Blending is at the heart of many great wines, be they from Mallorca, Bordeaux, Champagne, California, South Africa or Australia.
It’s one of the reasons that some of us winemakers compare our work in the cellar to that of a chef in a great restaurant.
Some producers will blend from several vineyards in different areas, depending on the desired classification and appellation rules. The same rules also cover which grapes that can be used.
But we winemakers don’t just blend grape varieties. For example, wines can also be a blend of vineyard parcels, a blend of vineyards from a single estate or from different harvest dates.
Blending wines gives us more control of certain aspects. Just like when creating a delicious dish in the kitchen, we play with and aim for the perfect balance between freshness, structure, different flavour characteristics, boldness, tannin, ageability and much more.
Alongside grape variety, several factors influence blending decisions, including:
Climate and soil type
Time spent in oak, and the type of oak
We use blending to marry these elements depending on what kind of wine we want to make.
We sometimes decide on blends as early as when we pick the grapes and sometimes co-ferment some varieties. But usually we decide on blends after fermentation and before maturing.