The Joys of Blending

Blending different grape varieties to make a better finished wine is a bedrock practice in the commercial wine world — and one often overlooked by home winemakers. If they do it in Bordeaux and the Rhone and Chianti, why not do it in your garage? There are good and bad reasons to try blending, and it’s important to keep them straight. The real power of blending lies in the potential for adding complexity to the resulting wine — multiple flavors and aromas, something to stimulate every part of your mouth, a wine that has plenty of fruit at the start and something left for the finish. That’s why the winemakers in Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone are happy to have 13 grapes to work with, permitted by the appellation rules. Blending plays a large part in how they have made wines of great distinction for hundreds of years. The second strength of blending is the pursuit of balance — that happy marriage of fruit, acid, tannin, alcohol, color and (sometimes) oak that makes great wines sing, and not-so-great wines seem … Continue reading The Joys of Blending