The Art of Blending

I have some great plans for 2020. 

I am putting together a workshop to teach you how to make blends. 

But first listen to this:

The tradition of making blends from different wine varieties, practiced mainly in the old-world wine regions, dates back to at least 500 years.  As an example, all the wines made In Bordeaux are blends that by law must consist of two or more of the following varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.   It should be noted that in Bordeaux these blends are named after the region or sub-region and not after the name of the variety.  Bordeaux is sliced into 38 sub-regions with 57 different appellations, each one called “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” (AOC), governed by laws which dictate the permissible grape varieties, alcohol levels, methods of pruning and picking, density of planting and appropriate yields, as well as various winemaking techniques. 

The two questions that come to mind are:  Why does Bordeaux need such a strong level of government control and why is it necessary to have blends rather than making stand-alone varietals?  The answer to the first question is to maintain the authenticity, uniqueness and exclusivity of each region and sub-region for marketing purposes.  As for the second question, this is like an insurance policy against a common occurrence in Bordeaux that has unpredictable weather, inconsistent from year to year.  Some years, the Cabernet Sauvignon needs more heat-days to reach full ripeness, will be harvested underripe making the wine acidic and astringent.  However, blending this Cabernet with Merlot and Cabernet Franc, requires less heat to reach full ripeness, will yield a somewhat acceptable wine.

So, why do we need to make blends in our region, the Sierra Foothills of California, where the weather is near perfect for growing many different varieties of wine grapes and achieving ripeness every single year?  Given that we don’t have tight regulations for growing specific grape varietals and are not restricted in our farming and winemaking protocols, we have no chance of representing ourselves as an authentic, unique and exclusive wine region like many of the old-world AOCs.  So, why waste our energies and resources to make blends where we can concentrate on making strictly stand-alone varietals?

The answer my friends, is that some of us as individuals and not necessarily as a group from a region have an inner urge to be creative with a strong desire to make authentic and unique wines.  As an individual, I strive to make a varietal wine that will show the identity of the specific variety.  In this case, I feel that I have accomplished my mission when the wine’s variety is identifiable.  Whereas, when I make a blend I have the freedom to create an identity for the wine….and the sky is the limit!  I choose components that act with synergy and harmony layering the flavors and other attributes of wines that are complimentary and can achieve a perfect balance.

Come to my “The Art of Blending Workshop.”  My first one will be on Sunday March 29, 2020.

I will show you how I make my blends. 

You will have 6 single varietal wines to chose from.  You will create your own blend.

  Make 2 bottles to take home.  Cheers!!

Chaim,

March 2020