BY BART DOAN
For those who didn’t know, Beaujolais Nouveau Day was five months ago. But in the tradition of the French wine holiday that was marked by wineries throughout the world uncorking some of their premium selections, several Indiana wineries followed suit this past weekend.
Chateau Thomas Winery here was among those participating in Free the Cork Day.
The winery held an informational session on winemaking and also released its 2011 Sauvingon Blanc, describing it as a light, warm weather wine for a variety of foods and occasions.
“The event sort of fits into the winemaking calendar,” said Michael Cunningham, a winemaker with Chateau Thomas who has been making wine for 20 years. “Spring is starting and you have some wines from the past year that are done early and ready to release.
“The Sauvingon Blanc is a nice, light, herbal taste profile that works in the summer. Most people that I know who are really interested in wines drink more red, but I don’t much in the summer. They can be heavy. This is a good release for that time.”
Cunningham spent a few hours at the event giving people an inside look into the wine making process, and how this particular blend came about.
Chateau Thomas Winery made just more than 100 cases of the version for those who want to try the new release.
“Although every wine’s a little different, this is a stainless steel fermented Sauvingon Blanc,” Cunningham said. “With red wines, we get grapes usually, but since we get most of our stuff from the west coast, white grapes don’t ship well. We have it shipped as a juice, and when we warm it up, we see how much sugar it’s got and check the measurements of other chemicals.
“What I’ve really come to find after doing this for 20 years is that I really like whites fermented about 58 degrees. If you ferment too cold, they tend to taste like a grapefruit, lemon juice. If it’s too warm, it’s too blousy, too much fruit. Every winemaker is different. A lot of people ferment at 55 degrees.”
Cunningham also encouraged patrons to try the Gewurztraminer and one of his favorite sweet wines, the Muscat Canelli, this spring as they are available.
“A lot of people like a little sweeter wine,” he said. “The Muscat Canelli is a little sweet and slightly carbonated. It’s a wine that almost everyone can enjoy. It has a beautiful aroma that goes well with everything, like a picnic wine that works with sandwiches and fried chicken.”
Free the Cork Saturday included seven wineries around the greater Indianapolis area releasing new selections for spring. The Indy Wine Trail is hoping to gather public feedback and reaction to the event and the wines released, which vary from four months to two years in age.
All of the wines released on the Free the Cork day are in limited supply. Those interested may visit the website at IndyWineTrail.com to participate in further events or learn where to obtain each limitedrelease wine.