Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Launches New Extended Maceration Cabernet Sauvignon Project from Washington State
Paterson, Wash. (April 4th, 2016) – Today, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates launched INTRINSIC™ Wine Co., a raw, yet elegant Cabernet Sauvignon that uses extreme maceration techniques to highlight the incredible quality of tannins in Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon. INTRINSIC has tremendous complexity because the core of the wine stayed in contact with the skins for approximately nine months, whereas a typical red wine from Washington State spends less than one month on the skins.
To learn more about INTRINSIC, please visit Intrinsicwineco.com.
Winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca, who had an integral role in creating Washington’s only No. 1 Wine in the World from Wine Spectator and who has gone on to serve as the head winemaker for Columbia Crest in Paterson, Washington, found a passion-project in INTRINSIC. Muñoz-Oca felt there was more that could be extracted from the grape skins and more layers and depth that could be created. By experimenting with extreme extended maceration, Muñoz-Oca knew he was taking a risk by potentially ruining the final product. After years of trial and error, he proved it can be successful while also establishing new, cutting edge techniques and bringing an avant-garde, “garagiste-style” wine to consumers.
The inspiration behind the INTRINSIC label came from urban culture and the similarities between street art and winemaking. Both are reflective of the environment around them and are collaborations between artist and landscape. Each vintage of wine is unique, precious, and fleeting, just like street art. Muñoz-Oca used this insight and married it with the incredible quality of tannins in Washington State to push the traditional boundaries of Cabernet Sauvignon in the same way street art pushes boundaries of urban aesthetics.
The Wine & Sourcing:
· The inaugural 2014 vintage of INTRINSIC was primarily sourced from Beverly Vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA just north of the Saddle Mountains. This vineyard imparts a unique mineral tone to its Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Its soils are almost 100% coarse sand with lots of silica, creating a really hot site during the day, yet very cold at night. In addition, a smaller portion of the final blend was sourced from Eagle & Plow Vineyard, which is located in the heart of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. This vineyard has a heavier soil of Burbank rocky loam and creates a more intense tannin structure with a delicate nose.
· After months on the skins a natural fining took place and the tannins mellowed, leaving the pure characters of Cabernet Sauvignon and a surprising silkiness; an elegant yet raw canvas with which layers of flavor were added. The silkiness gives way to savory notes that are highlighted by the mineral character of the wine. Nearly half of the final blend was aged in French oak for a classic yet avant-garde wine.
· INTRINSIC is a true expression of Cabernet Sauvignon in Washington yet with a new, distinct take. This wine has a refined nose with aromas of leather and cherries that are truthful to Cabernet Sauvignon in Washington. The flavors are layered with tones of blueberry jam, pomegranate and chocolate. The texture is rustic, yet silky, with a unique savory and inviting finish.
· INTRINSIC’ s label was designed by famed Brooklyn street artist Zimer, with the goal of bringing to life on a bottle the urban setting where wine is often enjoyed.
INTRINSIC Cabernet Sauvignon will be available in restaurants and retailers nationally as of April 1. INTRINSIC will retail for a suggested price of $22.
“The extended skin contact is what makes INTRINSIC different; it is where we extracted the ‘intrinsic qualities’ of the grapes to develop a more layered wine,” said Winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca.
“We love the way this treatment of the grapes creates a rustic yet refined texture to the wine. INTRINSIC is both unmistakably a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Columbia Valley, yet somehow it’s totally different from other interpretations of the grape in the State. The aromatics are typical of Cabernet Sauvignon, but there is a uniqueness to the wine given the mineral tones and umami and savory flavors.”
With regards to the connection between street art and wine, Muñoz-Oca said, “Just like street art reflects the environment on which it is created, wine reflects the environment in which it was grown, nurtured and created. Both change from year to year and season to season. You never see street art the same way twice. Likewise, a glass of wine will never taste the same way twice, even if it’s the same wine from the same vintage.”
About INTRINSIC ™ Wine Co.
INTRINSIC Wine Co. was created to help bridge the gap between the agricultural setting where wine grapes are grown and the urban setting where wine is enjoyed. The inspiration behind the INTRINSIC label came from urban culture and the similarities between street art and winemaking. Both are reflective of the environment around them and are collaborations between artist and landscape. Winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca used this insight and married it with the incredible quality of tannins in Washington State to push the traditional boundaries of Cabernet Sauvignon in the same way street art pushes boundaries of urban aesthetics. By extracting more from the grape skins, our winemaker believed he could impart more layers and depth to the wine. After years of experimentation and trial and error involving extreme extended maceration, INTRINSIC was born. For more information visit Intrinsicwineco.com or follow us at Instagram.com/Intrinsicwineco.
About Juan Muñoz-Oca
Juan Muñoz-Oca is the winemaker for INTRINSIC Wine Co. Raised in Mendoza, Argentina, Muñoz-Oca came under the tutelage of his grandfather, cellar master at Bodegas Toso winery, at a young age. The older man instilled in him a love and respect for wine, as well as for his family’s Spanish culture, that was to become the root of a lifelong passion for winemaking. He picked his first grapes at the age of eight, later took an after-school job in a wine cellar, and spent his vacations helping his grandfather with harvest. In the summer of 2001, he began interning with the viticulture team at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, and in 2003 began working at Columbia Crest. In 2015, Muñoz-Oca found a passion-project with INTRINSIC while experimenting in the cellar with extreme extended maceration. The project marked an opportunity to not only explore the quality of tannins in Washington State Cabernet, but to also push boundaries in winemaking that have never been tested before.