Sauk Prairie locals can try something new at Wollersheim Winery and Distillery Oct. 3: apple wine.
The release of the apple wine, which Wollersheim has named Au Pomme, is meant to compliment the flavors typically enjoyed during the autumn.
“We made it last fall,” said Distiller Tom Lenerz. “The process was, we made an apple brandy, and then we took fresh pressed cider at Ski-Hi (Fruit Farm) brought it back and infused it with our apple brandy.”
The Au Pomme is Wollersheim’s first wine not made from grapes. The process is similar to making a port wine.
“We added the yeast, very short fermentation, then added the brandy to halt that fermentation,” Lenerz said.
The Au Pomme is aged in chardonnay barrels, that Lenerz said offered the most neutral character from a wood perspective, allowing the apple flavor to remain prominent.
“It’s an orchard blend, so it’s kind of what was ripe in the orchard at the time,” Lenerz said. “This particular blend was very heavy in Idareds... The later season orchard blends are going to be more flavorful and interesting than the earlier season stuff.”
The Au Pomme is best paired with cheeses, wines and crackers.
The Oct. 3 release will coincide with an ice wine celebration, including harp music and horse-drawn wagon rides.
Although Wollersheim was planning to release the 2018 ice wine at the same time as the Au Pomme, the winery decided against it.
“Philippe and our winemaking team have made the difficult decision not to release the 2018 vintage of our Ice Wine on October 3,” Wollersheim said in an online post. “We apologize, as we know how so many people look forward to this release, however, we didn’t feel this vintage of Ice Wine was up to our high quality standards.”
Ice wines from other years will still be available.
Wollersheim Co-Owner and Vice President of Marketing Julie Coquard said ice wines pair particularly well with cheesecake.
Grapes used for ice wines are harvested when completely frozen, with the target temperature being 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s really a different class of wine,” Coquard said. “It’s very concentrated flavor. You’d usually have a smaller serving because it’s so flavorful.”
Ice wines are less common, as not all wine producing areas become sufficiently cold.
“Canada’s known for their ice wine,” Coquard said. “California isn’t.”
Grapes frozen in the freezer do not qualify to be considered ice wine grapes.