In the wine world, we are often forced to describe a taste in excruciating detail. It’s fruity, oaky, hints of chocolate–you know the drill–you are intimidated by fear of having detected tastes that no one else has mentioned. or, maybe you just like it for what it is, a refreshing bouquet of earth tones. Oops, we’ve done it again.
Now there is a newer approach, one just starting to receive some attention, but clearly a forward-thinking approach to enjoying and discussing wine. it happened almost without a plan. In an otherwise special Spring Barrel Tasting of Octagon 2004, 2005, and 2006 last month at Barboursville Vineyard, they stressed their philosophy: Not putting words on a guest’s palate.
The concept itself is beautiful, and the opportunities it creates are almost endless. It still recognizes the importance of taste and flavor but takes the experience to a higher, more personal, level in letting taste evolve, much as an orchestra comes together with each finely-tuned instrument.
They explain this in the creation and development of Octagon which starts with their Merlot, what they call a wine with a natural reservoir of fruit extract, pleasing acid balance, and mildly assertive tannins: The perfect combination to begin a blending.
They then add Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot and when they all work in accord, it is a year that will honor the grape with an Octagon vintage. They say that Octagon comes together, as in coming together from the bounty of its contributing parts. It is a wine that evolves with food pairings and speaks to the height of the Estate.
As Barboursville has tried to create a new language of wine interpretation that corresponds to their pride vintages as seen in Octagon years, they hope that this new language will be music to one’s ear, something that they can “taste, hear, see, feel, and trust.”
Still too complicated an explanation? The easy answer is to try your own bottle of Octagon and let it evolve naturally.