Somewhere between the richest and oakiest Chardonnay-like South African Chenin Blancs and the lighter, more fruit-driven styles lies this hearty yet refreshing white. The nose is reminiscent of orange-compote bread pudding: toasty and rather rich but with a pure citrus tang and notes of honeysuckle and tangerine, suggesting a full-bodied but clean and refreshing palate. The mouthfeel is creamy but not overbearing with bright acidity to balance a warming alcohol (14%), leading to a long, resolving finish. A great match for rustic fall meals such as acorn squash stuffed with sausage, apples and breadcrumbs.
It’s one o’clock in the morning and I am helping sort pinot noir grapes under a not-quite-harvest moon at Freedom Run Winery on the Niagara Escarpment of New York State. It’s been a gorgeous, warm growing season, and the fruit is ripe, sweet, and juicy—dream conditions in a cool-climate state. But the winemakers are more excited about what’s in the throwaway bin.