The 2012 Dirty and Rowdy Semillon is back in NYC! The Dirty and Rowdy wines are taking New York, and the wine world in general, by storm, and we are honored to work with them. The 2011 Semillon was 50% skin contact and 50% concrete egg fermented, but this year the 2012 is 80% skin contact and 20% egg fermented.
So what is all this skin contact and egg business about?
Most white wines in the world today are made without the skins in contact with the juice. The juice of all grapes is clear, so red wines get their color entirely from the skins. In ancient times white wines were made, often in amphora buried in the ground, with the skins macerating along with the juice. It turns out the skins actually help preserve freshness in the wine, by preventing oxidation. Sulfites also prevent oxidation, so, for a winemaker looking to minimize the addition of sulfites, skin-contact is a natural fermentation method that helps to make a well-preserved natural wine. Some white wines made with skin contact become orange or amber in color, hence the term, “Orange Wine,” which has become somewhat popular. The juice of these wines spends a long time, from several months up to several years, in contact with the skins. The Dirty and Rowdy white wine is only in contact with the skins during alcoholic fermentation, about 15 days in 2012. The wine is not orange, but the skins add complexity to the aromas and flavors of the wine, and without a doubt produces a very fresh white wine.
Egg fermenters are one of the newest trends to hit the natural wine world. The concept harkens back to the Anfora used in ancient times. One of the amazing aspects of these two vessels is that the shape actually creates motion of the juice. As fermentation happens, bubbles form and due to the shape of the egg, the juice is constantly pushed in circles inside the egg. Hardy Wallace, winemaker at Dirty and Rowdy, told us there was something about wines made in this way that seem to taste more energetic, more “alive.”
The vineyards that provide the grapes to make the Semillon yielded almost 3 times as much production as last year, so there’s a lot more of this wine for 2012. We tasted the white wine last week and were all wowed by its finesse and purity. This year, since the yields were much higher, and they only had one egg (for financial reasons!), they had to make more of the wine with skin contact. They have since purchased a second concrete egg.
The bottles are green this time around, instead of brown, and so this year the tee-shirts are green as well. Hardy Wallace brought all of us at J&F a shirt, and we love wearing them! They are made from super comfy fabric (organic of course). We strongly you suggest you head over to the D&R store to grab one for yourself before they sell out again!