The Art of Listening
Vines ripen their grapes on their own ever-changing schedule. Each day is different. The wind never blows the same way twice. Every vine must constantly adapt to what it is given.
Nico has spent his career observing the never-repeating signals of ripeness and growth. He listens and a plan starts to form. Harvest date is never decided until the day the message is clear.
"The vines tell me when the grapes are ready to pick. You just need to know how to listen to the signals. I go to the vineyards I work with many times in the weeks before picking day. And one day, you just know. It's today... or tomorrow. Don't waste a moment."
“For 27 years I was at a winery where the grapes seldom matched up to the owner's ambition. I had to go out among the specialist growers and find my way to the best grapes. It's the trial and error way. But little by little you learn. If you are listening, the answers come to you.
And the best I found were never enough. Because the greatest wines have more than one set of flavours. I had to search high and low for contrasting flavours, the ones that lift each other to a new level.
"The plan always starts in the vineyard. Are these grapes going to give us a wine that rewards long maturation? Or a wine that suits tonight's plate of food? After that, it's a matter of fermentation and flavour extraction.
The reds go into barrel as soon as possible. They'll stay there for 18 to 20 months. The moment I see they are ready, they go into bottle. And that's where they'll stay for another 18 months. It's important to me that they are fully developed when they are released, but still young and fresh."