One of the things that has always fascinated me about wine is how each contact point with it is an entirely new experience. When I am tasting through a specific lot of wine to determine which (if any) barrels are of great-enough quality to be included in Lineage not only is each barrel unique within the context of that lot, but also those barrels change dramatically from one tasting to the next. What seems like the right blend in April may not be quite good enough 6 months later.
It took me 18 months to be really satisfied with the inaugural vintage of Lineage - 2007. I thought I had the blend nailed...then found out after tasting a mock-up of it over the course of several days that one element was just a little too conspicuous. I did get it later, though.
I'm going through this wonderfully unnerving period of uncertainty again now. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been tasting through all of the 2008 vintage lots of Cabernet and Bordeaux varieties to finalize the next Lineage. I have been through the Cabs four times now since post-malolactic fermentation in March 2009 and have seen beautiful growth in the wines. (Recent tasting notes can be found here.)
I have gotten to the point in which I know what clones (and which percentages of each) will make up the base for Lineage. Now comes the layering of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Malbec on top of the Cabernet to create the sense of complexity and age-worthiness that this wine must have.
The wines change in barrel; they change in bottle; they change in the cellar; they change just standing around, and from the top of the glass to the bottom. Even though the change is constant (and mostly for the better!) there comes a time when I have to say..."This is it! This is Lineage!" 2008 is nearly there. (Become a fan of Lineage's Facebook Page for more insight)