The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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Page 38 of 152

WORDS FROM THE CELLAR Keys to a Style TERCERO WINEMAKER LARRY SCHAFFER TALKS ABOUT MAKING CENTRAL COAST GEWURZTRAMINER I make a white wine called "The Outlier." The obvious question is why is it called that? Well, once I explain that it's a Gewurztraminer, a vast majority of buyers are hesitant and warn me, "I don't like sweet wines." Now, we all know that most consumers actually do prefer sweet wines, but it's not "cool" to like them, right? The fact is that I don't make The Outlier in a traditional California style, which would be cloyingly sweet. I prefer to mimic the wines of Alto Adige instead, highlighting the wonderful aromatics that this grape naturally possesses, without being over-thetop sweet. In fact, my 2012 version has less than .5% residual sugar, with great acidity. There are a couple of keys for me in making this wine in the style I aim for. Vineyard selection is important, and my grapes come from vineyards near Los Alamos, just south of the Santa Maria Valley, that share the same cool mornings and warmer afternoons that famous Pinot and Chardonnay vineyards in the area have. The second key is a cool, slow fermentation in stainless steel, followed by short aging in stainless steel with as minimal amount of movement and tinkering as possible. This will help retain the wonderful aromatics that the grape possesses and will assist in keeping the grape's acid in play all the way through the process. What I love about wines like these are that they are dry enough to enjoy on their own, but sweet enough to go with the spicy cuisine I clamor for as often as I can get my hands on them—Indian, Thai and sushi. Cheers! PHOTO: ROB BROWN Tercero winemaker Larry Schaffer in his Santa Ynez Valley tasting room. Winemakers: Do you have a story to tell about one of your wines? Send me a note about it and we may feature it in THE TASTING PANEL! —Meridith May 38  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_034-65.indd 38 10/24/13 9:18 AM

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