In the early 1960s, producer Phil Spector sought to make popular music sound more substantial, more layered, and more interesting. Whereas previous pop recordings might feature one guitar, one bass, one set of drums, and one vocalist, Spector’s approach, termed the “Wall of Sound”, built large ensembles of these instruments, each recorded separately and each played slightly differently. Additional instruments were added, and the individual tracks were then meticulously blended back together, played into an echo chamber, and then recorded. The technique
was very intricate, but the extra effort resulted in a dense, layered sound unlike
anything that came before it.
Our winemaking followed a similar path. We broke each variety of juice up into very small batches, typically using barrels or even half-barrels. To maximize the range of flavors available for blending, we intentionally varied the fermentation and aging parameters for each batch. Some batches were fermented cool, others warm. Some were cold-settled before fermentation, others were fermented “dirty”. Some were fermented and aged in new oak, some in neutral oak, some in stainless steel, and some in an earthenware amphora. Sometimes we relied upon native yeasts, while other times we used one of five cultured yeasts. We even fermented some lots on their skins (much as you would make a red wine). For 2018, we ended up with eight varieties and a total of 48 different wines to use in blending. It took a lot of effort and attention, but we think it resulted in wines that are more complex and interesting than they would have been had we used conventional methods.