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This wine was made as a tribute to longtime agricultural activist, philanthropist and friend, Saralee Kunde. Saralee was revered as a community leader, actively involved in several causes benefiting Sonoma County organizations. Our late harvest Viognier was the last fruit to be harvested from Saralee’s Vineyard in 2013. She was very excited about the vintage and looking forward to trying this unique wine. Sadly, she passed away just a few months later. Thoughtfully crafted from her estate vineyard, Gratitude celebrates Saralee’s incredible spirit and all that she has done for our community.
The fruit for this wine comes from Saralee’s Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. Set against a background of stately ancient oaks, Richard and Saralee Kunde chose this site for its cool climate, rich fertile valley soil and rolling hills. The Viognier was planted in 1995, the same year that we planted our estate vineyard, just a few miles away in the Russian River Valley. The soil in this vineyard is Cortina series, a gravelly loam.
The fruit was harvested on December 10th, 2013 and due to this extended hang time was allowed to be affected by Botrytis, also known as “Noble Rot". Botrytis removes water from the grapes while on the vines, leaving behind a higher percent of solids, such as sugars, fruit acids and minerals. This results in a more intense, concentrated final product. The wine is often said to have an aroma of honeysuckle and a bright, lively acidity to balance the natural sweetness.
The Viognier was whole cluster pressed and cold fermented at 48 degrees, using only native yeast and aged in 100% stainless steel in order to showcase the delicate complexity. The fermentation occurred over 4.5 months, over which it was tested frequently. When the perfect balance of sweetness and bright acidity was reached the jacket temperature was lowered to 38 degrees to stop fermentation. The wine was then gently filtered to clarify it.