Over the course of the next 12 months, we’ll be whittling a redwood down to a finely-sharpened toothpick as Aidan Mirassou, my assistant winemaker, and I move through 85 barrels of 2017 Bordeaux varieties in 12 separate barrel groups to get to the perfect few that will become Lineage 2017.
There are many ways of tackling the complexity inherent in this task, but I want to be sure that in getting to our answer we don’t miss out on the joy and beauty of this most essential thing we do: ultimately, is this wine delicious and does it bring me joy?
As Aidan and I taste through the barrel groups we will be taking a lot of notes, talking a lot about our individual preferences and making a lot of mock blends. One of things that makes blending this way so interesting is that neither one of us tastes the same thing as the other. What may seem thin and lacking in varietal character to Aidan may be overly wooded and too viscous for me. So, in the journey to craft a wine of beauty and tension and complexity, Aidan and I must “battle” our own individual (and sometimes – idiosyncratic) biases to get to a point of agreement, perhaps…but – more importantly – to arrive at a point that most honestly serves the true nature of this particular wine.
When Lineage 2017 is released my profoundest hope is that the wine is not only spectacularly delicious but that it serves as a symbol for the way I want to make wine and live life. Hopefully, it prods and maybe even provokes a little. This wine should transform, if only to a tiny degree. And if we succeed, we will all see wine and winemaking a little bit differently… perhaps, even feel it a little more deeply.