Over the course of the next 18 months, we’ll be whittling a redwood down to a finely sharpened toothpick as Craig Ploof, my assistant winemaker, and I move through 213 barrels of 2013 Bordeaux varieties in 23 separate barrel groups to get to the perfect 20 that will become Lineage 2013. 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.
As Craig 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 Craig may be overly wooded and too viscous for me. So, in the journey to craft a wine of beauty and tension and complexity, Craig and I must “battle” our own individual (and sometimes – idiosyncratic) biases to get to a point of agreement, and – more importantly – a point that most honestly serves the true nature of this particular wine.
When Lineage 2013 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, and perhaps feel it a little more deeply.