A letter from our winemaker...
"The wine cellar at winter.
It’s easy to understand when the busy season is at a winery. The chaos of harvest is an accepted exhaustion that those who enter into this business take in stride. At the mercy of nature, we don’t always choose the days or hours required to be present in the winery, but the work is well understood. Taste, pick, sort the fruit and guide through fermentation before being tucked away. While logistically challenging and physically taxing, the harvest period is about endurance and attrition. There are certain wavelengths you need to tune in to for the various stages of wine production. The harvest season involves nothing but watching weather patterns, assessing balance of ripeness within the fruit and tasting fermentations for health and vitality. There is very little hedonistic pleasure in tasting wines in progression, more of an assessment meant to spur questions rather than answers. The matrix of a wine is incredibly complex and as fermentation progresses, your options become focused though never definite. We put these young wines to rest with hopes and ambition, but buried within their structure is a hidden path that reveals itself to us through time and age.
In the wine cellar at winter, we practice patience. Not in the sense of letting time pass and witnessing what happens, but more of an introspective behaviour of being open to possibility. I find it equal parts exciting and terrifying to revisit maturing wines that you’ve had to ignore during the care of the new harvest. But it is here that we get to change the wavelength to allow enjoyment to creep in and inspire new possibilities. By not forcing the wines into a box of preconceived notions of style and identity, they evolve on their own into unique expressions that constantly surprise us. We’re reminded of events and feelings from where these wines were in their infancy and it is humbling to see how they’ve grown. Each barrel has its own identity and personality, and it is here where we get to play.
In my opinion, blending wines after aging is where the winemaker is allowed the most creativity and artistic expression. When we taste wine with a critical eye, but enjoyment in mind, we focus on the unique emotions they illicit in us. This feeling brings up memories, connects synapses that lead you to new flavour experiences or simply make you think about what you are tasting. When this feeling is applied across various other mediums, it can be compared to a musical chord or a splash of colour on a canvas that, when woven together, create something much more complex and moving. If each barrel creates a feeling, then the goal of blending is to craft an emotion. Our vision at Rosewood is to make this emotion a uniquely personal experience. Depending on your mood or comfort level, it can be a halting and thoughtful moment, or a fleeting thought of “well now, that’s yum”.
Once these decisions are made, the lengthy task of removing these wines from storage begins. The barrels are carefully emptied and the full piece comes together. One of the greatest moments in the life of these young wines is when they are allowed to breathe out of barrel, assembling in tank and opening a window into the future. Soaking up that oxygen that they have been deprived of for so long allows the chords of aroma and flavour to light up and show us where that wine will develop in bottle. Once the tank is sealed however, that wine closes up. The wine turns inward in the absence of oxygen, building strength to withstand the upcoming bottling process.
I’ve yet to meet a winemaker who genuinely enjoys bottling. Not only is it a logistical nightmare of arranging all of the packaging materials and storage, but there is an anxious finality to the entire process. Years of work for each of these wines culminate in an aggressive capture into single serving vessels, then sent out for the world to interpret on their own. There are no more opportunities to tune these emotions or expressions. We can only attempt to peak the consumer interest through marketing and packaging, hoping they will take it home to be enjoyed at an appropriate time and our messages are understood.
While that might seem a little intense, I’ve learned a beautiful side to this industry that’s helped me, well, “take it easy”. Rather than obsess about perfecting these wines and imposing a sense of ego on them, the most enjoyment from this process comes from the unique experience that each bottle provides a consumer. What these wines mean to every person who opens a bottle is a beautiful and singular expression. They can be casually enjoyed on a Tuesday, opened on a momentous occasion or blindly poured alongside other weird and wonderful wines for the passionate tasters looking to expand their knowledge. Ultimately, it is out of my hands once it’s in the bottle and it took me a few years to be ok with that. My impact on that wine’s story has finished, but that bottle’s story continues in the hands and cellars of all those interested enough to support us.
We hope you enjoy these wines and encourage you to share the continuation of their stories with us.
- March 21, 2022