Harwood Estate Vineyards Windward White - a fresh, enticing and fruit forward wine that is versatile with food or delightful on it's own. Sounds simple enough, right? But beneath this fairly simple and clear description is a complex matrix of thought, skill and individual components, all woven together to build this complex yet effortless wine. Let's take a deeper look.
Windward White is one of our most popular wines. We have been making this wine since 2012. It is also one of our most widely available wines and can be found in our retail shop, online, in select LCBO's and grocery stores. A significant feature of our Windward White is that it is a blended wine. It can be broken down to its components of 4 different grapes: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Vidal and Chardonnay. The individual characteristics of these grapes and the percentages of them that we use all work together to create our seamless Windward.
Our 2018 Windward White patiently waits in tank for bottling.
The art of blending has been practiced for many years in winemaking history and there are many regions famous for this practice. Consider Bordeaux, France - one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world. A bottle of Chateau Latour can sell for well over $1000. Bordeaux is typically a blended wine made from different variations and combinations of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Often you will see a variation of this blend in Ontario called Meritage. Blending is a skill that we, as winemakers, must learn and continue to develop throughout our career. It requires the ability to taste a particular wine and understand how it's characteristics will interact with other components. It involves a lot of trial and error in the form of many tastings - it's hard work, but someone has to do it, right?!
When we begin constructing our Windward White we first start by creating an organoleptic picture in our mind - an ideal for what we want the wine to be and to express. We then look for the base wines that will help paint that picture. So for our Windward, we want to create an experience for our senses that is full of flavour and freshness; one that entices you to take another sip. We want a wine that is complex enough to pair with your favourite meals, but simple enough that you can enjoy on it's own. We selected four grapes that will help us achieve this. Let's look a little deeper at each of the components:
Riesling: Riesling is high in acidity. We use this as a backbone to support the blend and provide freshness. It imparts a lively citrus character and depending on the vintage, it can also provide notes of tropical fruit, apricot, green apple, lime and honey. The backbone of acidity also helps contribute to a long finish.
Vidal: Vidal is all about the mouthfeel and the aromatics. It adds pleasant flavours of peach, honeysuckle, pineapple and citrus. It has a richly textured palate which adds body and complexity to the blend.
Chardonnay: Chardonnay is one of those grapes that sort of has it all. It adds weight, flavour, aromatics and acidity. It's not a grape that is excessive in any of those departments, but is just right and helps provide a solid base for the additional components of the blend.
Gewürztraminer: Gewürztraminer is an aromatic grape, and we love the tropical notes of lychee, mango and the zesty notes of grapefruit and orange peel mixed with it's delicate florality that enhances the nose of our blend.
Now that we have selected our base wines, this is where the trial and error comes in. We perform a series of tastings and blending trials which include different combinations of these wines until we find that perfect combo. From year to year, the percentages of the grapes in the blend will change. This is due to vintage variations and how we feel the wines are tasting, but we tend to always keep those four grapes. After we have decided on the components of our blend, we blend the wines together, stabilize and bottle!
From a winemaking perspective, blends are fun to make. They also help us maintain consistency amongst a style of wine from year to year. Our Windward White isn't the only blend we do! Our other blends include Admirals Blend, Meritage and our County Red - all available for tastings in our retail shop in Hillier, Prince Edward County, Ontario! We hope to see you soon!
If you have a question or a topic you would like to know more about, we would love to hear from you! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will cover it in a future post!
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