Recently went through tasting trials re cross-blending some of my 2012 Cabernet (Shiloh) and 2012 Merlot (Har Bracha.) I set up trials looking at 10 or 15% CS blended into the Merlot, 10% Merlot blended into the CS, the 2 wines "as is" unblended, and almost as lark a total blend of all the Merlot and CS together which would be ~60% Cabernet and %40 Merlot. 6 wines to compare side by side, not blind mind you I knew what each was.
I had done a similar comparative tasting before the wines were barreled back in late November, just as they were finishing their MLs. At that time I was sure I had two distinct wines, better left to be made and sold as 2 varietal wines.
What a shocker I got yesterday when it turned out that the best wine I can make from these 2 lots is a single Bordeaux style blend. Besides that the little things that bug me about each wine separately are cancelled out when blended (the CS a lttle too broad and fruity and slightly over-oaked, the Merlot a little too structured and tannic and lacking some quantity or more exactly quality of oak I am looking for in its oak profile - kinda the opposite of what one might expect from the varieties themselves) the blend shows "emergent properties" of complexity and nuance that just aren't evident in each wine by itself! So I plan to make only 2 wines from 2012, a Bordeaux blend and a Reserve Israeli Cabernet.
Emergent properties show up in sometimes neat and sometimes irritating ways blending wines, and was a great lesson for me about acidification when I made Estate Pinot Noir in the Russian river valley almost 20 years ago in 1994 from 5 vineyard blocks of different clones.
On a side note, I will be forever indebted to Professor Herbert Baker who taught me "Plant Ecology" at UC Berkeley 25 years ago. I almost dropped the class because the 1st lecture was impossible to hear him because of his Parkinson's disease affliction. The class TA convinced me not to, saying Professor baker was truly a legend in his field an a GREAT lecturer. The class TA fixed the audibility issue with a small PA system and podium he brought in before every class to help Dr. Baker stand through his lectures. Baker was indeed one of the great men at the very beginning of the field of ecology. Besides teaching us an enormous amount about how to look at very complex data such as the dispersion of wild plants in a field and how they reflected changing strategies of survival whether the field's aspect was a valley, slope or hill-top he had the best line about researchers' sometimes poor use of stats I've ever heard. "Don't use stats like a blind man uses a lamp-post! For support rather than illumination!" he warned us. He was the man who introduced me to the concept of "emergent properties" and it's been an invaluable concept to keep in my back pocket when I consider all the possibilities I have when making wine. Including some you CAN'T SEE or predict because they are around the corner until you get there.
This time, the "emergent properties" of my 1st blend as an independent is an extremely pleasant surprise. More than pleasant. I see again, the hand of Hashem in it. I have no clue why he helps me this way except that maybe he has always wanted me to make Kosher wine, in Israel...
Life is too short to drink bad wine.