Travel with a loud orchestra of attention, his projects forward in unusually pronounced and rhetorical, ontological frames. From the blending trials in his studio, lab, place where my friend of years gathers to see what character is truly the most expressive and punctuated assembly. After tasting both the ’15 Devil Proof Malbec and the Aperture Right Bank Blend, it’s clear that blending is more than blending in this studio. It’s conversation… with different lots and personalities, personifications and blocks. Blending is not blending, but listening, to the orchestra in front of him, then conducting accordingly. Well, and a synchrony of letting the lots steer him. This is more than winemaking, or letting “terroir” speak. It’s an intersection of intention and urgencies.
Like his father Andy with the camera, Jesse delivers images to us, with how the bottled entity goes composed. Atmosphere and language, in the bottles “on the bench”, as winemakers will say. But, once more, this is more. And we taste more in the bottles, not just some colossal Bordeaux-intentioned growl or roar, but something more illustrative and euphonious. Each note is a paragraph, each sip a standalone recital… all bottles, their own show. When sipping the blend last night, I thought of the act of blending, selecting lots. Of course, a writer, I could never know all the intricacies and belaboring specificities of such an act. I have made a couple wines, and been in a few trials, but nothing that engendered something like my last night glass, or when I enjoyed the Malbec in a hotel room listening to Miles and staring out at the Sonoma County stages, streets.
Blending… putting something together. Composition, a statement, a thesis, divulging a methodology, and what I taste isn’t just innovation, but defiance, astute alignment with intentions all— Bordeaux, California Cabernet, his oenological way, what consumers want. He’s blending worlds, desired, time capsules. Being an English Instructor, or Professor, whatever you want to call me, the instructional qualities of these bottles enrich the sipper and can only be wildly recognized and accepted, teach about wine’s prime aim, the apex of wine’s physiology. I’m taught to not analyze, certainly don’t overanalyze as so many in wine’s proximity do. But, enjoy, think, let go, enjoy the passion decided by wine. I can sense not only elevated interest in Katz’s disseminations, but a need to produce wine the way he does, to translate Bordeaux and Sonoma County as he does. A wine pursuer won’t find this anywhere else. Concurrence with the labor, the fanatical keenness that materializes in that studio, in front of the glasses that are to be met, by him and then us.
Before the wine’s poured, I wonder what he’s measuring internally… what blend does he hope will be presented, what does he want to draw? When with a glass, you stroll in this. You hear his thoughts… the thoughts and notes of the vineyards from which he sources. Each bottle on the bench, a section in the symphony. Something’s to be proclaimed, played, learned from. You can only welcome the multi-octave’d expedition of all the projects stemming from that table, in that studio, with the preeminent conductor.
***To learn more about the wines of Jesse Katz, visit devilproofvineyards.com and aperture-cellars.com. To book a tasting, either post your information below, or call 707-200-7891.