What. A. Vintage.

Wow. Where did the year go? As the writer for this blog, I can tell you our participation has not been up to par. That being said, I am back! Now we write…

Well, as a quick recap, our inaugural vintage can be described in a couple words: fortunate, near perfect. We got our fruit off the wine the morning of the big rains in Napa. Fermentation went wonderfully. Clean and smooth for native fermentations is all you can ask for. The wines, quite frankly, are fantastic at this stage in their lives. We are so excited to see how they progress over the next 12-15 months before we bottle.

If you don’t know, we called an audible at the line midway through harvest. We were offered Pinot Noir fruit for free! One catch, we had to pick it. Of course, the young-buck winemaker thinks, “Free fruit?! Hell, I can pick that!” Six hours and only 700 pounds later, the young-buck and his friends were exhausted… but sooo excited for the fruit. Again, our native fermentation went smooth. Slow but smooth. We are currently midway through our clarification and stabilization of the base wine and will hopefully (fingers crossed) have our wine bottle on New Year’s Eve to pay our respects for the festivities. This way, every NYE we can pop a bottle in celebration and determine how the wine is aging and when we want to disgorge and prep for sale. Needless to say to 300 bottles of bubbles we should get out of this side project will be well worth the wait.

Check out our Facebook page for the most recent images of our Board Meeting in Carmel!

-MSix

If the powers that be won’t let a youthful and driven generation have a seat at the table, we will build our own table; not to sit at but to stand on, allowing the world to hear our voice.

Pommard + Dijon: Coming Fall, 2013!

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a great weekend. The weather around the area just seems perfect right now: not too hot but just warm enough! If you missed pictures from the vineyard last week, here you are! We look to have more pictures up this Friday! I cannot explain how excited we are for this opportunity. It has been a long time coming, bouncing the ideas back and forth for the last three years. We appreciate the unyielding support we have received! There is a lot of excitement building for Fall, 2013. It may seem like forever away right now, but when you follow the life of a wine, you will see two years fly by!

Within the Pinot Noir grape there are hundreds of different clones. Some of which are from the wild, some from certain origins in Europe and others from a lab bench at UC Davis. Which is better? Eh. I could choose each answer and make a solid argument as to why they are the best choice for winemaking. As it pertains to MSix Wines, we are making our clonal selection based on the site and the characteristics we desire in our wine.

Many people have asked me, “Why Pinot from Napa? It’s too hot in Napa for Pinot.” On the whole, they are correct. But there are always exceptions to the rule. The vineyards site we are sourcing our fruit from has portions of the vineyard that are cooler than Carneros (a quintessential Pinot Noir appellation in Sonoma) and others that are hotter than Oakville (a notorious hot spot for great Cabernet Sauvignon on the Valley floor). The mild daytime temperatures coupled with the low temperatures during the night and resident fog blanket during the early morning hours, creates a perfect situation where Pinot Noir thrives.

On to the clonal selections! We will be producing wine from the Pommard and Dijon clonal groups. The cliff notes version of the clonal differences and attributes we are looking for for our wine: the Pommard clone is thought to have originated from town of Pommard which is in the Cote d’Or in Burgundy, France. It gives great structure to wines with solid acidity and tannins; this will be the backbone of our wine. The Dijon clonal family we have selected is from the town of Dijon, just north of Pommard and the Cote d’Or. These clonal selections give a fruit-driven palate with great expressiveness of the vineyard location and soil composition; this will be the depth and complexity of our wine. It is our belief that the utilization of both clonal selections will add to our Pinot Noir’s complexity, creating a wine with great structure as well as a great palate with depth and solid fruit characteristics.

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-MSix

No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.
Theodore Roosevelt

A Little Dirty, Slightly Bretty, Early 80’s Grand Cru Gem From Vosne-Romanée

Finally, Friday! Fun Fridays, part deux! Here are a slideshow of a couple funny pictures I saw this week.

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Also, on Fridays we are going to post everyday food that can pair really well with wines. If you read yesterday’s link to the article regarding critics and sommeliers, you know that you should eat what tastes good to you with whatever you drink. So, I guess these will be what I think taste well together! Obviously, I will start with Pinot Noir. A great friend of mine turned me onto a concept I can only describe as “Pinot and Pizza”. I have had some of my favorite reunion dinners, dates, I-don’t-want-to-cook nights with Pinot and Pizza. The kind of pizza you have depends on what you like – vegetarian, meat lover, etc – and the wine fits the same bill – fruit-bomb from Sonoma, a little dirty, slightly Bretty, early 80’s Grand Cru gem from Vosne-Romanée or you local house wine. My favorite is a meat-filled pizza, limited vegetables (especially green bell peppers – capsicums for my Southern Hemisphere friends) and “a little dirty, slightly Bretty, early 80’s Grand Cru gem from Vosne-Romanée”. I mean, a guy can dream, right?

Have a great weekend! Subscribe below. Send us emails with anything wine related you see throughout the weekend (or, just cool stuff!).

-MSix

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads.
Albert Camus

A Wine’s Aura: Who Creates It?

Friday Eve! Below are a few picture from early this morning up at Antica Napa Valley. We will be producing our wine at this amazing facility. A special thank you to Nate, winemaker at Antica, for allowing me to run around with my camera this morning! Seeing the fruit for the first time was very exciting. Véraison has just started! The countdown for harvest has officially started! This is going to be a great year for Pinot (weather permitting, fingers crossed)!

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I read a very intriguing article yesterday about wine and its complexity. Or should I say, perceived complexity. The article touches on the role of critics have on the aura created around wine and how wine writers amplify this aura. I think wine’s aura may have first been created by winery owners in order to justify charging what they charge for a bottle of wine, but everyone, me, you, winemakers, wine critics, all add to a wine’s aura now. Champagne aficionados are probably the biggest culprits of all, with their product being the sole wine style which stands for celebrations. Its something about those little bubbles and the **clink clink** of glasses that creates a slightly “holier than thou” feeling about champagne. But hey, I am not saying I don’t like feel slightly richer than I am when I open a bottle of La Grande Dame. Its the fun of wine and champagne: when we sip it, we can live in the moment, forget about our troubles and cherish the nectar of the gods and those whom we share it with.

-MSix

What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.
William Sokolin

I’m Over The Two Party System (of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay).

Happy Festivus of the week! Design and marketing meetings all week! Visiting the vineyard site early Thursday morning. We are hoping to have the framework for a final label with the next 10 days. Big steps!

I rarely like talking politics. It is often such a heated and personal topic of conversation that I abstain completely. But with the economy where it is and America’s new credit issue, politics is front page news daily. This past weekend, there was a very interesting debate on television about whether the two party system of Republicans and Democrats was still functional and a viable option to represent the greatest country in the world. Its goes without saying, but I automatically related this debate to wine and the struggle for “parties,” or varietals, other than your giants of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to become viable candidates as leaders in the U.S. wine industry.

The wine industry is such an empirical industry where things often are done today the same way as yesterday because that’s how they did it two days ago. Couple this with a few well-established grape varietals (as seen above in the 2010 California Grape Crush Report), a “voter’s,” or consumer’s, choice can be rather limited in certain circumstances. As a producer, unless you want to get into the cattle line and try to elbow your way into a flood market of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, you roll the dice of traveling another path. Pinot Noir is an up-and-coming varietal but it still only represents less than 4% of total wine produced in California. Being about 7% lower in production than Cabernet Sauvignon leaves a lot of room for growth but also a great deficit to overcome.

Our passion for Pinot Noir and our goal not to submit to the “norm” of the industry has made MSix Wines’ decision of which wine to make an easy one. But as we continue to expand and add few more varietals, we will need to evaluate our stance on where we want to enter the market with these new wine; whether we want to try to push our way in with an amazing Chardonnay or whether we want to utilize our position to create a wine that will satisfy those consumers looking for something new.

Honestly, I think consumers are starting to become bored of a two-partied wine system. What do you think? Vote and comment below!

 

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-MSix

We are all born originals – why is it so many of us die copies?
Edward Young

Véraison + Coattails

Happy Friday Eve! We are headed up to the vineyard site in Napa this morning to check on the progression of the fruit. Right now, we are sitting couple weeks late due to the late rain and this cool summer. Having a cool and consistent summer is not a bad thing for Pinot Noir. In fact, for our vineyard site up in Atlas Peak, it is a great happening! If the summer finishes out in this fashion, this could be a great year for Pinot Noir.

From what I hear on the vineyard front, we are still a little ways away from véraison. Véraison is the onset of ripening for the fruit. Visually, for our Pinot Noir, it is the point where the rock hard green berries begin soften, changing color from green to dark purple. Chemically, this is the point of the berries’ life that the acidity, in the form of malic acid, starts to break down and the hexoses (fructose, glucose) begin to accumulate in the grape. The color change is thought to be a breakdown of the chlorophyll and a shift towards anthocyanin productions. Anthocyanins are part of the color constituency in red grapes. And there is your grape chemistry lesson for the day!

The partners at MSix Wines recently tried a mock wine from the fruit we are purchasing. We knew going in that the wine was not a perfect representation of what we were going to produce, as it wasn’t produced in the same manor that we will craft our wine, but that it would be a nice outline of what was possible. I was personally very happy with the potential of the fruit. The wine itself didn’t knock my socks off but I could see the structure and potential with the right care. It still amazes me how different you can make two wines from the exact same grapes. My hopes for this fruit is to emphasize the ‘gravitas’ of the site while still accentuating the varietal components of Pinot Noir, furthermore allowing for the production techniques of native primary and secondary fermentations to influence the final product. As you can tell, it’s a balancing act: not allowing any one component of process to overshadow the rest; this allows for the layering of these components, creating the complexity we strive for in our Pinot Noir.

I had the opportunity to have a fantastic dinner last night with great friends in Napa. A topic of conversation was the outlandish pricing structure that has become Napa Valley and how these outrageous prices have created a “riding of coattails” effect with producer pumping out wine in a bulk fashion and charging artisan prices. I couldn’t help but not refer back to the QPR (quality price ratio) of the wines we experienced in the Cote d’Or. It seems like this
coattail effect is a cyclical occurrence where you have people who create a name of a certain location and build it up based on great wines, resulting in a flooding of the marketing with people looking to poach off the name and make a quick buck of the pioneers’ hard work. At which time, the passionate people in the industry look to recapture the glory that the region once possessed and by doing so, creating another coattail effect in it’s own right. I can’t say this only happens is the wine industry, but it’s very prevalent in our industry. Let me step back a bit here. These people are still putting in the work to make a quality product. I am just not sure their first priority is making a great wine. It’s not about passion. It’s about the bottom line.

Do you have a take on what I said? Please comment below or if you want a little more personal response, email us at info@msixwines.com.

If you missed the poll on why you buy wine, please check out yesterday’s post and let us know why YOU buy wine! Also, labels, labels, labels! Check out our label ideas from yesterday’s post. Like always, we always love your feedback! This site it to educate and create a space where we can discuss all aspects of wine! Pictures from the vineyard tomorrow as well as from the caves of where we will be producing our inaugural vintage of MSix Wine.

-M. Iaconis

I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality.
Barnett Newman