Hiyu 2019 Aesalon, Columbia Gorge White Wine
This is the 4th release of Aesalon and the most wild wine to date. The parcel is in the far Southeast corner of the farm with an eastern exposure. We grafted it in 2016 from Pinot Gris to a field blend based on Spanish and Portuegese white varieties. The primary grapes are Xarel-lo, Arinto, Verdehlo and Macabeo. Alongside Hypericum (Which is based on Assyrtiko + southern Italian white grapes) it is an exploration of what is possible when you plant mediterranean grapes in an Alpine climate. The original theory was that if we planted grapes optimized to retain acidity in a warmer climate the result in a cool climate would be mind boggling complexity. In practice it is more complicated than this as the vines begin to genetically adapt to the new environment. Nevertheless, the result has been flavors and intensity levels that would be impossible to achieve with the kind of grapes that are normally planted in our climate.
With the exception of 2018, which was made as an orange wine and finished its fermentation completely on the skins, the wines usually see a week of maceration prior to being pressed to barrel. This pre-fermentation maceration amplifies all characteristics of the wine. It enhances aroma and texture. The wines become more fruity, but they also become more savory. This duality is what is most striking in this wine.
It is simultaneously as honeyed and as exotically fruity as it is leathery, meaty and red-wine like. The relationship is no accident. The floral qualities of a wine emerge from the same source as savory, barnyard aromas. One begets the other and when tasting one is constantly slipping between one sensation and the other. The effect of this oscillation is intoxicating.