Lillian Syrah Scissor Series
So many things are at play in a whole-cluster fermentation that differentiates it from a fermentation that is stemless. They’re not qualitative differences; one is not better than the other…they’re just different and should be used in different circumstances to achieve different effects. One of the main distinctions is that each grape, still attached to the rachis by a bit of stem (the pedicel) is completely unbroken (once you pull the grape off the stem, there is a little hole where the stem once was). A singular, anaerobic fermentation takes place within each berry and this gives rise to a range of aromatics and a textural signature that is wholly distinct. One can never, however, clearly see the impact of these tiny, intraberry ferments because there is an aromatic overlay from the inclusion of the stems themselves that is far more powerful; it obfuscates much that lies beneath. By snipping the grapes from the rachi but leaving the berries intact, we can, in a sense, clean the fresco; brushing away all that lays on top, allowing the full expression of those berry-sized fermentations to shine through.
This wine, bottled only in magnum, is the magnificent result of 255 hours of meticulous scissor-craft. We filled one vat with 950 pounds of berries and produced one single barrel.
This is a wine that countless people have told me was impossible; impossible to do, impossible to repeat, impossible to scale, impossible to see. This wine, the third that we’ve made and the first we’ve bottled on its own, is the vinous proof that it’s not only possible but imperative. I love this process and this wine, endlessly. I will make wine in exactly this way until I grow so old my fingers are no longer able to grip the scissors. This wine is love.