Circa Estate Winery has announced the upcoming release of Michigan’s first commercially produced appassimento-style wine. Christened “Mosaic,” this dry white wine is a blend of white grape varieties that have been partially dried prior to fermentation.
“The great Amarone winemakers of Italy employ the appassimento technique,” says winemaker Margaret Bell. “Removing some of the water from the grape by partial drying leaves an amazing juice of concentrated flavors. What we have done is translate those methods to the wonderful, aromatic white wines of the Leelanau Peninsula.”
“Appassimento” involves bringing grapes inside after harvest and placing them on drying racks for a period of weeks or months, allowing moisture to slowly evaporate from the berries and producing a juice of pronounced character. The percentage of fermentable sugar in the berry is also increased.
“We used specially made white oak racks and kept the fruit in a controlled humidity environment, allowing us to control and monitor the rate and degree of evaporation. By weighing and tasting the berries weekly we were able to stop the process at the ideal time. Biting into the grapes was like a flavor dance on my tongue.” Bell says. “As with an artists’ mosaic, this wine is a piecing together of parts to create something unique and beautiful. It is a hand-crafted, unfiltered palette of flavors.”
Mosaic is the first wine being released under Circa’s new Artisan Series line of wines. These wines represent smaller production, limited release offerings which Bell will be producing in addition to Circa’s regular lineup of Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Improvisation, Requisite and Cabernet Franc. The Artisan Series wine labels will feature reproductions of local artworks that comprise the Circa tasting room collection. The Mosaic label features the painting ‘Ebullience’ by Traverse City artist Charles Murphy.
Mosaic garnered its first gold medal at the recent Michigan Wine and Spirits Competition and is being shipped this week to members of the Circa Wine Society, prior to its public release on September 2. The Bells will be pouring the new wine and answering questions at a special release party from 6-10pm on Friday, September 2 on the Circa patio. Live music and small plates will round out the festivities.
Circa is located at 7788 East Horn Road in Lake Leelanau on the Leelanau Peninsula.