The Power of the Maker

We had W2U in town this week- it is a half-week-long seminar for sommoliers and restaurateurs from around the country held in Walla Walla each year to explain to people what is really going on here.  It is a great program.

And yesterday morning, as part of the festivities, we opened up dozens of “merlots and unusual reds,” amongst them, malbecs.  I got to try some Beresan, Three Rivers, FTW and Seven Hills malbec all back to back and what occurred to me was that in as much as the trend is to focus on the terroir these days and to prove how much it creates the wine, I think the pendulum has swung too far and that at the end of the day the reality is that the winemakers are making.

Some of the Columbia Valley malbecs were more similar to Walla Walla malbec than other Walla Walla malbec… and so on.

I was chatting with another winemaker the other day who will remain nameless because he is a bit of a secretive fellow and I can appreciate that, and I mentioned that I love using the D254 yeast.  His eyes lit up and he said, “don’t tell anyone, but I love it too.”

He said it in the same way that Paula Dean would say “I love sugar” or the way Ina Garten would gush about olive oil, Tom Douglas about Asian herbs or Jamie Oliver would swoon about barbeques.

The reality is that there are thousands of tiny choices to make throughout the course of one wine’s life and some of us just like a lot of salt and pepper and some of us don’t.


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