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mainshipfred

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Newbie question..... Is there a "magic number" for a % of the blend? Should it be at least 25%? I see some of the comments that looks like they may be 25/25/50 or variations... I like blending my blackberry wine with grape wines... and, as every one says, seems to make it better than either one individually. Just not sure if 10% is enough to get the flavor or if it needs to be more like 25%. Just wanting some input from the "pros".
Since we are not commercial wineries the rules do not apply. Though in the commercial market in order to call a wine by it's varietal name it has to be 75% of the varietal, as least in Virginia. So for us the magic numbers are whatever tastes the best and we can call it anything we want.
 

Juniper Hill

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When blending two wines I'll set up bench trials where the blend progressively increases by about 10%: 90:10, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40 and 50:50. Taste each with a friend and try to find the one you both like the best. Can make even finer blends from there if you can decide between two points.
 

bstnh1

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Frontera makes a nice blend that a lot of our friends like. It's 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot. I was surprised to see on their website that it's only aged 4 months in stainless steel and concrete tanks.
VARIETY / STYLE
  • 85% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 15% Merlot
DENOMINATION OF ORIGIN (D.O.)
  • Central Valley
AGING
Four months in stainless steel and concrete tanks
 

winemaker81

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Newbie question..... Is there a "magic number" for a % of the blend? Should it be at least 25%? I see some of the comments that looks like they may be 25/25/50 or variations
Nope, there is no magic number. There are 3 variables that are impossible to control: the grapes, fermentation, and the taste buds of the blender(s). If you and I purchased grapes from the same vineyard, fermented with the same yeast under similar conditions, and made our own best blend -- the blends are 99.9% likely to be different.

I've seen labels that stated that one varietal was 3% of the blend. My palate is not good enough to make that determination, but the winemaker believed that 3% made a difference.

Here's a cool experiment -- 3 people purchase the same ratio of grapes from the same source, e.g., 9 lugs Cab Sauv, 2 lugs Merlot, and 1 lug Petit Verdot. Make field blends to reduce variation, ferment with the same yeast in as identical circumstances as is possible, bottle after 1 year. Then taste test the wines every year for 5 years.

I like blending my blackberry wine with grape wines... and, as every one says, seems to make it better than either one individually. Just not sure if 10% is enough to get the flavor or if it needs to be more like 25%. Just wanting some input from the "pros".
Do a double blind tasting. Make 5 samples: 75/25, 80/20, 85/15, 90/10, and 95/5. Number them 1 to 5 in a random order, keeping track of which is which. Then have a second person change the order and relabel them A to E, keeping track of the correspondence, e.g., A = 3, E = 1, etc.

Do a blind tasting, with each person ranking the wines 1 (favorite) to 5 (least favorite), then reveal which wine is which.
 

Snafflebit

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My friends partner and I tried the Cuda Ridge 2017 Cab Franc and Petit Verdot. I am searching for what to plant in order to blend with Cab Sauv and Merlot.

I enjoyed the Cab Franc more, has a big nose. This Petit Verdot was higher acidity, sharp tasting and tannic but I have had much higher tannin wines. Maybe this PV needs some more age, or maybe Petit Verdot does not make a good varietal wine. I think it would work well to blend because it has potent flavor, even if I cannot quite put my finger on what that flavor is. Maybe raspberry?

If I were to go with Cab Franc as a blender, I would want to grow more so that it could be a major component of the wine. It is quite nice on its own.

I plan to continue to taste these, I have a Coravin so sampling is easy. I also did not let the wines open up before sampling.
I would like to find another winery that makes CF and PV varietal wines.



And I tasted a few rosé wines for saignée ideas.
This rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon from Total Wine was a pleasant surprise. Quite flavorful for a rosé

LlcQ-iZzTOGjxx9xvGlJDA_pb_x600.png
 

Jim Welch

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I just read this thread, very interesting. In 2019 I was bottling a batch of Super Tuscan and a batch of Amarone. I combined the very last of each batch, IIRC it was about 67% ST and the balance Amarone but could've been the opposite. I got 5 bottles out of that and you know it was really good and I was surprised because I always thought (and now I realize I was wrong to think this) that blends were inherently faulty. My thinking, again erroneous now I see, was why else would one blend a wine except to cover a fault? I'm going to try some blends this year just not yet sure what.
 

winemaker81

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My thinking, again erroneous now I see, was why else would one blend a wine except to cover a fault?
I believe you have that reversed -- blending combine strengths.

Conventional wisdom is don't blend a better wine into an inferior one, as the result will be no better than the lesser, and you'll have more of it. I don't know that I believe this 100%, but IME it's at least 95% true.
 

photoguy

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Fascinating read. Like you all I did all single wines only and by accident came to the same conclusion. Many times a blend was better.just the decisions are difficult lol.
 

Snafflebit

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I just had the CF and PV with food, cheeseburger macaroni hamburger helper :D.

Both wines were much improved with food and I could find notes that are otherwise hidden by the tartness.
CF definitely has a more subtle version of bell pepper that I find in CS. It was pleasant to me.
PV was more fruity, tannic and also paired with fatty, starchy food. I am still uncertain what fruit flavor is in PV but it was also pleasant.

I think either grape will make a good blender for food-friendly wines. I would aim for a lower percentage in wines intended for drinking without food.
 

NorCal

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@Snafflebit, I find that PV is best as a blender in small proportion. With a CS, CF based wine, maybe 1-3%. PV can prop up a lighter merlot but I try to stay below 5% or it starts to take away vs complement the other varietals. What I like about blending is the nuances that can come out and the length of the taste that can result. I would argue that there are far more high end wines that have some blending, than single varietal wines and that is because the blending improved the wine.
 

Snafflebit

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What I like about blending is the nuances that can come out and the length of the taste that can result. .
I noticed the long finish of the PV. That is probably where it will shine in a blend. I am trying to get that in my wines but in carboys I cannot achieve concentration. Maybe this will help.
 

NorCal

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I noticed the long finish of the PV. That is probably where it will shine in a blend. I am trying to get that in my wines but in carboys I cannot achieve concentration. Maybe this will help.
I had an opportunity for a winemaker (Stanford grad, won SF Chron Sweepstakes for best red in the entire competition one year) taste my Cab Franc. He said it is good and then came back with a pipette with wine in it. He asked me to taste again, then added his pipette of PV and asked me to retaste. The difference was significant and not so much for changing the overall flavor of the wine, but rather the lingering finish as you noted. Since then I have added just a little PV to my Bordeaux varietal wines.
 

mainshipfred

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There is a winery around here that does near a 50/50 PV/Tannat. Some years it's 40/60 and some 60/40 but it always turns out to be a very nice wine. I've been getting local PV, Tannat and Norton the past 2 years but never enough to try that blend. PV and Norton are not hard to get but I have to beg and plead for the Tannat.
 

AaronSC

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@Snafflebit I just finished blending my 2020 C. Franc two weeks ago (52% Franc, 38% Mourvedre, 10% Malbec) or I could have brought some over for you to try (I live in San Jose and I'm here most weekdays). This one was from Fiddletown in Amador county -super fragrant wine, pretty overpowering on its own but wonderful blended. If you want a couple bottles of the blend let me know -I have 305 bottles so I can spare.

-Aaron
 

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