Viticulture, a La Muse
According to Robert Muse, Muse Vineyards’ viticultural philosophy and practice is that of minimalist agriculture. “We aim for as few sprays as possible. Our commitment is to employing only the latest generation of low-impact materials and taking great care when and how we use them.”
“When grapes are allowed to speak for themselves,” Robert notes, “they speak of the place where they were grown. They speak of the climate. They even reveal things about how the vines were treated. But, just as many abused life forms become mute, you can silence vines through adulteration of their fruit. There are catalogs with hundreds of things to add to a wine. Resist the impulse.”
Muse chooses to make its Chardonnay using the classic Burgundy method of fermentation in oak barrels. This adds to the complexity of the wine. “But,” Robert explains, “there still remains a fine line between winemakers pursuing their own visions and then trying to pour the results down the throats of consumers and being respectful of other’s preferences. Honestly, nobody’s right. Nobody’s wrong. As long as a wine’s cleanly made from grapes grown with integrity, drink what you like.”
“Our choice to follow time-honored wine making methods and models does not affect the price we charge for our wines. The price is a reflection of their quality.” Choosing to make a classic Chardonnay and Roussanne, rather than mass-produced wines is expensive. (An oak barrel costs more than $1,000 and holds three hundred bottles of wine.)
“We also grow grapes with low yields. Industrial wine production can produce ten tons per acre, whereas our Chardonnay vines produce less than a third of that. Our pruning, hedging and thinning are all done by hand. So, Muse wines will never price-compete with a $10 bottle of mechanically-farmed Chardonnay from a one-thousand-acre vineyard and tank-farmed into wine in something resembling an oil refinery. But on a price-to-value ratio, our wines are very fairly priced.”
- Among the white wines currently produced at Muse are Chardonnay, Thalia (a blend of Rhone varietals: Roussanne Marsanne and Viognier), and Erato (a Chardonnay blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat).
- Our signature red wine – Clio – is a blend of the five Bordeaux varietals, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The proportions vary according to the year. We also produce single varietals of several other vinifera varieties.