"Isn't red table wine hot right now?" I ask.
"It is if you can charge enough for it," answers Williams, thinking of name-dropper wines like Ornellaia. That won't be the case here, but he makes the blend anyway -- two parts Cab to one Merlot.
"That I like," marvels Moore. "It makes a huge difference for both of them. Good acidity, great fruit, nice finish." Like the Syrah, the Cab worked to tone down the Merlot's acid, but it also lent a certain amount of tannin and structure and showed an intriguing note of mint.
"We can make 125 cases if you want to buy it," says Williams.
"What's the price?"
"One-twenty a case," says Gourvitz.
A moment later, the price is $96 a case — $8 a bottle — another 60 gallons of Cab have found their way into the blend, and the wine has a name: Fallbrook Winery's 3rd Corner Cuvée. Moore has a new house wine in the offing. After retail markup, "It'll be $9.95," says Moore. "It's a good drink." He turns to Williams. "You're a winemaker; you've got that crystal ball. Do the acids start toning down a little bit in six months?"
"I like where they are right now," says Williams. "But then, I like Chiantis. It'll soften up a little bit."
"Okay, that's done," says Gourvitz. "We're out of the Merlots."
Williams and Gourvitz start discussing what to do with the remaining Cab and Syrah and Petite Verdot. Moore takes a whiff of the Petite Verdot, which smells great (violets and maybe strawberries) but doesn't do much on the palate. "I wonder what a little bit of this would do," he says. "Let me see what it tastes like."
In go 50 gallons of Petite Verdot. "Wow," says Moore. "I like the front of it. That's a total Popsicle fruit bar; it's got dynamic fruit. It's very fleshy, almost Australian. It's even more quaffable. Just a simple drinking red. Can you somehow get me a sample bottle so I can taste my employees on it?"
"I'll bring it down next week sometime," says Gourvitz, and he and Williams turn back to the remaining wines.