Constantly learning new things, being engaged, is another one of our life philosophies. In 2011, I was reading The Complete Essays of Montaigne by Michel de Montaigne, translated by Donald M. Frame. Michel de Montaigne was a 16th century essayist and philosopher. His father, at one time, was also the mayor of Bordeaux. In early 2011, we were in need of a name for a new wine – a single-vineyard Syrah. As we were struggling for a name, I thought of Billy Jack, BJ, Stanbery. BJ is a friend of Billo’s from Austin, TX. Though we don’t know each other well, I also consider him a friend. In his emails, his email signature would say “Doctrina Perpetua” below his name. Doctrina Perpetua means perpetual learning. I thought this was a great name for our wine. We would name the wine Doctrina Perpetua and honor a different philosopher every year. So the first vintage, was called Doctrina Perpetua “Montaigne”. In subsequent vintages we celebrated the philosophers Baruch Spinoza, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Simone du Beavoir.
The wine is a single-vineyard Syrah from Bacchus Vineyard. The Syrah comes from Block 5a and was planted in 1992 with the Joseph Phelps clone.
Please note that there was no Doctrina Perpetua made in 2010. In 2010, almost all of the Syrah in Block 5a was infected with Botrytis Cinera. When this fungus, also known as Noble Rot, infects white wine grapes, the result can be glorious, as in the case of Sauternes. But, when it infects red wine grapes, it is detrimental, giving an unwanted “tinny” taste to the wine. In 2010, we had no choice but to discard almost 95% of the fruit. What little was left, we either blended in other wine or sold off as bulk wine.
For Winemaker notes, technical details, and reviews, please click on the vintages below.
2009 – The label for the inaugural release of Doctrina Perpetua honors Michel de Montaigne. This philosopher is widely regarded as the first Western essayist. Well known for his work “Essais”, de Montaigne tries to analyze himself and man in complete honesty. He asks the “Que sais-je?” (What do I know) and uses his skepticism to question empirical data.
2011 – Around the time we bottling our 2011, I was discussing Baruch Spinoza with my uncle. Well, not remembering much of his philosophy, I was doing more listening than discussing.
Baruch Spinoza is a towering figure, widely regarded as one of the best rationalists of his time. He is most famous for his attempts to replace religion in his book “Ethica”. Spinoza tries to convince the world that God is not an individual being. Rather, God is within nature, reasoning, and logic.
2012 – This vintage honors Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau is most known for his influence on the Enlightenment in Europe and on the French Revolution. Though most known for his political philosophy, he was also interested in he was also interested in the philosophy of education and had developed his own pedagogy. In his Discours Sur Les Sciences Et Les Arts , he attacked scientific progress as contributing to the corruption of our morality. In the debate between nature vs. society, he is ensconced on the side of nature.
2013 – The latest vintage honors Simone de Beauvoir. She was an existentialist philosopher who had a major influence on feminism. She is most famous for her novel The Second Sex. This seminal book rejects the notion of femininity. She states “On ne naît pas femme : on le deviant” (One is not born, but rather becomes, woman). In other words, man is born but a woman is born in relation to man. In order to be free, women must reject these societal constructs of what it means to be a woman and its notions of femininity, because they are a deviation of what it means to be a man.