Verjus $12.00 (500mL bottle)
Released Feb-2011 (click here for full label image including side panels).
Just like previous years (Verjus
2008, Verjus 2009), we have
produced a tiny amount of verjus. Verjus is a french word
from "ver" (green) and "jus" (juice). It is the juice squeezed from
grapes that are harvested before they're ripe -- also
refered to as a "green harvest". It can be used in cooking where you
might otherwise use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
Sometimes you'll find verjus labelled as "red" or "white", which
indicates if the grapes it was made from are usually made into a red
wine or white. Ours is 100% Melon de Bourgogne, a white winegrape.
What to do with Verjus?
For a change I occassionally add a touch to an afternoon shot of
espresso to take the hard edge off the espresso. (Italians do this
with a tiny wedge of lemon.)
We use it in a simple salmon preparation along with a bit of dill and
white pepper. We always have a bottle in the fridge and use a touch
here and there all the time. See
the Recipes page of our website, and/or
go to your favorite web search engine, and look for "verjus" and
you'll find many great uses for it.
Why are we making a Verjus?
You may wonder why one would harvest the grapes before they're ripe?
Good question -- this is done when the grapevine is producing more
clusters than the viticulurist feels it can properly ripen. By
dropping some of the fruit, the vines resources will not be spread as
thin, thus it will ripen the remaining fruit more quickly. This can
be very important in a cool climate like ours where harvest decisions
can be forced by inclement weather. This practice is also often done
in warmer areas, however recent studies have shown it has little
overall effect when the ripening season is not limited.
2010 was a ridiculously cool growing season -- the coolest on record.
Put simply, it never warmed up. The few warmer days were often
followed up immediately by rain, which reduces the effectiveness of
sprays for powdery mildew and botrytis. Additionally, most of the
plants are still quite young and may not be able to support such a
large crop. Our green harvest was a little before veraison, meaning
that there is no sugar, thus it is seriously tart.
Our label is a commissioned artwork. Please visit our page with
more information about Dianne
Gardner of Port Orchard who painted this lovely cluster of
underripe winegrapes, ready to be made into verjus.