So I have eluded to this “reserve” project in the past…
I put the word “reserve” in quotation marks because I didn’t really know what this part of MTGA was going to be. I knew that I wanted to turn things up to 11 but I didn’t want it to be known as “reserve” or “cult” or any other lame winery jargon that literally has no real meaning when it comes to the wine industry in these United States. So I went on a search to find the right word or phrase that would encompass what this part of MTGA was going to be. My search ended after what may have been a couple too many whiskeys.
Just kidding. But seriously… so much whiskey.
That was how it clicked. When you hear or read the phrase “single barrel” you know exactly what that means, especially in terms of quantity. There is an assumption of quality because it is one barrel that stands out above the rest. It is up the the adult libation in question to make that assumption become a reality.
Doing a single barrel project is interesting. First off you do need to top up that barrel due to the evaporation that happens over the course of the aging process, that said you are still bottling up just that one barrel of liquid. From what I have learned of the last 22 months the small amount of topping actually helps maintain some of the fruit characteristics and other structural components; especially with some new oak in the mix. Which brings me to my next consideration for this project which was to invest in some new French oak.
I have overlooked new barrels for MTGA largely because I thought they would easily nuke any of the subtleties that Merlot has to offer. I sit before you on my couch on July 13th, 2015 as I type up this post to tell you that I was wrong. Finding the right barrel was a pain and even when I nailed it down I still had to wait to see how the wine would react to it which takes nothing but time. The risk was that once the wine is over-oaked you are pretty much SOL unless you take that lot and use it as blending component which isn’t the worst fallback in the world. That said you are still risking about 60 gallons of wine and a barrel that isn’t cheap to make it happen.
With MTGA there are times when I do doubt myself. This was one of those times. As the 2013 Merlot I had chosen was racked into this new barrel I had a hard time believing that I was making the right decision. I sit before you on my couch to tell you that I was wrong and my doubt was misplaced. Now, I don’t want that to come off as cocky but this barrel is damn good. I love the MTGA Merlot and Riesling but this guy literally turns the volume up to 11 and throws strikes for 9 straight innings after which it heads to the nearest karaoke bar to provide one of the best renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody that you’ve heard since Wayne’s World.
Sorry. That was a little much.
Long story short it is beyond exciting to see MTGA growing and I cannot thank you enough for checking out the wine, reading these ridiculous blog posts or anything else that you do to support this dream of mine.
This single barrel is going to end up being bottled late this fall or early next year after which it will hang around it bottle for a little bit to smooth out. Keep your eyes peeled for when it finally makes it debut.