Blending with Malbec: Tips from the Pros

Malbec makes great varietal wines (check out the feature on page 40 for advice on this approach), but is also commonly used as a blending component, specifically for Bordeaux-style blends. In Bordeaux, Malbec is often a smaller component of wines that rely heavily on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and sometimes used in conjunction with the other Bordeaux red varieties of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Carménère. Malbec can also be a complementary pairing with other grapes depending on what characteristics you are looking for. We asked two West Coast winemakers for their insight on making blends with Malbec to help you on your way to blending success. Soren Christensen is the Winemaker at Hearst Ranch Winery in Paso Robles, California Our Malbec is planted just up the east bank of the Salinas Riverbed. The Salinas has a subterranean flow for most of the year, so our vines are planted in very sandy, dry soil. With the meager water-holding capacity of the sandy soil, our vines are very reactionary to irrigation and have amazing concentration when water is carefully rationed. Our