Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery is excited to announce the release of 2018 Tramonto, a late harvest dry Vidal Blanc craft wine.
Tramonto was produced as a small-batch, limited-release wine in 375-ml. bottles. As a perk for Wine Club members, Tramonto will be available by the glass and for advance purchase by Wine Club members through May 18, 2019. Club members may pick up bottles/cases of the wine at the pickup party on May 18th or afterward. After this wine release event, Tramonto will be available for purchase by the glass, bottle, and case to all of our guests.
Due to the limited quantity and exclusive nature of this craft wine, the Tasting Room will not offer sample tastes to Wine Club members or guests.
Origin of Tramonto
Meaning sunset in Italian, Tramonto's origin was inspired by the characteristics of hand-selected Vidal Blanc grapes harvested from the vine in late November 2018.
Fence Stile's team and volunteers conducted our regular fall harvest of Vidal Blanc grapes on September 16, 2018. Owner-winemaker Shriti Plimpton designated six rows of Vidal Blanc to be reserved for late harvest. Two days later, we stretched bird netting over the six rows of sweet, ripe grapes to protect them from birds and other predators. Late harvest grapes were plucked from the vines, crushed, and pressed two months later in November mere days before Thanksgiving on a brisk, frosty morning.
Late harvest grapes receive more sun exposure. Sugar levels remain stable in the grapes while the water content reduces, typically producing a sweet wine with a higher alcohol content. The flavor and aroma deepen in complexity as the grapes are affected by noble rot, a beneficial fungus with the scientific name Bortrytis cinerea. Green grape skins turn color, ranging from old gold to bronze to dark purplish black.
Typically, juice from late harvest Vidal Blanc exhibits caramel and golden raisin flavors. Most of the late harvest Vidal Blanc became the 2018 vintage of Ishq, our sweet dessert wine that will be packaged in 375-ml. bottles for the first time.
During the late harvest, we noticed that darker, more dehydrated late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes possessed even more intense, concentrated flavors of fig, baked apple, molasses, honey, and bourbon before oaking. Inspiration was born to attempt something different from past late harvest wines. We separated dark- and light bronze-colored late harvest Vidal Blanc grapes. Each batch was crushed and pressed separately.
Using a basket press, we pressed the darker Vidal Blanc grapes with its skins and blackberries harvested from Fence Stile's patch in summer 2018. Shriti developed the sweeter Ishq and the darker test batch of Vidal Blanc juice in separate tanks over winter 2018 and early 2019. After both wines were racked and refined, we bottled them in March 2019. Tramonto's pale orange hue, reminiscent of a sunset draping color over Italian hills or Fence Stile's vineyards, differed from the soft gold of Ishq. We allowed the wines to rest for a month before sampling them.
Tramonto is truly a small-batch craft wine produced in limited quantity. These select Vidal Blanc grapes, affected by noble rot and matured to a near-raisin state, have been transformed into an extraordinary wine with a pale orange tint. Produced as a dry late harvest wine, Tramonto exhibits characteristics of a skin-contact wine (white wine fermented with its skin) also known as orange wine.
Tramonto's nose deceptively hints that the wine is sweet, but an initial sip clearly establishes its complex, dry nature. The aroma suggests notes of beeswax, raw almonds, and orange rind. Its bold taste unfolds with waves of fig, dried orange peel, almonds, and nuttiness with a clean tannic finish.
After a sip, allow the wine to linger and wash over the tongue. The well-rounded mouthfeel seems similar to a sweet dessert wine, honeyed and succulent, with a medium-heavy feel. After swallowing, inhale through the mouth and note Tramonto's exceptionally long luxurious finish that lingers on the palate. Tramonto is absolutely not to be rushed as an experience. Allow it to unfold with additional sips over several minutes to explore its full range.
About Tramonto's Wine Label
The label's peach-gold color is a nod to sunsets at Fence Stile during the harvest season. Fading sunlight is soft with orange and burnished gold hues. Twelve boxes on the label's face represent the twelve months of the year. A near full moon is positioned in the eleventh month, November, when the Vidal Blanc grapes were harvested for this wine. The boxes contain colors of woody grapevines, grape skins in earthy tones and purplish-bronze hues, gossamer sunlight, and even the hats and coats worn by Shriti, vineyard manager Shawna Mull, chef Pete Dulin, and harvest volunteers, such as Karen Joiner and Megan James, on a brisk morning.
Brand and events manager, chef and cellar rat Pete Dulin documents wine, food and operations at Fence Stile Vineyards and Winery through writing and photography.