Two Shepherds Vineyards Centime, Saralee’s Vineyard, 2011

A haunting orange wine with notes of autumn leaves, spiced tree fruits, nutmeats, and ginger.

Two Shepherds Vineyards Centime 2011

Two Shepherds Vineyards
Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley
13.5% ABV | Price: about $28* | 13 cases produced

“Centime” is French for penny, and the name’s a nod to the coppery hue of wine made from white grapes fermented like red, viz., in contact with their skins and seeds. The process tinges the juice a pale russet color, and contributes tannins and other phenolic compounds that give the wine texture and complexity.

Here, winemaker William Allen co-fermented a 50/50 blend of marsanne and roussanne on their skins until dry, using native yeast. He then pressed by hand using a small basket press, adding a dollop of grenache blanc juice and lees to round out the blend. He moved the wine to stainless steel, where it aged for ten months before being racked and bottled.

The resulting wine is pale rose gold, the color of onion skin. It smells like autumn leaves, spiced tree fruits, apricots, old roses, nutmeats, pastry. Sweetly savory and mineral-driven, it washes the tongue with a gingery freshness. Notes of apple, Asian pear, and stone fruit commingle with nutty spices, and the wine lifts open at the finish, then spreads out quietly, like the last light of summer.

It’s a haunting, protean wine, and even more captivating the second day. Only thirteen cases were made, which are now sold out. I hope it’s not his last penny.



*I received this wine as a media sample.


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1 Comment

  • It warms my heart Meg, that you liked the wine this much, thanks for kind words.
    2011 Centime was my first (commercial) skin contact project, in the year every one screamed ‘no skin contact!’ for Russian River whites, after one of the most challenging harvests in decades.
    It was a labor of love. It was also intended to show The Flock (wine club members) a possibly different side to ‘orange’ wines, as for some, this was their first orange wine. Less tannic, bitter, able to be drunk without 5 years of bottle aging; like most of my wines, and my palate, more subtle if you will.
    2012 Centime is bottling aging and is ~12 cases (1/2 barrel) of Grenache Blanc, this time neutral barrel aged, bottled unfined, unfiltered. I haven’t tasted one since bottling, I should soon!
    I haven’t yet decided which varieties yet for 2013, the decision is often spur of the moment. Russian River Marsanne & Roussanne is greatly reduced this harvest. It’s the ONLY planting is the Russian River, and half was found to be diseased, yet thankfully, in the land of Pinot Noir, more is being grafted over.
    Humble thanks again for your words and appreciation – this kind of response is why I do what I do!

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