09 Jun Please The Palate Wine of the Week: Two Shepherds 2017 Centime Skin Fermented Grenache Blanc, Catie’s Corner, Russian River Valley
To make red wines, you let the skins ferment with the juice, imparting color. To make white wines, you crush the grapes, removing the skins, before fermentation, resulting yellow and golden colored wines. But, in the country of Georgia, the tradition is to leave the skins with the juice resulting in “amber”, or “orange” wines. Leaving the skins with the juice for a period of time not only changes the color but results in wines with bolder and more intense aromas. Skin-fermented white wines tend to have more structure and depth. Skin-fermented white wines, like the Two Shepherds 2017 Centime Skin Fermented Grenache Blanc, Catie’s Corner, Russian River Valley, are enjoyable to sip, interesting to describe, fun to pair with food, and the Please The Palate wine of the week.
Two Shepherds owner and winemaking William Allen, who specializes in Rhone grape varieties, makes a few skin-fermented white wines. There is the Pinot Gris Ramato that spends 5-days on the skins, as well as the Trousseau Gris that also spends 5-days on the skins. The 2017 Centime Skin Fermented Grenache Blanc spent 12 days on the skins before being pressed into neutral barrels and aged for 9 months.
The Grenache Blanc is sourced form Catie’s Corner, a vineyard planted in 1988 by Saralee Kunde, an unparalleled leader and heroine in Sonoma County agriculture who passed away in 2014. She named Catie’s Corner for her daughter. Catie’s Corner is approximately 31.5 acres planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Malvasia Bianca, and Grenache Blanc.
The copper color of the wine inspired the name of the wine. Centime, is the French word for “penny”. The wine has aromas of grapefruit, citrus peel and spice. On the palate, the wine has soft fruit tannins and a chalky tartness that finishes with delicate but mouthwatering acidity.
The Two Shepherds Centime is a great wine to pair with food. I opened it to enjoy with an Izakaya Bento box from N/Soto and the the structure and body of the wine stood up to the food and the acidity and tart texture was enhanced by each bite.
There were only 100 cases made of the Two Shepherds 2017 Centime Skin Fermented Grenache Blanc, Catie’s Corner, Russian River Valley which retails for $30. And, 2017 is the last vintage of the Skin-Fermented Grenache Blanc. The next release of Centime in 2018 will be skin-fermented Vermentino.