Blending wine, a process where two or more grape varieties are combined, is an old tradition. In fact, some of the greatest and most beloved wines in the world are blends. Winemakers often choose to make a blend to create a unique wine that is more complete, complex and delicious than any single variety. A winemaker hopes for synergy, whereby the final product may provide quality that is greater than the sum of its parts.
To demonstrate how blending works, let’s consider cabernet sauvignon. Alone, cabernet sauvignon grapes may produce a wine that seems overly dry and astringent. However, like combining spices from a cupboard, a winemaker can add another grape variety that exudes fruitiness and a softer texture, such as merlot, to produce a wine that seems less angular and tannic, and is more enjoyable to consume.
We could also consider another scenario: Perhaps, the wine-growing season in a particular appellation ended in a deluge of rain. The pinot noir grapes picked up extra water prior to picking, making the resulting wine seem thin and washed out. In this instance, a winemaker could add grapes such as syrah, which naturally show more intensity, or some harvested from a drier region, to give the final wine a boost in color, flavor and body.
Blending wine is an art, and it takes lots of practice, and trial and error. Luckily, thanks to some local winemakers and their creativity, it’s an art that’s available to anybody. Wine enthusiasts now have the opportunity to connect—via virtual wine tastings—directly with winemakers from around the region who are willing to share their secrets and tips for making successful and appealing wine blends. Guided by the winemaker, virtual tasting participants can experiment with a selection of samples of single varietal wines and combine them to make their own one-of-a-kind wines.
To learn how to join in the fun and create your own blended wine masterpiece, check out these links:
Crystal Basin Cellars
Event: Learn to Blend a Super Tuscan Wine with Winemaker Mike Owen
Thursday, May 21, 2020, 6–9 p.m.
Event: Help Winemaker Kevin Create the Blend!
Saturday, May 23, 5 p.m.