QED stands for Quod Erat Demonstrandum – Latin for “which was to be demonstrated.” At the end of a mathematical proof, you typically write QED. It basically means “I’m done; I’ve proven what I set out to prove.”
When we started our winery, our family and friends would say “you guys know a lot about wines, but can you make world class wine?”
Well, the proof is in the bottle – QED.
We liked the name so much that, starting with the 2012 vintage, we extended QED into a line of wines. The packaging differentiators are the sub-names and the label colors. The original QED is now called QED Convergence. It has the original red and black label, and it continues to be a blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Viognier. We have a Cabernet Franc called QED Axiom of Choice and it has a yellow and black label. As we add more wines to the QED line, we will use different sub-names (all mathematics related like Reimann Hypothesis, taxicab numbers, Kaprekar’s constants) and different label colors to differentiate the wines.
Our first wine, the 2007 QED, received a 94-point rating from Harvey Steiman of Wine Spectator. It was a nice way to start. The 2007 didn’t have any Viognier because we couldn’t get access to any – what little was planted at the time was fully allocated. Since then, we coferment a little Viognier with Syrah. In the Northern Rhone commune of Cote Rotie, the winemakers have been cofermenting Syrah and Viognier for centuries. The Viognier imparts subtle floral notes (think plumeria, acacia, honeysuckle, violet) to the wine and gives the wine an aromatic lift. We only use about 3% Viognier – it’s all that is needed.
Though we say that our QED is a Rhone blend, this is not exactly correct. Yes, all the grape varieties are Rhone varieties, but you would be hard pressed to find a wine from the Rhone Valley with a blend that is mostly Syrah with minor percentages of Grenache, Mourvedre, and Viognier.
The Rhone Valley is divided into main subregions – the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone. The Northern Rhone has the following AOC designated wine regions – Cote-Rotie, Condrieu, Chateau-Grillet, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Cornas, Saint-Peray. Only Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne are allowed in the northern Rhone.
The Southern Rhone has 14 AOC designated wine regions, with each AOC having different laws about which wines are allowed to be produced. If you look at all the appellations and see which ones allow Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Viognier in one wine, you are left with Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Rhone Villages, Beaumes de Venise, Gigondas, and Lirac.
Beaumes de Venise is mainly known for its sweet wine. Some dry red is made there but, by regulations, Grenache has to account for a minimum of 50% of the blend. Of the roughly 3000 acres planted in Gigondas, 70% is planted to Grenache, with the majority of the rest being planted to Syrah and Mourvedre. There is also a smattering of Viognier planted. AOC regulations stipulate that the red wines from Gigondas contain a minimum 50% Grenache. Lirac grows mainly Grenache for red wine and Clairette and Bourboulenc for white wine. They are allowed to grow Syrah and Viognier, but not much is planted (Viognier is practically non-existent).
That leaves Cotes du Rhone and Cotes du Rhone Village. In both of these regions, Grenache is typically the primary grape. Though a little Viognier is allowed in Cotes du Rhone Villages, it is allowed only in its Rose and not the red wines. For Cotes du Rhone, Viognier is allowed in the red wines, though it is seldom used. Wines labeled Cotes du Rhone, because they are inexpensive, tend to be Grenache dominant (Grenache yields are typically higher than Syrah yields). So, while it is possible to get a QED type blend from Cotes du Rhone, it is extremely unlikely. Plus, if it was made, it would be not of the same quality as our wine.
This is all a way of saying that our QED is a Rhone blend that you would never find coming from the Rhone Valley.
For Winemaker notes, technical details, and reviews, please click on the following vintages: