 and both priced at $16. They have aged slowly and are in a fantastic spot. You can learn more about them each on the links below. I also decided to offer a specially discounted mixed case in order to get people to try both. I have my favorite and Tom has his. It’s a close horse-race. I figured that once you taste them, you’d want more anyway and then they would be sold out…You can also order multiple mixed cases at this price and share the wealth with friends.
Here are Tom Klassen’s own thoughts on the project:
“Gewurztraminer: hard to spell, easy to drink, foolish to make?
I began making Gewürztraminer in the late aughts after a friend introduced me to a very small vineyard just west of Petaluma. I didn’t really know what I was in for with this side project. I had never made Gewürztraminer but I wanted a different grape than Pinot Noir or Chardonnay which were the grapes at my day job. Turns out Gewürz is an idiosyncratic grape. In retrospect, I was lucky to make several mistakes that first harvest. Flavor doesn’t appear in Gewürz until the sugar rises and acids drop too far to make a balanced wine. That first wine (2005) had lots of flavor and a beautiful aroma but no charm. Too much alcohol and not enough acidity to keep it refreshing. Not a complete wipe out but not an overwhelming success either. I picked the next year’s grapes much earlier before the acid disappeared and sugar soared. Faith was rewarded as fermentation began. Amazing aromas of roses arrived two days into the fermentation. The fragrances progressed onto exotic fruits as the flowers receded. The youthful delights of Gewürz are what most winemakers try to capture with an early bottling. Often there is a little residual sugar to mollify the bitterness associated with the intense aromas. My project was decidedly low tech. The wine fermented to dryness in older barrels and did not see filtration for microbial stability. It stayed on its lees for a year or longer to find inherent stability. The upside is that this reveals a different side of Gewürztraminer that is nuanced and subtle. The extended lees time polishes the edges and reveals complex savory notes not often found in Gewürztraminer.
The 2010/2011 bottling happened because both vintages were small yields even for this tiny project. Happily they were very complementary when blended together. 10 was richer while 11 showed more verve and tension. The harmony of the two is great example of beneficial blending. 2012 was a more typical year with better yields. This wine had less time on lees which shows less savory notes.”
There you have it from the Gewürz-whisperer himself.
These wines are a special offer and lovely to enjoy now.