Bordeaux wines are always blended (for reds cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, and malbec and for whites sauvignon blanc, semillon and muscadet).
The art of blending is necessity as some varieties ripen better in one season than others, and has evolved over centuries due to terroir.
On the Left Bank the soil contains pebbles that reflect the accumulate heat overnight and ripen cabernet sauvignon, hence in the medoc cabernet sauvignon become the backbone of the blend. On the Right Bank (St. Semilion, Pomerol, Blaye etc) the soil is clayey, and merlot ripens quickly and exudes more fruit.
All Bordeaux estates are planted in different proportions, of base varieties, and harvested and vinified separately, and then blended according to the quality and characteristics of each variety.
Left over wines make up the second, sometimes even the third label of the estate.
Osoyoos Larose follows the same Bordeaux practices.
Pascal Madevon, who has been the winemaker and manager of the estate since its creation 2002 visits GTA (Greater Toronto Area) every year and conducts tastings of the estates wines.
This year, the specialized media of Toronto, was treated to a component tasting of merlot, cabernet franc, malbec, petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon that he brought for demonstration purposes.
The wines (all 2000 vintage) were poured in the order given above and in more or less equal amounts. Blending may be in equal amounts but in Bordeaux this is never the case.
I tasted them and evaluated each as follows:
Merlot – intensely fruit (plums and berries)
Cabernet franc – lean, acid drive, “spicy”
Malbec – vivid, deeply flavoured, fruity, full bodied, short in the finish
Petit verdot – fruity/floral. Heavy, tannic, coarse, dark in colour
Cabernet sauvignon – perfumey, tannic, structured, long after taste
I blended all except malbec, swirled the glass, and handed the glass to Pascal, after I tasted it and found the blend to be very palatable. Pascal smelled and approved of my “blend”.
The 2007 Osoyoos Larose Grand Vin was blended using 70 per cent merlot,21 cabernet sauvignon, 4 cabernet franc, 3 petit verdot, and 2 malbec, whereas the 2008 consists of 60 merlot, 25 cabernet sauvignon, 7 cabernet franc, 5 malbec and 3 petit verdot.
The 2009 Petales d’Osyoos is a blend of 42 per cent merlot, 26 cabernet franc, 8 petit verdot, and 2 malbec.
Osoyoos Larose Grand Vin is available throughout the year on the Vintages Essentials ($ 45.00) and is exported to the USA and France.