balanceWhile elegance, poise, pace, and length are all words that define a beautiful wine for me, the most important aspect of beauty (and, by extension – great) wine is Balance.

A wine can have all the power and color and tannin in the world, but if it doesn’t “live” in your mouth; if it doesn’t have nuance and complexity; if it doesn’t age well; if it doesn’t seamlessly balance acid/tannin/wood/fruit; then it lacks the evanescent je ne sais quoi that underscores my sense of beauty and rightness. In a questionnaire from Ilona Thompson of, I noted this about balance:

Balance means that every part of the wine is inevitable…there are no superfluous edges or flavors or aromas. Each part of the wine—its organoleptics and structure—is in seamless service to a cohesive whole.

Balance is a moral imperative for great wine, and it is the one quality that is most important in determining how beautiful a wine is. It is also the aspect of Lineage | Livermore Valley that underscores all of our grape-growing and wine-making decisions. If a wine doesn’t start with an essential balance even as early as the beginning of fermentation, it won’t have it…ever.

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