Our family spends a lot of time thinking about what goes into our wines. From the planting of the vines all the way through to bottling, theres no end of decisions to be made which will ultimately result in the quality of the final product. Varietal and clonal selection, trellising technique, viticultural practices, fermentation vessel, yeast, skin contact time, barrel selection and aging regime, and on and on. Thats just the tip of the enological iceberg when it comes to putting wines together from a patch of dirt.
Spending all this time thinking about what goes into each wine requires us to spend time thinking about what comes out of each wine as well. After all, we're making wines that will be enjoyed by families around dinner tables, by couples under candlelight, and by someone who just wants to throw their feet up and wind down (wine down?) after a long day. To this end, we do our best to describe what we get out of the wines by writing tasting notes - including descriptions of textures, flavors, aromas, ageability predictions, and suggested food pairings. Winemakers tasting notes can't always sum up or predict what will come out of each bottle. I can tell you what went into each bottle, and what I get out of it. What you get out of your wine experience is all you, and there are no wrong answers.
Tonight we had a bottle of 2000 Jefferson Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the first blends I put together as head winemaker at Monticello. The 2000 Jefferson Cuvee was a special wine for me, being one of my first blends as the main dude in the cellar. In addition to having a great texture, deep berry flavors, nice tannin structure and just the right balance of oak - this wine had mojo. I made sure it was in there. We got a lot of snow today in Santa Fe, big fluffy flakes floating down from the sky like miniature parasols. With the snow falling outside, the fire crackling in the fireplace and a big pot of homemade chili on the stove, we had mojo in spades.
It got me thinking about how external factors can shape our internal experiences and vice versa. The wine tasted great tonight but I've been emotionally invested in it for nearly ten years. Plus, I'm sitting with my wife by the fireplace in the middle of a snowy evening, and the kids are behaving themselves. How could life and taste anything less than perfect right then? I've revisited this same wine recently at my tasting table in my office and it tasted great there as well, but I think it had a little extra mojo this evening. And the more I think about mojo, the more I think its in each of us. We just need to find that place within to let it free. And when we bottle up that mojo at the winery, you can be sure to find it when you pull that cork!
As the holiday season is here, I hope we can all find our place within and let our bottled up mojo fly free. Happy Holidays to everyone!