Monday, January 18, 2010


Brenda--the person who has the difficult task of trying to convince me that marketing works--once asked me if I thought there were similarities between a winemaker's personality and their wines.  I think this is an interesting question to play around with.  And, I'm not saying that bad wines are made by bad people and good wines by good people, but rather what style do you end up making the wines in, or what wines do you choose to make based on your personality.

I had the opportunity to taste Chaddsford's 2007 Pinot Noir last night (a blend from Phil Roth's old vineyard and the Eric's Miller Estate Vineyard.)  It was a really nice wine, and it almost made me re-consider my decision never to make Pinot Noir again.  And it reminded me of the personality question.  Pinot Noir is the "exception" grape.  You can do x and y in the cellar to most grapes, EXCEPT Pinot Noir.  Or it's the "especially" grape.  As in, you have to be gentle with all grapes, ESPECIALLY Pinot Noir. 

Pinot Noir is not a team player.  It's not easy to get along with.  It demands special attention in the cellar.  This is not to say that we ignore any of our wines.  It's just that Pinot Noir is like the prima donna of the grape world.  Don't play to its ego you're screwed .  And that's what it's been like for me.

Now, I like tannins.  Always have, probably always will.  Tannins are what protect the wines, make them robust and invigorating.  Tannins separate the wheat from the chaff in the wine-drinking world.  They also allow the wine to put up with an aggressive personality.  I am young and dumb in this wine-world, very much a kitchen-sink winemaker.  (If I think two different things will help a wine, I do them both, not just choose between one or the other.)  When I get a chance with a great vintage, I go for broke.  (Case in point, our 2007 Cadenza.)  No holds barred, throw it all on, and leave it all out on the field (or cellar, as the case may be.)

So, my personality really doesn't jive with Pinot Noir (or Sangiovese, for that matter) that looks to be coddled and caressed and massaged on its way to the bottle.  I like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with their richness and powerful finesse.  Chardonnay that takes to layers and layers of pushing to go to the place I want.  These are wines that fit my personality.  Even, play to it, like it, perhaps even need it.  These are Allegro wines!

No comments:

Post a Comment

By posting on here, you are guaranteeing that what you say here is worthwhile and worth saying. And something that you would say in the presence of your mother. If not, I will be forced to remove it.