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.

About Steven Kent Mirassou

6th generation winemaker in the Livermore Valley, writer, lover of beauty and joy.
This entry was posted in Winemaking: Philosophy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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