The Somos’ boys are at it again and this time with the epitome of textural Mediterranean varieties, Vermentino. They have mucked around a bit with a lot or two in a few blends over the years but were unable to pin down the style and block for which to make a varietal wine. That all changed in 2019 when Paxton’s biodynamic Gateway Vineyard in Seaview had a few rows available. This site planted in 1997 retains all of the classic sea-spray aromatics of this Sardinian variety. The texture is always there with Vermentino but keeping the acid line in check is the balancing act, especially in McLaren Vale. It was picked early enough to retain that acid but through barrel fermentation and lees aging was able to enhance the complexity and texture of the grape.
The fruit was hand-harvested and gently basket pressed directly into old French barriques, with about 10% of the clusters being destemmed but the berries left intact for a skin fermented lot. Fermentation kicked off almost immediately and the skin contact portion was pressed after 10 days. The lots were aged on the gross lees for nine months, really developing the minerally aromatic notes associated with sur-lie aging. It was bottled without fining and just with a very coarse filtration and small addition of sulfur. The wine was held back in bottle for an additional three months prior to release.