Two Shepherds Vineyards
Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
13.5% ABV | Price: about $28* | 13 cases produced
“Centime” is French for penny, and the name’s a nod to the coppery hue of wine made from white grapes fermented like red, viz., in contact with their skins and seeds. The process tinges the juice a pale russet color, and contributes tannins and other phenolic compounds that give the wine texture and complexity.
Here, winemaker William Allen co-fermented a 50/50 blend of marsanne and roussanne on their skins until dry, using native yeast. He then pressed by hand using a small basket press, adding a dollop of grenache blanc juice and lees to round out the blend. He moved the wine to stainless steel, where it aged for ten months before being racked and bottled.
The resulting wine is pale rose gold, the color of onion skin. It smells like autumn leaves, spiced tree fruits, apricots, old roses, nutmeats, pastry. Sweetly savory and mineral-driven, it washes the tongue with a gingery freshness. Notes of apple, Asian pear, and stone fruit commingle with nutty spices, and the wine lifts open at the finish, then spreads out quietly, like the last light of summer.
It’s a haunting, protean wine, and even more captivating the second day. Only thirteen cases were made, which are now sold out. I hope it’s not his last penny.
*I received this wine as a media sample.