A brief update on my day in the life of a young "winery."
I say it in quotes because I don't have my own facility but rather have custom crushed my first vintage at two facilities, one where I live and one a half hour away. After going over the latest lab results that showed that 3 of my batches have finished their malo-lactic fermentation and the last one (it was un-inoculated and therefore a "wild" or native ML bacteria) is very close to done, I decided to see what I've got and if any future blending might make the wines better than they are separately.
There's only 3 distinct batches at this point because I already blended a tiny batch of Petit Sirah I fermented into my Merlot. It helped balance both those lots as the Merlot was a bit overly acidic and soft on tannin and the Petit lacking acidity but big in tannin. My top wine at this point too is already a blend. It's 2/3 Cabernet Sauvignon from Givat Yeshayao and 1/3 Merlot from Har Bracha. The 3rd wine, the last harvested and part of it still finishing ML, is a single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Shiloh.
What I found out was:
1) The blend of all my wines together, while robust and rich, isn't as good as they are as three separate wines because they lose identity and finesse.
2) While the Cab/Merlot blend is terrific (it's big with a decidedly herbal nose and a long, long finish), it's even better when I blend it 50/50 with the single vineyard Shiloh Cab that's fruitier, more acidic, and less herbal. That's great, because it means I'll have 8-10 barrels (pending how close to exactly 50/50 I make it) of my best blended Bordeaux Red, and I've purchased exactly 10 ultra premium quality French oak barrels: 5 each from 2 excellent coopers for comparison's sake, and perhaps additional complexity.
3) The remaining two wines, the Merlot with a bit of PS and the pure single vineyard Cab, remain very good - excellent and quite distinct from the blend and each other in their own right.
4) My mission statement for my fledgling winery is "Only the Best". After years of compromising on how I made my wines here, I decided that my own stamp now would be "without compromise." I'd already built an excellent reputation here as one of the country's best winemakers. "Good" wines from my first vintage just wouldn't cut it.
5) At this point in time, in this snapshot of my 2012 wines, we are well on the way.