Why do we punch-down grapes?
Our Vice President of Winemaking Melissa Burr explains: “During fermentation, yeast consumes the sugar in grapes and makes alcohol, but also makes a lot of CO2, which pushes all the grapes to the top of the tank of fermenting juice. We ‘punch-down’, or mix the grapes back into the juice to make sure to extract all the beautiful color and flavor from those grape skins, to get eventually into your glass!”
Cleverly described by Dr. Vinny of Wine Spectator, punching down is similar to the process of making tea. If the tea bag is floating at the top, it will not extract the flavor or color desired until it is dunked into the liquid to steep.
If you are looking for variety in your exercise routine, try punching-down! You are in for a workout!
In order to ensure the finest quality of our wine, harvested grapes are hand-sorted to eliminate imperfections. Unripe or rotten fruit is removed from a large conveyor belt called the sorting table, exemplified by Jason Toch, Vice President of Vineyard Operations. Debris from the vineyard such as leaves or dirt clods, often called MOG - or materials other than grapes - are also discarded. Only the best fruit continues to the next stage of the vinification process, crushing.
This wine saw mostly whole berry, and primarily native yeast fermentation, before aging primarily in neutral French oak for almost a year. We are excited to bottle our 2017 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir.
The 2017 vintage presented a challenge with a cold winter and a cooler than normal spring. However, ideal weather after flowering ensured a healthy fruit set. Although the summer was dry and hot, the vines did not undergo drought or stress. By September, everything was on track for a traditional, “normal” Oregon harvest in the Willamette Valley.
Stay tuned to experience the classic taste of the Dundee Hills when it’s released next spring.
The symphony of tirage marks an exciting milestone for the creation of the 2014 Legacy LaRue’s Brut Rosé. As one of the most technical aspects in the winemaking process, sparkling wine has been a longtime dream of Associate Winemaker, Kate Payne-Brown.
After aging 10-months in neutral French oak, the base wine – 25% Chardonnay, 75% Pinot Noir – undergoes tirage. Tirage is the process of adding a solution of active yeast cultures and sugar to the original base wine to kick-start the second round of fermentation. The added solution releases carbon dioxide, responsible for the effervescence that puts the “sparkle” in our beloved sparkling wine. At full maturity, the bottles are riddled to displace the spent yeast, during which the sediment is driven to the neck of the bottle to be disgorged.
The 2014 Legacy LaRue’s Brut Rosé spent two years on the lees before being corked and capped into 275 stunning cases.