WINEMAKING AS CRAFT
Winemaking is a dance, and the fruit always has the lead. Each vineyard, block and vintage yields fruit with its inherent rhythm. These variables make our winemaking methods challenging to summarize. One cannot generalize decisions specific to time and place, which need to be made in real time in response to observations using all our senses.
We can, however, describe the virtues that we pursue and the restraints we exercise.
Our first objective is to create something beautiful. For us, that beauty is elegant and feminine in nature. That elegance is derived from the virtues of precision and purity that we pursue in all our wines. We believe wine should wear a dress. The dress can be; big or small, modest or revealing, silk, satin, leather or lace but it always wears a dress.
In our winemaking we favor outcomes over ideology. However, we, as artisans, prefer simple and primitive tools. We are not seduced by the trappings of modern winemaking, nor are we entranced by the lore of antiquity and tradition. Through our experience, we have learned when, how and to what extent we should act. All actions are viewed with our primary objective of beauty, with the virtues of precision and purity in mind.
Believing the most critical winemaking decision is when to pick, we approach ripening as a reproductive rhythm. To carefully track the gestation of the grape requires us to be in the vineyard at bloom, months and weeks before the harvest.
Wine is the result of the magical alchemy of yeast. We continue to be in awe of the transformation that is fermentation. Without dogma, we let some wines ferment spontaneously without inoculation. For other wines, we prefer the control and specificity afforded by cultured yeasts.
In our whites, we work to polish and wrap the wine’s core of acidity so that it is free of barbs and burrs but retains tension and acceleration. We favor freshness preferring evolution to occur in the bottle. Though some wines receive the influence of oak, it is always intended to serve in a supporting role, never the star. Lees management is specific to each wine so that the aromatic, textural and energetic contribution is appropriate to the style.
Red winemaking is architectural; we are building structures with the wines intrinsic components. We manage the extraction of color and tannin, the frame of the structure, in a manner specific to each site and season. Oak components, exclusively from French forests, are meticulously managed to add aromatic nuance as well as structural material to the wine. Delayed malolactic fermentations give oxygen time to catalyze the building of the wines scaffolding. Aging on lees and, in some cases, lees stirring contribute to the structure's fine exterior.
Our decisions are guided using the most sophisticated analytical tools on the planet: the human nose and mouth. Our sense of balance is based on resonance and the harmonic convergence of the parts into a unique whole.