Skin Contact Sparkling
We met John Keller in the parking lot at Third Coast Soif when he was just getting started and were instantly blown away by how unique and natural his wines tasted. John used to work in a lab at Ravenswood in CA but wasn’t into industrial winemaking so he quit and started the Neu Cellars project with his Dad. Neu in German means new, fresh, or young and all his fruit hails from the Old Mission Peninsula. In the cellar, everything is fermented spontaneously and there are zero additions or subtractions. If there was an ingredient list on the label, it would read simply– grapes.
Michigan agriculture is the second most diverse in the nation next to, of course, California. There are 112 operating wineries in Michigan and the wine scene dates back to the 1800s. Like other regions in the US, prohibition set back the wine industry there and for a long time, most of the grapes grown went to the production of grape juice like Welch’s.
In early October, the Cayuga was hand harvested. 60% of the total Cayuga harvested was placed in stainless tank, which was filled halfway with whole clusters, then topped with foot trod clusters and sealed for 11 days. As a result, this Cayuga underwent semi-carbonic maceration. The remaining 40% of the total Cayuga was lightly foot trod and pressed with stems into a neutral oak barrel. The Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer were lightly foot trod and pressed with stems into the same neutral oak barrel. In late October, the Riesling was treated the same as the Chardonnay and Gewürztraminer and used to top the same barrel. Primary fermentation was complete in approximately a month. At this time, freshly-pressed Cayuga was added as liqueur de tirage during bottling. The wine was bottle aged for 4.5 months on the lees before it was disgorged by hand in early April.