Our Mad Scientist’s White Wine ApproachJanuary 24, 2012
As many of you know, I’m passionate about both my red AND white wines. Not many small Paso estate wineries have 4 varieties of white grapes.
I have searched around the last 10 years to perfect the style of white wines we make at Still Waters.
All stainless is just too acidic. Barrel fermented is too much oak and the wines go through malolactic fermentation. This changes the Malac acid to Lactic acid, but also can make the wines too buttery and flat. They also don’t age as well.
So in 2008, I found my favorite method. With our own bottling line, we have total flexibility when we bottle our wines, and how long they stay in oak. I decided to ferment the whites 100% in stainless to control the pure acidity of the wines. Then we order 100% new French Oak barrels for that years’ white production. We put all of our white wine in the new barrels in January ( As seen in the picture ).
We taste the wines weekly to get just the perfect amount of oak influence on the wine. Pat & Kasey think this could also be why I like this method so much. Usually on Sunday afternoons I like to taste through the whites so if you’re around in January through March you may want to join me! Most of the whites stay in the new French Oak for 70 to 120 days.
When we remove the whites from the new barrels, we then put the most recent years reds in. These reds had been stored in stainless barrels for freshness while waiting for the new French oak barrels. It’s a little too soon to know for sure but the 2008 & 2009 reds we have bottled so far (Malbec & Zinfandel) are softer and more complex. They are also all sold out and received Gold Metals at San Francisco Chronicle, so maybe my search for the perfect white wine has spilled over into our red program.
Hope to see you soon in the barrel room!
Paul Hoover – Wine maker / Mad Scientist