Blends verses single varietal wines.

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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:54 pm

I always prefer the mystique of a blend.


If by 'mystique' you mean the ability to obscure purity, terroir, and vintage by covering up flaws in certain fruit, sure, I see your point.. :)

Guess which one I prefer?
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Paul B. » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:25 pm

Blends can indeed be interesting - I had one some time back from Chateau Grand Traverse in Michigan that was truly wonderful. It was a completely unique blend of viniferas too, which I can't recall at present.

Actually, here is the note off the old forum: Chateau Grand Traverse Proprietor's Blend

Howie also makes a Foch-Vidal blend, which is certainly non-traditional but harkens back to a Chianti-like paradigm. Bob H. also brought an interesting Chancellor-Seyval blend to MoCool last year.

Frankly I would be interested in what sort of red could result from blending a tiny bit of an aromatic white grape into a red hybrid - e.g. making a 90% Chambourcin + 10% Traminette blend. It might be surprisingly good.
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Well...

Postby TomHill » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:27 pm

I'm from Kansas and we know a thing or two about wizards... we had one from Oz...friggin' fraud he was!! :-)
I have nothing, per se, against blends. Some of my best friends are blends of Jewish/Irish/Pole...whatever. In wine, I find that oftentimes blends are like blends of colors. Sometimes they can come out a beautiful pastel...sometimes a screamin' neon green...but all too often them come out simply grey.
If it's a blend of varieties, I like one of the varieties to stand out...something I can hang my hat on. I want my blend to be distinctive...have something distinctive to say... be it the grape variety...the terroir...something/anything distinctive.
Some varieties seem to blend well together...CabSauv/Merlot/CabFranc...merge into a pleasnt whole of "cabernet". Othertimes, like a blend of Concord and Merlot...it's very dissonant (sorry, PaulB).
But I consistently prefer single varietal wines (not necessarily 100% though... but the others in just a minor/supporting role) to blends, in (gross) general.
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Paul Winalski » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:30 pm

John,

I think it depends on the varieties. Pinot noir seems to stand extremely well on its own, and apart from Bourgogne Passetoutsgrains, and Champagne (where it's vinified as a white or rose wine) I don't know of any cases where it's blended with other varieties. On the other hand, the famous Bordeaux varieties, both red and white, do very well blended. Ditto the Rhone varieties.

Zinfandel and nebbiolo don't seem to be blended with anything else usually.

-Paul W.
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:53 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:Zinfandel and nebbiolo don't seem to be blended with anything else usually.


Funny you mention that ... even as we speak, I'm tasting a Barbera/Zin blend made by Italians in the Galilee. Best Israeli wine I've ever tried.
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby James Roscoe » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:06 pm

Is this a sneak preview of tomorrow's post?
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Robin Garr » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:07 pm

James Roscoe wrote:Is this a sneak preview of tomorrow's post?


Very likely! :lol:
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Rahsaan » Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:09 pm

You can become the master of disguise the wizard behind the potion. Making a good wine in a bad year.


What's all this about "bad years"?

Aren't you a winemaker yourself?

What makes a year qualitatively "bad" on an objective level? Who are you to say it's "bad"?

For many regions in France 2003 and 2004 were radical opposites, and both could be considered "bad" years, depending on your palate preferences. So sure, it could be interesting to blend wines from the two years (like 02 and 03 in Northern Rhone), to satisfy people who might not like those extremes, but the top winemakers make good wine every year, the best of them reflecting the conditions of the year, and many without blending..
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Thomas » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:12 am

Rahsaan wrote:
but the top winemakers make good wine every year, the best of them reflecting the conditions of the year, and many without blending..


and many--very many--by blending (within the vintage of course).

Blending is part of producing wine. There's no sin in that. Many appellations require a specific blend.

What would CDP be without their blend? What would most top Bordeaux houses be without their blend?
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:27 am

I can't see blending Riesling either, unless you want to add a bit of Riesling to something else to improve it.
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Rahsaan » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:49 am

Blending is part of producing wine. There's no sin in that. Many appellations require a specific blend.


Of course, even within the same grape variety. I'm just arguing my preferences for the fun of it.

What would CDP be without their blend? What would most top Bordeaux houses be without their blend?


Of course I have zero CdP and Bordeaux in my cellar, with no plans to change that anytime soon..
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Thomas » Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:33 am

Howie Hart wrote:I can't see blending Riesling either, unless you want to add a bit of Riesling to something else to improve it.


Howie,

At my winery, some years I used to blend from 5% to 10% Gewurztraminer into Riesling. Gave it a nice balance, from the standpoint of acidity and pH.

But consumers really don't know--unless the label says so--which wines are blended and to what extent, and many wines are, and should be so loong as the aim is to produce a solid, balanced product. I suspect thta is why it is legal to do so in so-called varietal wines.

Rahsaan,

I like a man who's true to his convictions (re, no CDP or Bordeaux in the cellar).
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AuContraire...

Postby TomHill » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:18 am

John,
Most Zins are typically blended, most often with PetiteSirah. Ridge pretty much led the way in this practice by focusing on old-vine vnyds and THEN actually putting on the label what the field blend was. Most vnyds that are old-vine had PS/Barbera/Carignane/Alicante/Mataro/GrandNoir lots of stuff interplanted amongst the Zinfandel. Nowadays, Zin even made from young-vine vnyds will most often have a bit of something else like PS blended in.
As for cross-yr blending, it is not that uncommon to blend into a wine getting ready to go to btl a bit of the most recent vintage to "freshen" it up and give a more fruit-forward character. Kent Rosenblum often does this with his wines. When the '94 Paso is ready to btl, he'll add a bit of the '95 that just finished fermenting. You can add up to 5% and still maintain the ('94 in this case) vintage date.
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Re: AuContraire...

Postby Paul B. » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:23 am

Tom, your latest post makes me wonder if there are vineyards in the world that were planted some time back, and whose composition is no longer known - that is, the plot consists of a total mish-mash of grape varieties. I'm entertaining the off-hand possibility that such a haphazard mix of grapes might just create some awesome, irreplicable wines of character when terroir is factored in.
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Yup...

Postby TomHill » Wed Apr 26, 2006 11:50 am

Paul,
Probably the best example of this is the Carlisle TwoAcres (Twackers as he/we call it). It was an extremely old vnyd that Mike discovered and asked the owner if he could bring it back from the dead in exchange for the grapes. Originally, he had no idea what varieties were in there but he was assuming it was Zin, given it was there in RussianRvrVlly. He finally did some vine identification (non-DNA) by some experts and identified a lot of the stuff in it. The biggest fraction was Mondeuse (aka Refosco). There were about 2 vines of French Syrah as well. Some Zin. There was even some stuff, including a few white varieties, that remain unidentified.
The Carlisle Twackers is a stunning wine (as are all of Mike Officer's), though I'm not sure I can recognize the Twackers terroir.
I'm sure there are other vnyds, abandoned mostly, that are like this out there. Wouldn't it be neat if they found an old/abandoned Concord vnyd, planted in the 1800's, somewhere in NewYork??
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Re: Yup...

Postby Paul B. » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:52 pm

TomHill wrote:I'm sure there are other vnyds, abandoned mostly, that are like this out there. Wouldn't it be neat if they found an old/abandoned Concord vnyd, planted in the 1800's, somewhere in NewYork?

You know, Tom, I believe that the ORIGINAL Concord grapevine still exists!

Quote: Located on the Lexington Road, just east of the home of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bull’s farmhouse is still standing – and in the garden beside it stands the original parent vine of all the Concord grapes in the world.

See this page.

What's more, Howie knows the location of the very original Niagara vine too - it's still growing, outside some seniors' home.
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Re: Blends verses single varietal wines.

Postby Isaac » Wed Apr 26, 2006 1:20 pm

There are some blending other grapes with pinot noir. A Google search turns up several. Also, many, maybe most, pinot noirs are blends of different vineyards.
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