Ok, before you call me a complete, flaming hypocrite…hear me out.
Making wine is a subtle art – and Jules is brilliant at it. No formal training, she has the perfect combination of hard work, manic attention to detail, very acute senses of taste and smell and a creative imagination for flavors and aromas. She exerts painstaking effort over many years to craft each beautiful wine. And sometimes, it gets sent to a competition. The competition then takes that wine, sticks it in a room with hundreds of other wines and one guy (or even several) sits in the dark tasting wine after wine after wine. Somewhere in the middle of that parade passes Jules’ beautiful wine – preceded by hundreds and followed by hundreds more. It takes over three years to create a wine and just five minutes to taste it and pass judgement on it. And it is that judgement that is the final word on its quality and value. I understand that this is the nature of the art critic – in whatever medium – that is, to pass subjective judgement on a work of art. But I think it sucks. We taste our wines repeatedly all through the process and, like any great art, we make it for ourselves. And for you. And so long as we like it and, most importantly, so long as YOU like it, that is really all that matters.
That said, we live in a society that gives voice and credence to critics and puts value in their opinions. Forget that most judges won’t taste in the blind for fear that they might look silly. Forget that it is sometimes hard to tell white from red with your eyes closed (try it sometime…). Forget that most critics want to know where a wine is from before they pass judgement – arguing that it helps in the understanding of the wine to know if it is a “proper” expression of a “terroir”- which also makes it hard for wines from unknown regions to break through. Forget all that. We have sent wines to competitions over the years, with wildly mixed results – even for the same wine. Yes, we have won a mess of medals (which, ironically, is another problem – they often dilute their criticism by giving everyone some kind of prize – like field day in middle school). But on the other hand, we have had one competition give a wine a gold medal while another called the exact same wine “pond scum.” Yes, this actually happened.
So, like everything else, we find the middle path. We send our wines to a precious few competitions, ones that we have found stand out from the rest. One of those few is the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competition out in California, reputed to be one of the largest and most prestigious in the world. And there we continue to win awards. We just heard this week that we were awarded the following:
- Gaia 2016, our beautiful red blend – GOLD MEDAL
- The White Bottle 2018, our oak aged Chardonnay – SILVER MEDAL
- Petit Verdot – Volume One – SILVER MEDAL
- Vintage Ruby 2017 – our very first port-style wine – BRONZE MEDAL
They are the only wines we sent and they stood up to the best in the world. Pretty cool. But take it for what it is worth. And, just for the record, I still think it is all bulls**t.