August 1, 2023 by
Maytte Rivera

Blending is a process where a winemaker mixes two or more different wines to create a unique and balanced wine.  Blending is usually done to create the winery’s distinct style, to maintain consistency in each bottling, and to balance the wine’s components taking into consideration vintage variations.  The wines blended can be from different grape varieties, vineyards, regions, vintages or ageing vessels. 

The most popular blended wines are the ones involving two or more grape varieties.  Some of the most classic examples include the red wines of Bordeaux in France and Priorat in Spain.  Nowadays, grape blends are produced around the world, for example Decoy by Duckhorn in California, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel and Petite Syrah.   

A winery can decide to mix the same grape variety harvested from different vineyard plots in the same region to showcase the different flavor profiles.  This is the case of Silverado Vineyards “Block Blend”, which is 100% Chardonnay harvested from two different estate owned vineyards in the area of Los Carneros in California. 

Another blending technique is to source the grapes from different regions, allowing for the growing conditions of each area to play a key role in the final wine.  Cherry Pie winery produces a 100% Pinot Noir with grapes sourced from three different regions around California: Sonoma, Monterrey, and Santa Barbara. 

Blending wines produced from grapes harvested on various vintages is very common in traditional wine like Italy and France, especially in the production of Champagne.  This allows the winery to maintain consistency of style and flavor profile, as is the case with Overture by Opus One from Napa Valley, which is not only a blend of different vintages but also of various grapes.

Ageing vessels, like oak barrels and stainless steel, can add complexity and texture to the wines and determine a specific winery’s style.  Beaulieu Vineyards in Napa Valley uses a mix of French, American and European oak barrels (some new and some used) for their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon

No matter for what reason it is done, blending is definitely a complex art form.

Author: Maytte Rivera

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