Grape Varieties and Blending
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Blending is perhaps the most important tool of the wine maker. While chemistry and science often have a hand in the final blend of a wine, more often than not it is a tasting that determines the final ratios.
Blending: The primary task of the wine maker. Wines from different lots or barrels are blended together to produce the final product for bottling. Tradition and regional laws dictate what grape varieties may be blended together to make a certain wine.
Usually winemakers use Merlot, Malbec, Petite Syrah, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc to blend with the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines. Vineyards also plant some Sauvignon Blanc , which they commonly sell to winemakers outside the area to blend with their own wines.
The mixing together of two or more individual lots of wine. Laws generally dictate which wines can be blended together, and what is subsequently printed on the wine label.
~ is the process of putting two or more wines together, in the hopes of making a better wine. (Could this be the same process as making shooters?) ...
~ - The mixing of two or more different parcels of wine together by winemakers to produce a consistent finished wine that is ready for bottling. Laws generally dictate what wines can be blended together, and what is subsequently printed on the wine label.
Operation consisting of mixing several wines in a vat.
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~ - The specialized craft of combining wines to achieve a batch of wine of high standard and uniform quality.
Blind Tasting - A tasting where the identity of wines is unknown to the taster until after notes and scores have been given. All competitive tastings are blind.
~. Wines fermented from different grapes are blended and yeast and cane sugar added before the wine is bottled and temporarily corked.
~: Combining two or more wines for the purpose of adjusting the flavor, aroma and other components to create a more desireable wine.
Science and chemistry are important to the final blend of a wine but, ultimately, wine-making is an art and the winemaker's gift for tasting determines the final proportions.
In the Piedmont region, there is a long history of blending other grape varieties with Nebbiolo in order to add color and/or soften the grape's harsh tannins.
~: Combining two or more wine varieties, wine types or wine lots for the purpose of correcting (or covering up) some deficiency in one of them. Also, to improve the final blend by a harmonious addition of some other wine which can add a desirable feature to the combination.
~ wine can be as simple as taking two separate wines and mixing them together to complicating things a bit by taking multiple varietals from multiple regions and blending them to make a new wine with a unique flavor experience.
~: Mixing different varieties wine to produce the desired balance for the final wine. You are more likely to get the exact balance you are after by mixing different wine of known types to get the result than it is trying to get there by using the exact balance of original ingredients.
~ the Semillon grape with the Chardonnay gives a wine with more aroma and less acidity than the Chardonnay by itself.
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This blending is widespread in the Graves district of France's Bordeaux region (normally 75-85% Sauvignon Blanc to 15-25% Semillon). In the communes of Sauternes and Barsac, a blend of 60-70% Semillon with 30-40% Sauvignon Blanc is more typical.
After the blending and fermentation of the still wine from the Champagne region (see how wine is made) is completed, it is bottled with a very small amount of sugar and yeast dissolved in wine and called the liqueur detirage.
The Art of Blending
At Larkmead Vineyards we have a Tasting Room. But as our venerable, resident raconteur and Winery General Manager likes to say, we don't normally give tours to visitors because we don't have antique cars or a fancy art collection, we h...
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~: A wine can be blend of different varieties, different vintages, different areas and even different barrel.
Blind Tasting: A tasting of wines where all clues as to the wines' identities including the labels and shapes of the bottles are obscured from the tasters.
Merlot. Bordeaux blending grape. First bottled as a U.S. varietal in 1972 by Louis Martini. Top red varietal in the U.S.
Mondavi, Robert. Visionary California winemaker greatly responsible for U.S. wine renaissance that started in late 1960s.
The blending of wine components to form a final product for bottling, for aging, and for sparkling wine production.
A wine that us upfront and forward.
negociant (French): A wine merchant who purchases parcels of wine from various sources before blending them and bottling them to sell under their own label.
Fining: Removing suspended solids from a cloudy wine by temperature adjustment, blending with an already cleared wine of the same variety, filtering, or adding a fining material such as egg white, milk, gelatin, casein, or bentonite.
Pérignon is credited widely with improving the techniques of blending wines from different years as well as the three principle grapes used: the white grape Chardonnay and two red grapes, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Champagnes are usually the result of blending dozens of lots, often combining red (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) grapes and white (Chardonnay) grapes. Traditional Italian Chiantis are blends of red and white grapes. Modern Chiantis are not.
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as a blending complement to Aramon, but the grape has evolved into its own
varietal. However, planting and growing of new vines has constantly gone down
over the recent years. In fact, in some regions of France, Alicante Bouschet is
Very limited plantings of this red wine grape are now found in the Médoc region of Bordeaux, France where it is used to produce deep red wines occasionally used for blending purposes in the same manner as Petit Verdot.
Aged Tawny Ports are produced by blending wines of different vintages and aged for many years, period in which develop pretty complex aromas and the intense ruby red color gets into a red brownish color - that is tawny - hence the name.
Petit Verdot is capable of producing red wines with intense color, fragrance and spice; however, it is primarily grown for blending purposes, especially in the southern area of the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
Sherry is made by an extremely complex method of fractional ~ called the solera system. The grape variety used is principally Palomino, though small amounts of
Pedro Ximenez may also be included.
Its two top wines are the vintage Unico, with the current release of 1999, and the nonvintage Unico Reserva Especial, ~ wines of three different vintages from the 1990s. The Web site wine-searcher.
In cool climates is mostly used as a ~ wine. Small acreages are found in the Finger Lakes region of New York state in the U.S.A where at least one winery creates a blend with Sereksia (Noire) wine and called "Black Russian". Also at least one winery in N.
Once the various wines are blended in large ~ vats, a bottling dosage (also known as dosage d'tirage or liqueur d'tirage), a syrupy mixture of sugar and wine (and sometimes brandy and/or citric acid), is added along with special yeasts. The Cuvée is then immediately bottled and corked.
A French term for the process of making a wine by ~ the component parts. In old world wine regions this might mean mixing together different barrels containing wine from portions of the same vineyard; in Australia it might involve ~ wines from regions thousands of miles apart.
The structure and richness of Aglianico make it a popular grape for ~ in southern Italy. In Campania, it is frequently blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the production of some IGT wines.
I want to first note that actually ~ a red and white wine is very unusual in the world of wine. Most wines are either red or white wines. Even "white zinfandel" is simply a pale wine made from the red Zinfandel grapes.
In Australia the variety has what can sometimes be exhibitionist blackcurrant flavours often tamed by ~ with the rather more restrained Cabernet Sauvignon.
Solera: The Spanish system of ~ wines of different ages to create a harmonious end product; a stack of barrels holding wines of various ages.
Sommelier: Technically a wine steward, but one potentially with a great degree of wine knowledge as well as a diploma of sorts in wine studies.
Assemblage (Fr.) ~ of different vats, and sometimes different grape varieties. Also used to indicate the composition of such a blend.
Astringent Tasting term used to indicate a sharp bitterness. Usually a fault, a wine may become less astringent with ageing.
First of all Rosé wine is not a ~ of red and white wines (abstraction made of the exceptional case of the Rosé de Champagne).
Rosé wine is made from red grape-varieties. And, nowadays, many winemakers mix a certain amount of white grapes with the red.
Red wine grape extensively grown in Spain. Produces deeply colored wine suitable for ~.
Widely grown in the Apulia region of southern Italy. Used as a ~ red wine or as a local "vino di tavola". A mutation grown in the same area is called Bombino Nero.
A principal city in France's Champagne district where the facilities for ~, aging and bottling of many Champagne producers are located.
Vineyards owned by or under the direct control of the winery.
A viable alternative and ~ tool with StaVin's fire-toasted products, Savour Oak's long-cycle convection oven toasted oak yields high vanilla and sugar notes to wines.
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White variety used for ~ in the Bordeaux region and surrounding districts. Grapey and fine.
Also known as, Muscade, Muscadet Doux, Guillan, Muscat Fou, Angelico, Raisinotte, Tokay, Sauvignon Vert.
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Term used to describe the process of ~ two or more wine varieties, wine types, wine lots, or wine vintages to create one balanced and complex wine. Some of Australia's greatest wines, especially reds, are blended wines.
A system of fractional ~ that gives Sherry its character. A complex process by which several vintages are blended together over many years in a building known as a Solera, before bottling.
Non-Vintage: Wine and champagne that has been made by ~ the juice of grapes from multiple vintages.
Nose: Wine recommendations and wine glossaries will often refer to the wine's nose which is the aroma or bouquet of a wine as sensed through one's nose.
The latter is sourced from producers or co-operatives, usually as wine, and matured by the négociant before ~, bottling and sale. One that undertakes that process is known as a "négociant-éléveur".
Can be made by ~ red and white grapes, but mostly made from red grapes whose skins are left on the must during fermentation - the juice is run off the skins and treated the same way as white wine, and can be dry to semi-sweet.
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Bonarda is often used as a ~ grape in Argentina with Malbec. It's darker in color than malbec and adds tannic structure and earthiness. Blackberry
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Solera: a term referring to a method known as "fractional ~" in which older wines are blended with younger wines to arrive at a consistent, similar-tasting product. Authentic Sherries and many other fortified wines are produced using a solera.
Sour: see acidic.
This vine from the island of Mallorca is a somewhat rustic variety. It is considered to be a ~ wine, albeit one that can produce pleasing red wines in its own right. The cuvée Anima Negra AN, which is achieved predominantly with Callet, is one of the top Mallorcan wines.
Tank or a container for fermenting, storing and ~ wine.
A plantation of grapevines, especially one producing grapes for winemaking.
Modern German grape, a Sylvaner x Riesling x Müller-Thurgau cross. Primarily a ~ grape but turns up occasionally as a varietal.
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Barrel Aging—Many wines are aged for a period of time in oak barrels, which allows a ~ of the flavors in the wine as it matures, and also imparts the flavor of the toasted wood to the wine.
Tank - A large closed container used for the storing, fermenting or ~ wine. Tanks are often stainless steel, wood or fiberglass lined concrete.
Describes a red wine with body, a strong tannic structure noticeable in the mouth. In Bordeaux, wines are created by ~ tannin-rich grape varieties resulting in well structured, robust wines.
Describes wine that is both tannic and acidic.
Cuvee: A French term meaning the blend. It's used most often in reference to sparkling wine, for instance ~ Chardonnay with Pinot Noir or one vintage with another.
The wine is deeply coloured, with a high level of tannin and a spicy, plum fruit palate. In California it may be used as a ~ wine. In Australia it is also used to produce sparkling red wines.
A substance in grape skins, seeds, and stems necessary for the development of fine red wines. In young wines, it is unpleasant, but the "puckery" taste disappears in time and a harmonious ~ of wine characteristics takes place. See "astringent."
Alone it creates a rather inky red, intense wine, so it is mainly used in blends, such as with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to create the world renowned red Bordeaux "claret" blend. In California and other areas it is increasingly being used for the same ~ purpose.
See also: What is the meaning of Wine, Blend, Grape, Aroma, Region?