But isn’t it supposed to be 100% Merlot!? You bet! One of the most entertaining aspects of the winemaking process, in my opinion, are the different lots that you can create by very subtle yet oh-so-important tweaks to the fermentation and/or aging process. For the 2011 vintage I was able to make such tweaks to create a few even smaller lots of Merlot that will all contribute to the final blend.
Each of the barrels that makes up the 2011 vintage has the ability to stand on its own, but standing just isn’t good enough. The wine has to get the palate going. When it comes to blending your goal is to find a 1 + 1 = 3 situation. AKA the final blend is greater than the sum of its parts.
For example, a while back there was one of the 2011 barrels that wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. The wine that was in the barrel came from a heavier pressing cycle as the fermentation was finishing up. It was bigger, a little bitter and the balance wasn’t quite there. By no means was it “bad wine” but it did not fit the profile I was looking for. As a result that barrel didn’t make the blending cut. The remaining barrels represent exactly what I wanted to get out of the 2011 vintage.
Making the choice to sacrifice 60 gallons of wine with such a small production is not easy. On the other side of the coin if I were to stick with that barrel to the end it would have had a negative effect on the final blend. Omitting that barrel was for the greater good.