” … MacPhail commented that while blending is strongly associated with practices in the winery, it in fact “starts with the vineyards,” as he maps out his Pinot Noir blend according to specific vineyard plots, aware of the style of wine they are likely to produce.

“For me, Pinot Noir is all about the layers,” he said, adding that wines from this grape should be “stimulating” and “evoke emotion” which, to achieve, he said require him to blend from a range of sites.

To build in these “layers”, he chooses Pinot Noir from cooler parts of the Russian River Valley, such as the Green Valley, to bring in “brighter red fruits” as well as from warmer sites for richer, more textural characteristics.

Adding further to his “palette” of “different flavours and aromas are different clonal selections of Pinot Noir within the same vineyard”, as well as a range of picking times for varying ripeness levels.

Summing up, he said that there was a “thought process” concerning the desired characteristics for the final wine that was connected to the plants in the ground. “People think that blending begins with 100 glasses round a table, and then adding a bit of this and that, but it starts with the vineyard selection,” he stated.

He also made it clear that his approach was to “go into this with a goal, not a style, to make the best wine that echoes the variety – so, if I’m doing Pinot Noir, then it should scream Pinot Noir – and be food-friendly and balanced.”” ~ , The Drinks Business


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