Petaluma 2015 Nebbiolo
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Four different clones of Nebbiolo were planted in our Coonawarra Sharefarmers Vineyard over two years in 2007 and 2008. The notoriously tannic variety is well suited to Coonawarra’s cool maritime climate and like in the Piedmont region of Italy, is often the first variety to bud and the last to ripen. Making the variety a little tricker to grow, but worth the effort. The aim of the PPC Nebbiolo is not to make a wine that wouldn’t be out of place in Italy, but to make a wine expressive of the region it comes from and make it with our own particular style. And for us, that means keeping things as simple as possible, trusting our palates and making it our way. Multiple grape sampling trips resulted in the fruit being hand-picked in late March of 2015, a warmer than average, short and sharp vintage. The fruit was brought to our brand new winery and destemmed into small 1.5 ton open top fermenters. To keep things simple, the destemmed fruit was seeded with yeast and once fermentation kicked in, gently plunged once a day. Being aware of the tannic nature that is Nebbiolo, gentle plunging helped with not over extracting tannins from the seed and skin of the grapes. In the name of wine science, the juice that was fermenting into wine was tasted daily, if not twice, to assess the flavour and overall tannin profile of the wine. After about two weeks and some discussion around the open top fermenter with coffee cups full of Nebbiolo (coffee cups being much more durable than wine glasses), the wine was gentle pressed in our little 4000L Miller airbag press to tank. Pressing of the wine required more tasting from the juice tray to determine cut off to pressings (the hard part of the wine). Once in tank, the wine was seeded with malo bacteria, settled overnight and racked to older French oak barrels. Once the wine had finished malolactic fermentation (the conversion of harder malic acid, think green apples, to the softer lactic acid, think milk), it was racked out of oak to tank, sulphur adjusted to protect the wine, and run back to the same barrels to finish maturation. One of the joys of winemaking is watching wines mature in barrel. This required multiple tastings in the barrel shed over the 16 to 20 month period that a red wine takes to reach a point where you are happy to pull it out of oak and bottle it. Sounds tough doesn’t it. The resulting wine has notes of red fruit and rhubarb, a lovely softer tannin profile that will soften even more with time. This lovely wine can be drunk now or to put away to surprise yourself in 10 or 15 years’ time.