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)!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

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