The Evolution of Experiment
Learnings gleaned through process
At first, our Experiment series was a vehicle for learning about our vineyards, winemaking and the unique interactions between the two. Each year we gleaned information that proved invaluable in guiding the evolution of OVID Napa Valley. But just as a writer may publish a collection of short stories that becomes as canonical as her novels, so Experiment has grown from the modest aspirations of its name to become something more – a repository of our creative process.
Today, we treat Experiment as a fundamental piece of OVID, as it documents the living, breathing experience of this place. Through this series, we explore red wines from our estate and red and white wines grown at a handful of select vineyards of California but vinified on our estate. Experiment bottlings from our estate are meant to pose a point of view – often a detail of the land that we want to isolate from the rest. During some vintages, this is a close examination of a single block from the estate, like the 2019 Red Experiment B5.9.
Sparse in resources, block 5 is uniquely planted and observed because of its volcanic soil. The block reacts dramatically to the human hand as it’s unable to store many nutrients or water. Without stored resources to rely on, the vines of block 5 show what we believe to be the direct result of our farming choices. Intervention is palpable and noticeable.
Much of what we do at the winery is insular. We farm, ferment and bottle all on the estate. With our focus on the land, the N (standing for neighbor) series is a unique chance to shine the light on winemaking technique. The series explores how the sites that we admire most outside of our own can be interpreted through the lens of the OVID estate.
Throughout the years, the N series has featured wines from some of the most renowned Napa vineyards. With access to grapes from these esteemed sites, our winemaking team takes the opportunity to vinify uniquely OVID interpretations of our neighbor’s fruit. In a sense, the N series may be our most imaginative wines each year. A collaboration between the best sites and our winemaking perspective. Our team learns these vineyards, tasting grapes throughout the growing season, and from there, showcases the best qualities of those grapes unbiased by past precedent of vinification traditions. One could interpret the N series as posing the question: What makes these great sites stand out above the rest?
By allowing the N series wines to have a sense of two distinct places at once, we’re creating palpable tension. Tension resulting from a wine so tethered to its great vineyard source and our slice of Pritchard Hill. The Experiment series wines are at one time a contemplation of land and man. Neither outweighing each other, both assisting one another. The purest form of perspective.