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We’ve finally begun bottling the 2010 Dolce! After nearly two-and-a-half years of barrel aging (about 922 days, but who’s counting?) this vintage of Dolce is ready for the bottle.
It’s been a long journey, but it’s not over yet. This wine was harvested over several vineyard passes in the first two weeks of November – three years ago, that is. We pressed to all hours of the night, clarifying the juice after cold settling over several days in tank. After a little blending – to create unique batches of juice with a sugar concentration in the 34-35°Brix range – we sent fifteen batches of wine to barrel for fermentation. Primary fermentation lasted from three weeks (super-active yeasts) to six months (slow-fermenting yeasts).
Shortly after fermentation these batches were pale in color, almost straw-like, and had aromas of pineapple. After the first year of aging in 100% French oak, the pineapple aromas disappeared and were replaced with notes of apricot and orange rind. The subtle oxidation that occurs with oak aging allowed for this transformation of flavor, aroma and color – from pale to richly golden.
I’m not accustomed to making quick decisions with regard to Dolce winemaking: I tasted every batch, every month, and made dozens of trial blends to finally arrive at the right combination of lots for this vintage. I waited just before bottling to empty the barrels and created the blend from the best possible combination of the individual batches. It’s very subjective, but my primary goal is to the find the blend that coats the palate with a lively, oily texture that persists well into the finish … and I found it for this vintage!
After bottling, the wine will rest in a temperature controlled environment for two years before we release it for sale. By then it will be ready for consumption – but rest assured it could be aged for another twenty years to promote the development of its perfume and bottle bouquet, or rather, its unique personality amongst the vertical lineup of other great Dolce vintages. Cheers!