Shhhh … Listen. All he said was “I’m buying 300 bottles for my grandchildren and if no one else buys it then I’ll keep more” … hook, line, and sinker ... I was hooked. When the owner of a winery (who also happens to be the wine maker) makes a statement like that, well, you just shut up, listen, and pay closer attention to the wine he’s talking about. Even if what he is saying flies directly in the face of what the critics said about the vintage you listen to the wine maker.
He was talking about the 2014 vintage in Tuscany, specifically his little valley in the Chianti zone, and the wine that he made. On the surface the 2014 vintage was a wild ride of ups and downs: rain, hail, cold, frost, bugs … it all happened. You name it and it happened, sometimes twice!, but for those that persevered; the wines that they made might be some of the quietest and best wines they ever made. So when the wine maker declares that he’s buying 25 cases of his own wine to cellar (for his grandkids no less) it surprised me. I got over the surprise of his statement and sunk my nose deeper into the glass - I found a wine that was delicate, austere, and very quiet but the longer I smelled and tasted the wine the more that I forgot how the critics lambasted the vintage and the more that I listened to why the wine maker was saying what he did. The wine was awesome.
It pays off to listen. I had done my homework and read about 10 different vintage reports for Tuscany and Chianti before walking into the winery and thought I knew exactly what was coming. When buying wine sometimes you have to forget what everyone else is saying and just get down to the wine. When playing poker there is a nearly universal rule that the Cards Speak, that is, regardless what you think you have or regardless of what the bluff was, in the end the only thing that matters are the cards on the table. Same thing for wine … let the wine speak and disregard everything else. Or in this case, just listen wine maker.
Later that night at dinner I asked him what his favorite vintage he ever worked was (he’d been making wine since 1981) … with a rye smile he said; “2014”.