"Thoughtfully-produced wines, which provoke thought"
Now, many years into my life in wine, I think what most appeals to me is the cultural connections I have made, working with talented growers, sharing experiences with like minded winemakers and globetrotting cellar hands.
Rather than moulding the fruit to a style, I’m interested in traditionally crafting the wine with as few inputs in the winery as possible, hand picking, wild yeasts, resting on lees and no filtration, wherever possible, seeing the wine mature in fine French oak, allowing the season and site to find its full expression.
I think about how the sun shone and the rain precipitated during the season. The influence of the growers and the many hands that tended, picked and sorted the grapes. The yeasts that occurred naturally and the signature of the coopers and their forests. Then those living bottles, being opened and shared at tables around the world. The connection the wine makes with thoughtfully prepared food, to create a memorable experience for someone, thousands of miles from where the grapes ripened.
Making wine is where philosophy and agriculture meet. There are hundreds of possible choices I can make in the winery to nurture nuance and complexity, but the wine is ultimately shaped by the site and the elements.
The palate is my greatest tool, complimented by passive techniques like temperature, exposure to air, time in contact with the grape skins and yeast lees, use of barrels for micro oxygenation and period of maturation. These tend to gently influence, rather than manipulate the wine (as industrially-made additives and interventions clumsily do), allowing its natural personality to be expressed.
I use traditional methods to tell an authentic story of grape, site and season. My individual, small batch winemaking is inspired by the artisan French heart-and-soul spirit. I have an aversion to industrial production (as Phillip White said, ‘If you can’t taste the dirt, it’s Coca-Cola’) and see beauty in diversity. I am interested in thoughtfully-producing wines that provoke thought. For wine nerds like me.