It used to be that I described winemaking as 95% janitorial and 5% artistic. Most days winemaking to me meant sanitizing equipment so I could make a mess with it and then cleaning up afterwards. It's still all that. The only thing that's changed is that Ray is the responsible janitor now... I mean, assistant winemaker. These days, I get stuck managing retail locations, looking at spreadsheets and writing emails more than anything else.
The one thing I won't give up is harvest, though. There's nothing like getting up in the morning for two months straight and trying to create the best damn wine humanly possible, fighting the elements, Mother Nature, fatigue, and my own stupidity sometimes. Slightly insane, but if I let you know that I used to run cross-country it probably all makes sense. (In a similar vein, Ray is a soccer player.....)
So, tasting through the hard work from almost two years ago was immensely satisfying. Ray said, "You know, we can't go wrong with any of this." And he's right. These 2007s are special. It'll be a while before we see wines like this again. (I hope not, but that's probably reality.) We have twelve barrels that we saved out from 2007 to take for a second year in oak. And from that lot, we developed two blends. We'll have a Cadenza and a Bridge blend, both of which are going to be impressive in their own respects.
This will be the third year for Bridge. What started out in 2001 as a "bridge-wine" between John's tradition of Cadenza and mine had now turned into something akin to a Bordeaux second-label wine.
The Cadenza we put together is one of the richest wines I think we've ever had here at Allegro. It's heavy on the Merlot, but with good structure. It should remind people a bit of the 2002 Reserve Merlot hopefully.
All in all, those kind of days are what making being a winemaker worthwhile. And luckily we'll get to share the fruits of these labors for the next dozen years or so.