The Unicon #2 story from winemaker, Sam Smith -
Kuipto is an incredibly special microcosm, situated between the Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale. The sub-region combines soil types and climate from both of the aforementioned regions creating almost utopian growing conditions for viticulture. My love for Gewurztraminer centres around it's chameleon like tendancy to respond to climactic conditions and to viticultural decisions.
In 2017, I made the decision to reduce and open the canopy up, by shooting thinning in the Eden Valley gewurtz block, exposing the fruit to a greater degree of sunlight and airflow. The resulting gewurtz was fresh and citrus driven. In 2019 we made the decision to allow the canopy to completely cover the fruit in order to protect the fruit from the brutally hot summer. The resulting fruit, from the Kuipto vineyard exhibited incredibly concentrated rose water and lychee characteristics.
I've always thought that the majority of gewurztraminer that Australia produces fails to unlock the full potential of what is such a fascinating grape variety. Far too often I see gewurtz rendered lifeless due to little or no skin contact during fermentation, no use of oak, and early release dates. I wanted to flip all of that on it's fucking head this year, and re-write the book on Australian gewurztraminer.
I've pushed every boundary imginable by fermenting this wine on skins for $17.5 weeks before pressing into a new oak Francois Freres Medium Toast puncheon, which the wine will stay in for the duration of it's elevage (maturation). I think Dave Matthews, from Classic Oak products, may have spat his coffee out when I told him that I neede dto uy a new puncheon for skin contact gewurztraminer.
Directly prior to bottling the wine was vapourised with dehydrated rose petals which was vapourised at 100 degrees celcius. Vapourisation allows me to manipulate the aromatic profile without altering the palate structure of the wine, and is a technique that I am forever honing my skill on, utilising vapourisation on several wines to date.
1 tonne of fruit (30% wholebunch + 70% crushed), plunged 3 times daily for 1.5 weeks, locked down with C02 for a further 16 weeks, 17.5 weeks total skin contact before pressing to a new French Oak Francois Freres medium toast. Very tight grain puncheon. Vapourised with dehydrated rose petals at 100 degrees celsius.
- Adelaide Hills