Creative winemakers everywhere bring out the best of flavour with their skilful blends.
In Bordeaux and Cotes du Rhone, winemakers have been blending for centuries to provide balance, texture, mouth feel, aromatic appeal and longevity.
In Bordeaux, different grape varieties are planted on vineyards for climatic and terroir reasons. On the left bank of the Gironde, the soil contains a lot of pebbles that give off heat accumulated during the day and this helps to ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, the “leading” variety there.
On the right bank the soil contains more clay and which is more suitable for the early ripening, fruity, and “soft: Merlot. Here most wines contain large propotio0ns of merlot, a little Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Today, as in the past, it’s blending that is responsible for the winemaker’s craft to shine.
In Burgundy and Loire valley winemakers blend the wines of different vineyard blocks, as each block yields a somewhat different tasting fruit.
All blending shares a common the arc: to make wine that surpasses the sum of its components.
can expand the flavour spectrum, increase complexity, ass texture and depth, soften or increase tannin cotenant. And result in unique taste combination in the finished wine.
In Bordeaux, for red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec (in very little proportions) are used. For white wines, Sauvingon Blanc, Semilllon and Muscadet.
Southern Rhone winemakers are allowed to blend up to 13 different varieties to achieve an infinite number of flavours, and textures, colours and aromatic nuances. Here Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre (aka Monastrell in Spain where the variety originates) dominate in red wines, whereas for whites Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Clairette are preferred. Viognier and Muscat d’Alexandrie stand alone.
In Veneto, the prime red grape variety is Corvina (cherry aroma), followed by Rondinella and Molinara (for freshness and acidity). Corvinone, a close relative of Corvina, also finds its way into some blends.
White wine such as Soave contains Graganega and Trebbiano di Soave are blended for aroma a mouth feel.
In South Africa, winemakers enjoy more freedom in blending than their brethren in Europe. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with Syrah and Grenache with a little Pinotage (cross of Cinsault and Pinot Noir). The results can be and often are outstanding.
In Australia, winemakers often blend (Syrah (here called Shiraz) with Cabernet Sauvignon to provide “backbone” to the wine, and often Shiraz, Grenache, and Mourvedre are blended successfully.
In the U.S.A, California winemakers blend to obtain best possible, and textural profiles, often combining Cabernet Sauvignon with merlot, and occasionally Cabernet Franc. Petite Verdot and Malbec are seldom incorporated in such blends that are called Meritage.
In Canada, blending plays an important role especially for red wine also called Meritage. Here, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot are the trifecta of varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon provides tannic structure, Merlot mid-palate depth and fruit core, and Cabernet Franc “spice”.
In Argentina, Malbec plays a very important role in red wine. Here, winemakers blend Malbec grown at different altitudes to achieve desirable aromatic balance and flavour complexity,
It has been proved that through the use of techniques and rigorous experimentation, that a judicious and skilful wine blend smells superior to any of its components.