Can something as simple as a glass of wine bring true happiness? That pure, unadulterated, deep-rooted sense of contentment and satisfaction? We’ve certainly all experienced the pleasure of wine — the first hint of fruit on the tongue, the lingering aroma, the warming of our soul. As a winemaker, I believe wine can also bring happiness at a deeper level.
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. The tragic fires here in Northern California have impacted us all — my neighbors, friends, family and the wine industry — and have made me reflect on the difference between pleasure and happiness.
Everyone here has been touched by the fires in some way, whether directly or indirectly. I have been committed to the safety of all around me first, but even in the face of tragedy, I will continue my craft and what I love so much: Making wine.
This has made me reflect on the difference between pleasure and happiness. Best-selling author Seth Godin said, “Pleasure is short-term, addictive and selfish. It’s taken, not given. It works on dopamine. Happiness is long-term, additive and generous. It’s giving, not taking. It works on serotonin.”
Pleasure is that momentary feeling that comes from external forces — for example, a gourmet meal or a decadent bite of chocolate. It can be fleeting, yet it is crucial to our overall well-being. Happiness, on the other hand, often requires sacrifice and discomfort. It builds upon itself until it takes hold. The more you feed it, the more it will give back. Happiness leads to a deep and complete satisfaction, and once rooted, it’s hard to shake.
But can wine bring this type of genuine happiness? For me, the answer is a resounding yes. I make wines that can age for years or even decades. Waiting for them to reach their peak requires a certain amount of self-discipline, but in the end, I am rewarded for my patience. At the same time, I also find myself opening my wines young — at release or a few months after. This brings me immediate pleasure.
Unlike pleasure or joy, happiness doesn’t waver. It lies just beneath the surface despite the external forces at play. Even in the wake of the fires, happiness persists. Winemaking continues. My fall release embodies both pleasure and happiness. I hope you find both, as I have.
I am truly excited to introduce these wines to you.
Cattleya Fall Release
The 2015 Pratt Vineyard Chardonnay is like a rush of dopamine, bringing immediate pleasure. The aromatics and perfect maturity of the grapes are unmistakable. “
Bottled in January, the 2015 Chardonnay Pratt Vineyard is only from clone 15 (which is an old Wente clone) and comes from just four rows in the vineyard. This is a very cool site and one of the last to be harvested. Native fermented and aged in 66 percent new French oak for 16 months, it has a sensational mix of richness and freshness, with lots of stone fruits, tangerine and green citrus aromas and flavors, beautiful concentration, high acidity and a great finish. Impressive, but unfortunately there’s only 65 cases available.”
— Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, 96 points
The 2015 Cattleya Donum Vineyard Pinot Noir is like a steady release of serotonin. It promises long-term happiness, but don’t get me wrong — it delivers pleasure if opened young.
“Coming from very old vines (37-year-old vines), the 2015 Pinot Noir Donum Vineyard offers lots of black cherry, framboise, dried violets and spice characteristics in its elegant, seamless, yet still voluptuous and layered profile. Perfumed and complex aromatically, it’s silky and refined on the palate, with present, yet polished tannin. This terrific 2015 has everything; complexity, volume, depth and length. Drink it anytime over the coming decade. There’s a scant 62 cases made.”
— Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com, 95 points
The 2015 Cattleya Soberanes Vineyard Syrah is pleasure and happiness in a glass! It is one of my favorites so far. The aromatics explode and it has a powerful mouthfeel — a perfect combination and something I love to see in my wines.
“The tiny production 2015 Syrah Soberanes Vineyard is a sensational Syrah that has complexity, elegance and richness. Upfront and perfumed aromatically, yet with serious intensity in its violets, flowers, blueberries, toasty oak and spice, it has an elegant, seamless style on the palate that’s already hard to resist. Reminding me of a silky Côte Rôtie from the southern end of the appellation, it needs 2-3 years of bottle age and will keep for a decade.”
As we approach the holiday season, it’s more important than ever to consider both pleasure and happiness. As recent events have shown, things can change in an instant. Hug your children, laugh with friends, savor life’s small pleasures and indulge in what makes you happy — one glass at a time.
Please order by November 14 if you wish to have your wine delivered by Thanksgiving. Otherwise, orders will be processed as we receive them. As as Cattleya member, you are also eligible for $1 shipping on minimum orders of 12 bottles.