Harvest snuck up on me again. I’ve been doing this long enough to know when the first grapes will come in, but each year I’m still surprised. Harvest is holy. Harvest is hard. Harvest is healing.
The senses are the winemaker’s greatest tools. The ability to smell and taste and remember what you’ve experienced from barrel to barrel are crucial in putting together consistent wines.
Outside influences, like Brettanomyces, a spoilage yeast that lives everywhere in the winery, can get in the way of the true expression of fruit and vineyard and the intent of the winemaker. Being clean in the cellar is the easiest way to keep Brett and other malign bugs at bay.
Between every barrel, we spray a 70% ethanol solution on the thief, that metal tube in the accompanying photo, that we use to steal a little wine out of each barrel.
We draw wine out into our glass, smell, taste, make notes, then sterilize the thief before it goes into the next barrel. Think of it as the prophylactic use of prophylactics…a condom for our Cabernet.
Now, of course, there have to be gradations of each of these three primary categories, right? We’re comparing a lot of wines to each other…there have to be finer shadings so as to capture the whole panoply of my tasting experience. Voila! There’s ++, +-, ++-, O++, +-+, etc. Totally transparent, yes?
Well, over the 4th of July weekend I was mercilessly skewered for my innocent little system. Some of my winemaking team going so far as to call it ridiculous and stupid. Consequently, I’ve re-thought this whole ratings thing and decided on a much simpler system…
From now on each wine will be given a rating based on the Italian mathematician, Fibonacci’s, Sequence. Found all over nature, the Golden Ratio (based on the Sequence in decimal form) was used by illustrious artists like Da Vinci to define perfection. So my new system has that going for it…the third-party endorsement of one of the greatest artists of all time. It also has size.
The longer the string of numbers…what I call the F-Seq, (ef-seck), the better the wine. So, I had a Zin yesterday…1,1,2. The Chardonnay – 1,1,2,3,5. And, the Cabernet? Brilliant – an F-Seq of 1,1,2,3,5,8,13!
We’re a comparing species; there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Grab some wine, give each one an F-Seq. Grab some apples, forks, carburetors…give them F-Seqs too!!
That’s the beauty of the Steven Mirassou F-Seq System™. The System fits everything, and everything fits the System!
The next time you want to differentiate two of anything, use The F-Seq. My gift to you, free of charge.
If no one knows a wine exists, it doesn’t matter how great it may be. When the people who know about that wine are prominent wine critics (and they’re saying nice things about the wines), the megaphone gets larger.
Steve Heimoff, former critic for the Wine Enthusiast and one of the most esteemed wine writers around, called the 2017 Lineage (to which he gave a perfect 100-point score!) in his recent blog post:
I have…my notes of the tens of thousands of California Cabs and blends I tasted in my career. And frankly, none have been better. A huge achievement, both for Steven Kent and for the Livermore Valley to which he has been dedicated for so long. Score: 100 points.
Thanks for the kind words, Steve.
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