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Ste. Michelle Debuts Intrinsic, An “Extreme Extended Maceration” Wine

April 5, 2016

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates is hitting the market with its latest new product, an upscale Washington Cabernet called Intrinsic, characterized by “extreme extended maceration.” Featuring a label designed by Brooklyn street artist Zimer, Intrinsic is launching nationally at around $22 a bottle. A Ste. Michelle spokesperson told SND that the company produced 30,000 cases of Intrinsic for the inaugural 2014 vintage, and intends the brand to be a fixture in its portfolio moving forward, with a 2015 vintage currently in the works.

Intrinsic was created by Columbia Crest head winemaker Juan Muñoz-Oca after years of trial and error with extreme extended maceration. Sourced from the Beverly Vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA and Eagle & Plow Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills, nearly half of the grapes for Intrinsic were left on the skins for nine months (compared with an average of under one month for a typical red wine), a technique that Muñoz-Oca says unlocks additional layers of depth and flavor.

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