When you first bring saperavi fruit into the cellar, you quickly learn that it stains…everything. This is a dark grape. Saperavi is one of two teinturier varieties in the world, meaning the pulp is pigmented yielding a truly opaque wine. And the color is only one of the few things that makes this variety interesting to work with, from a winemaking perspective. During harvest, every saperavi ferment makes the entire cellar smell like brambly blackberry pie, a scent that can wake up even the sleepiest of interns!
Once the 2020 saperavi completed fermentation, it sat on its lees for 9 months in a mixture of French and American oak barrels to further develop. Typically, with this grape a longer period in barrel is optimal to help smooth out tannin and integrate the acid to the wood and fruit. But in 2020, alcohols were higher than a traditional FLX harvest, so the higher alcohol helped round out the wines earlier in their time in barrel.
The wine is ultimately dense but also fresh, with muscular tannin, brambly fresh fruit, and focused and precise acidity. Just watch out for that white shirt!
– Katey Larwood, Winemaker