Ahead of our October component tasting, the process of giving a coherent shape to a collection of hundreds of barrels of 2009 Bordeaux varieties started in earnest this week.
Even at this early stage, I get a sense that Merlot is going to play a much more important role in the final blend than it did in the first two vintages of Lineage. The 2009 vintage was just wonderful, the wine (from Block 9 at Ghielmetti Vineyard) has a great density of black cherry notes and really interesting tannin expression to it.
Befitting a world-class wine with structure and ageability, Cabernet Sauvignon will play the dominant role. Both Clone 30 from Ghielmetti and Clone 8 from the Folkendt Vineyard are showing really well at this time.
We picked Clone 30 twice in 2009, and the differences in density and flavor components are very noticeable in the two wines. The late-pick lot shows great tannin structure all the way through the wine, semi-sweet chocolate and espresso notes, and a wonderful fullness to the mid-palate.
The Folkendt wine (this wine has a great story in that this was the first vineyard we ever used for Steven Kent though our last harvest there, until the past year, was in 2001) is gigantic. Vaguely reminiscent of Clone 191 in its monolithic hugeness, this Cab is all black fruit and tannin...from entry to long finish.
The process of putting Lineage together starts with Cabernet. The First Step is to determine which Cabernets have the potential to make up the base of the wine. The Second Step is then to pick which specific barrels harmonize the most beautifully. Once that is done, the next steps involve layering in the best barrels of the other varieties. As of this week, I am through Step 2 and moving ahead on Step 3. Next week, I'll let you know where things stand after working through the many mock blends that lay ahead.