Blending wine is like trying to turn over, blindfolded, all the tumblers in a cage whose lock is constantly moving. The Lineage Collection winemaking team’s sole job is to free the shackled prisoner inside. She is Perfect Beauty. We always go into Blending
Season with the confidence that she is there to be found and the experience to know that it will take work and patience to free her from her barrel-shaped prison.
Winemaking runs, in large part, on the fuel of rational exuberance and joy. And we seeourselves as happily inevitable conscripts in a battle against mediocrity and the lack of enological imagination. The Livermore Valley is one of the finest places in the world to grow Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We believe we have a moral responsibility to work toward a level of quality at least as great as that of our growing area.
In my forthcoming book, I write a lot about tasting from barrels and putting blends together with my team. The everyday reality of finding the right barrels to include in a final blend – all the spitting and note-taking and sample-getting and triaging of samples is in service to the marshaling of disparate barrels, with their own senses of structure and flavor, into a seamless, coherent, emotional, and transcendent wine that will pay its dividend of Deliciousness for decades to come.
Aidan Mirassou, Beth Refsnider, and I embarked today on the fitting of Cabernet Sauvignon barrels together for our finest representation of that grape: The Premier. 2019 was a fine vintage, and the first run-through of 26 barrels (we are looking for the best and most appropriate eight) yielded many gorgeous wines. We will spend the next several weeks kicking barrels out and re-introducing those same back into the blend until we have what we hope is a seamless and gorgeous wine.
I’ll report back on our efforts and spend some more time describing how our process works in a future post. Until then, drink emotional and drink well!