Is there such a thing as the “best” or the “greatest” when it comes to wine? Some believe the 1947 Cheval Blanc from the Right Bank of Bordeaux was the greatest red wine of all time. It was great not only because of the vintage but because the vineyard was planted with varieties that thrive in that region’s relatively cool climate with clay soil and it was crafted by vignerons who were perceptive enough to nurture an intensely elegant wine from a powerful vintage. However, some people felt the wine was an outlier in that it had higher alcohol and was more port-like than a typical Bordelaise wine of its time and didn’t deserve the acclaim. It came down to personal taste if the wine was perceived as great or not.
To apply a score in an attempt to anoint the best wine of the year is an absurd exercise. There are many great wines. What is one person’s favorite might be another’s swill. It is subjective based on personal taste. Physical limitations – like the amount of taste buds one has, the food being served, how many wines one has tasted, temperature and even bottle variation – can impact the impression one has of a wine.
Rarely is a wine reviewed objectively. How a wine was farmed and crafted should be considered as important as how the wine presents itself. Can a wine be truly great if its farming employs methods that intentionally harm the environment by using potentially toxic chemicals and tillage that releases carbon? A fine wine – especially a luxury wine – shouldn’t hurt your palate and it shouldn’t hurt the planet.
RSV has been farming with a regenerative model since the early 90’s… long before we had heard the term “regenerative” applied to farming. If all goes well, RSV will soon be 100% ROC or Regenerative Organic Certified. We feel it is our responsibility to farm with methods that heal an ailing earth. But it is not a sacrifice to farm this way; we think these methods help us grow and craft a better wine.
We also have learned to listen to what the land wants and not impose our will or force a fit, discovering that the Carneros has many micro-climates and that the upper Carneros region specifically has a lot of parallels with the “Right Bank” of Bordeaux. It is only natural that it can produce world class Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In our mind, the Vandal Vineyard is in the “Right Bank” of Napa; a micro-climate where Merlot and Cabernet Franc can thrive in its clay soil to produce elegantly powerful wines like Marcien, POV, Libration, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Marcien is RSV’s attempt to craft the most expressive, classically proportioned and age-worthy cuvée from our vineyards and the vintage. Is it the “greatest” wine of the vintage? That is for you to determine. If you consider this wine delicious, it is the greatest wine of the year.