Technique

Wine Blending: Tips from the Pros

Varietal wines are great, but there is only so much that can be done when working with a single grape variety. To create a truly complex wine, try blending multiple varieties that complement each other. Winemaker: Kimberlee Nicholls,  Markham Cellars, Napa Valley, California True blends are very challenging to create. I approach blending like cooking; sometimes you need to add a pinch of this or that to get it just right. Understanding the texture each varietal provides works best for me. Cabernet can be tannic, Merlot and Syrah are fleshy, Petite Sirah can be juicy and Zinfandel often has jammy brightness. I suggest starting with simple proportions based upon what you are working with and then hone in on those blends that work the best. It’s tricky to not let one varietal overpower another. People don’t understand that adding 1–2% of something really can make a big difference. I always try to keep my individual vineyards separate so that I can evaluate as to whether we want to continue with the sourcing from vintage to vintage. However, each year is different