Elk Cove’s Ultima is our definition of dessert; opulence in a bottle. Having long ago established a “cult-like” status, Riesling remains the cornerstone of our new blend, simply called Ultima. The Ultima is comprised each vintage of a selection of aromatic varietals consisting of a proprietary blend. While Riesling supplies the weight of this wine with fresh pear, apricot and honey notes, the supplemental varietals add beautiful delicate aromatics.
Vintage 2010 brings to mind some catchy phrases. The year of the birds – Hitchcock style, let ‘em hang and our favorite, and slogan for the vintage – “Hang ‘10”! Yes, harvest was later than normal. An exceptionally cold, wet spring was followed by what many seasoned producers recall as one of the shortest summers. However, 2010 was not the worst of years. The ‘attack of our feathered friends,’ whose almost unprecedented assault on valley fruit, also indicated nature’s signal that the fruit was ripe and grapes good indeed. Winemaker, Adam Campbell, comments in response to vintage nervousness, “you know, we have been doing this for almost 40 years, and it’s not the first time we’ve had slow ripening. We’re optimistic about it and we know exactly what to do.” Even science agrees. Climatologists show similarities to the great 2008 vintage; reporting lower yields, small berries and full flavor development at lower brix levels – all signs pointing to high quality wines with lower alcohols.
To create Ultima, we choose the most perfectly ripe, aromatic grapes fruit from our estate vineyards, primarily Riesling. We freeze the fruit prior to pressing to emulate the ice-wines produced in regions where fruit freezes on the vine.
To produce the Ultima, we press the grapes while frozen, which leaves a portion of the water from the grapes behind. This concentrates the fruit’s sweetness as well as all other flavors and aromatic compounds. The juice is then slow fermented in chilled tanks to protect the lovely honey and floral qualities that make Ultima a prized dessert wine.
Viticultural & Enological Data
- Vine Age 3-31 years
- Yield 2 tons/acre
- Harvest Sugars 31.4 Brix (at pressing)
- pH 3.36
- Vatting Whole-cluster pressed frozen grapes cold fermented in small stainless steel tanks.
- Cases Produced 383