Blending wines

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fuzzmeister

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I just started making kit wines a few months ago and am so addicted to this that, I spend every spare moment I have reading, and searching, for information on makeing fruit, wines and juice, wines. I was reading an article on the net, and it stated, that you can blend different wines together, to alter the taste, what is all involved in this process? if some one could shed some light on this subject, it would be greatly appreciated.
 

cpfan

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There are two types of blending.

The most common is blending two finished wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Some folks will just blend 'at random', ie 4 litres of Cab and 2 of Merlot sounds good. Others will do bench trials. IE, put 20ml of Cab in several glasses. Then add 5ml to one glass, 10ml to another, etc. Then choose the favourite for the blend to be bottled.

The other method is to blend the grapes pre-fermentation. This is done for blends such as Shiraz-Viognier.

BTW, most commercial wines are blends. Even your favourite merlot may contain a portion of something else.

Steve
 

fuzzmeister

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Steve If I understand you properly, you are saying I can take 2 red wines, ie valpolicella, and cabernet sauvignon, and mix them together, or a primo rossa, and a merlot, untill you have found a satisfing taste, and bottle it, or are there certain wines that would complement each other?
 

Manimal

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Blending is fun and everything, and it's a great experiment in and of itself, but I would recommend that you have a goal in mind when blending your wines. For example, if the Cabernet you've made is a little harsh and tannic and you've got a nice fleshy Merlot that's supple and round but lacking a bit in structure, then it is reasonable to assume that blending the two together will make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. However, if both wines were well-balanced and enjoyable on their own, you MIGHT gain something through blending, but you may also just end up making a mediocre wine that loses the individual characteristics of each wine. In addition, if you have a seriously flawed wine, do not try to "blend it away." Chances are that you will just pass the flaw on to the finished blend.

This is not to discourage you from blending... by all means break out some glasses and run some bench trials. But before you blend entire batches just for the sake of it, you should have some grasp on what you hope to achieve through the blending process.
 

Luc

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I will take this even further.

Most commercial wines are indeed a blend of several wines. They are blended because one type of wine might have a lot of tannin that the other lacks. Or one might have more alcohol as the other, or acid etc. etc. etc. By blending you can combine the best of both worlds.

And like Manimal said there is no way you can get a good wine out of two bad ones.

And there is however something else to be aware of.
Most European wineries have done this for ages. So they have had ages to experiment which varieties would go best together.
You do not have that time.
So what ???
Well wine alters when aged properly. So the blend you will make
now can taste totally different in a few years. And that is the time schedule the wineries have and you do not at this moment.....

Luc
 

cpfan

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Fuzz:

First Valpolicella, and Primo Rosso are already blends. There are no grapes with either of those names.

To understand what varietals go well together, do some research into wine descriptions.

We had a commercial Shiraz-Merlot that we liked (sorry do not recall the winery name). To the best of my knowledge, this is not a common blend. But at some point in the future, I may experiment with a Shiraz-Merlot blend. Pretty soon, I will have the results of three different merlot kits available to me, but no Shiraz. That's poor planning!!! :D Two are from limited edition kits that I HAD to try. The third is a standard wine in our house (fairly quick drinker and we enjoy it). Unfortunately, probably no Shiraz will be made this year, as I have two merlots in carboy, and two reds (Pinotage and Meritage) waiting to be started.

Steve
 

docjavadude

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I have actually done quite a bit of "intentional" blending. I have started Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Malbec all at the same time (or about the same time) in order to play with Bordeaux style blends. My wife refers to my blending process as "wine chemistry" -- I have graduated cylinders out with various amounts of each of the wines. It's fun to experiment until the blend tastes good. It's interesting to note how much change there is in the flavor even by adding a mere 1% of one of the wines to the blend. (think about adding just a few drops of wine or food coloring to a glass of water -- you can see and taste it!)

One of the most intriguing tasting events I have hosted is a "Blending Seminar." I'm able to teach a little bit about the wine making and blending process while giving friends a fun experience of making their own custom blends out of wine that I have made. I'm actually going to be hosting another of these events in 6 weeks or so.

The other blending I have done is to "help" wine that I have made from heat-extracted California juice (fresh juice) that turned out a bit "thin" in body, flavor, and color. I kept the wine in bulk storage and made a quick kit wine of the same varietal (happened to be a Cabernet). By blending the two once the kit was ready I was able to make a much more interesting wine than either of the components on their own...

Blending is not only fun and interesting, it often produces much more complex and interesting wine!
 

Tom

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Here are some blends that a member of my wine club makes.

RED BLENDS
Barbera/Petite Sirah or Syrah
80% Barbera / 20% Petite Sirah or Syrah. Dominic's grandfather Pasquale Vincenzo Chirichilloís favorite blend. He made
eight barrels a year and ran out every year before the next harvest.
Cabernet/Cab Franc - Matthew's Favorite
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc. Coined "Matthewís Favorite," in memory of Dominickís cherished friend and
former wine school owner, Matthew Picerno who perished in 911. A wine with unique character, like Matthew.
Cabernet/Merlot
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot. Typical Bordeaux style wine blend (without Cabernet Franc). Cabernet's complexity,
makes it an excellent varietal for blending. When blended with the Merlot grape for, a softer and more subtle Cabernet emerges
without giving up its character.
Cabernet/Merlot/Syrah
50% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, 20% Syrah. A wonderful new blend recently created by one of our students. Makes a fruity, full
bodied wine with deep, rich color.
Cabernet/Syrah
70% Cabernet Sauvignon 30% Syrah. An excellent blend of two world-class wines.
Cabernet/Old Vine Zinfandel
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Zinfandel. The addition of Old Vine Zinfandel will soften the Cabernet and make the wine
drinkable earlier.
Meritage (Bordeaux Style)
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Typical Bordeaux blend. Acombination of 3 world famous
grapes.
Merlot/Cabernet
80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This blend has been continually great. The addition of the Cabernet adds more body to
the wine.
 

docjavadude

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I've done several Bordeaux blends (Cab, Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec) -- those, of course, are wonderful (at least to my palate!). One of the more interesting blends I did was pre-fermentation with Barbera and Alicante. It made a nice Chianti-like wine. While I appreciate single-varietal wines, there is something about using the palette of flavors of various wines in a blend to enhance the experience on the palate...
 
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