Hundred Acre Wraith 2016
Der Hundred Acre Wraith 2016 ist der vierte Wraith Jahrgang der 100 Parker Punkte bekommen hat, damit ist Wraith der erste und bisher einzige Wein der in jedem Jahrgang die 100 Punkte abgeräumt hat. Was soll man sagen über Jayson Woodbridge, den Macher von Hundred Acre? Jayson ist schlicht und ergreifend ein Verrückter! Im positivsten Sinne! Denn eines ist klar, Jayson ist wie ein Besessener in den Weinbergen unterwegs, um kontinuierlich noch bessere Weine zu produzieren. Unzählige 100 Parker Punkte Weine hat er bereits produziert, aber das reicht ihm nicht. Deshalb hat Jayson im Jahre 2013 erstmalig den neuen Wein Wraith gekeltert. Jayson über sein neuen Wein:
„I would like to tell you about myself, a Hundred Acre wine I have never released before, and the grueling 10-year path to obtain what I believe is, perfection.
This is about a crowning achievement for me which has brought great joy and torture in equal measure.
I hope and trust the sacrifices I have made will be worth it. At the end of the day only your happiness, the great people who have supported and believed in Hundred Acre and my quest, can be the sole measure of success or failure by which I will be judged. So here it goes…
Sometimes I am afraid. I know and trust absolutely my instinct and the gift God has given me for crafting wine. Yet with this wine, I asked myself was I going too far? Was I trying something so complex that it would crush me? I felt like a little boy ten years ago when I started working on WRAITH, then I decided that fear was not going to push me on this one, I had to try to follow my dream and create WRAITH. I had to just believe it would work.
Wine making seems simple on the surface yet here is a look at just some of the permutations:
- Search for a vineyard site. Look at several dozen or maybe a hundredproperties. Look at the soil, look at the hills, the angle of the sun, where cool air might funnel in from the coast, the heat, even the trees nearby (where the much drier climate or wetter trees just a mile can channel the weather into the valley a little differently). Then dig some holes, sample the soil, test for dozens of factors; density, minerals, stones, layers, changes, organic material, insects and on and on it goes. Is the site beautiful, does it speak to you? Is there anything or anyone ugly (of heart or mind) nearby? Does it call to you?
- Select the soil amendments. Do we mix organic compost into the soil? Should we use natural compounds to change the PH level slightly. What water system do we install? How much water do we need and how much do we have?
- Select the vines. Which varietal do you want (presumably you have one in mind from the start and are looking for ground ideal for this type)? Which rootstock to use (one that will protect against pests but also works best with the soil, water, varietal etc.)? 100 questions right there alone. The rootstock is grafted to the noble Vinefera, the varietal (such as Cabernet Sauvignon) which has many variations itself, in fact there are dozens of clones to select from and I have my favorites, and others I dislike as they produce fruit which is lead footed, or lacks depth and expression, color, density or does not produce enough phenolic compounds (amongst other things provides long term life and stability to the wine) or natural glycerin for mouth feel.
- Decide how the vines will be trained and what crop levels you want. This for most wineries is a budget issue, compromises must be made to keep costs in line. For me the budget is not a consideration, it’s all or nothing.
- I have spared no expense in making Hundred Acre and have come so close to going broke so many times that I shudder to think of what a crazy fool can do in the search for perfection.
Sometimes I just wanted to cry, I would agonize on how I was going to pay for everything, I ploughed ahead believing it would work…it did. Thank God and you our clients who have saved the day more times than I can count, by just loving the wine. Thank you.
Well, without going through the exhausting decisions about pick times, the cluster passes through the same block over and over as time marches on and the fruit ripens perfectly, the barrels, the forests in France, the way I toast them, the custom made French oak tanks that I designed myself, the 500L puncheons for fermentation. The sorting berry by berry and all the other decisions I make. Just to get to the point where each block and pass, from each different Hundred Acre vineyard is fermented, pressed and set down in barrels and choosing for those blocks alone. I must tell you what happens next…
The wine, now in barrels, sleeps. Time slows down and the wine slowly develops or dreams.
Molecules combine and a slow-moving mechanism, much like a Swiss hand built watch without the predictability, starts moving in a symphony of aromatics and taste creation. The vintage is locked into these movements and keeps developing at a glacial pace for decades past when I may be around.
The final slowest of slow movements is in the bottle properly stored. The wine waits for you, it becomes your decision when you want to open that miniature time machine and take a ride back to that year, that sunshine, rain, wind and the flavors that are just for that time alone. Once the bottle is open, time speeds up to that current day and the wine starts to open and open and open…patience is rewarded, you have waited for this time or maybe it’s time for those bottles you set aside for your daughter’s wedding in the very year she was born.
WRAITH is a trinity of Hundred Acre’s three single vineyard wines. It is a selection of barrels set aside just for WRAITH from all the barrels waiting to be blended someday into my single vineyard wines from Kayli Morgan or ARK or Few and Far Between. All very different and incredibly unique by themselves.
I taste and smell every single barrel, a very few are set aside for extreme long term aging for DEEP TIME and some that just seem perfect together are set aside in a separate part ofHundred Acre’s – RING WINERY deep underground for WRAITH.
Over the years starting 10 years ago I tried many times to create WRAITH doing this with ARK and Kayli Morgan alone. Every time the wine was different, unique from the two vineyards alone but it still added up to 1+1 = 2 and this was not good enough, it was great and unique but just equal not a magical leap. I failed again and again. I hated myself, what was I missing? Was the task to get the quantum leap just not possible. I drank too much, I ate too much, I worried, my faith in creating WRAITH was being tested. Damn I have a huge bloody ego but right then I was being beaten hard and I couldn’t get out of the corner, the ego was badly bruised.
Then a new wonderful thing happened…let’s make the equation more complex, it was 2013 an incredible vintage by anyone’s measure but more importantly, mine.
Not until 2013 did I consider including the micro production from Few and Far Between yet it came to me like a slap in the face. Another entirely different spectrum of barrels to work with? Double or triple the complexity of combing all those subtle nuances of aromatics and taste. “Crazed or right?” I asked myself.
FUCK IT. I HAD TO TRY ONE LAST TIME.
Barrels were selected again now from all three vineyards, the combination in my mind made perfect sense. I became very calm, I asked myself “You got this? Do we have powerful magic here? Can you change the game here?” Yes, I said and remembered when;FATE turned to the Warrior and said “You will not survive the storm,” the warrior turned to FATE and said “I am the Storm.”
I felt the weight of the vineyards bearing down upon me as if you were taking cubs from a lioness for a special task, one which was mysterious and had happened before without a champion. This time I knew balls to bones it was righter than rain. I was so calm, so relaxed, I felt I could walk through a hail of bullets each lethal round bending around me, untouched, not a bloody scratch.
The 2013 barrels were set aside and they waited for almost 3 years. I then started theWRAITH blending…it was child’s play, everything fell together like they were made for each other. A seamless perfect equation where 1+1+1 = 10.
Wine is not math but that was the quantum leap I was hoping for. It came like the wind at your back in a race, right place right time, meant to be, it saved me and I felt free and the little boy was a man again running strong and sure. I am so happy and WRAITH, an ancient creature that balances the scales of justice, rebalanced me in the most difficult task I have ever faced.
There is of course more to the WRAITH and this will unfold in time. For now, this is my greatest wine making achievement and may not be there every year but I will try my very best, somehow I just feel the rightness will now draw the pieces to me and together.
Thank you for tolerating the long read and supporting my handcrafted wine.“
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