Friday, January 4, 2019

To blend or not blend? that is the question....

One of my students asked me the other day, are blended wines better than mono varietals?  and my answer was depends! 

Historically, blending wine was a necessity, especially in so and so vintages or cooler climates, where grapes strive to get optimal ripeness every year.  So, winemakers vinified each variety on its own, and then realized that blending was best.  Take Bordeaux for example, Cabernet puts the muscle and structure and tannins, Merlot  the plumpness and fruitiness, Petit verdot the elegant perfume... the sum of the parts  makes everything better ! Actually the Bordeaux recipe was replicated everywhere in the world,  since if any wine needed structure and tannins, the solution was to  add some Cabernet Sauvignon to the recipe/ blend. Other times, some winemakers added white wine to a red blend, hoping it will give the wine the acidity or perfume it lacked as is the Northern Cote du Rhone.  

But move to the New World and mono varietals  are wonderful and they can stand on their own!. So I guess much depends on the grape variety and  the relationship grapes have with their location/ soil/ climate in other words what the French define as terroir. But also much depends on the winemaker's intention, what he/ she wants in a wine, his /her vision and of course much
depends on what you like, especially on what you are willing to buy at the store!

So my dear winos, before you get married to a style of wine, taste as much as you can,  great wine pleasure can be obtained from both blends and  mono varietals. 

Here are some good recommendations for you to try:

Cabernet Blends vs Mono varietal
Chateau Meyney 2016 $ 35
Chateau Gloria 2016 $ 45
Chateau Simard (Merlot + Cab Franc) 2010 $30
100% Cabs:
Chateau St Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley 2013 $25
Louis Martini Napa Cabernet 2014 $35
Clos Du Val Napa Cabernet 2015 $45

Tempranillo Blends vs Mono varietal
Blends:Marques de Riscal Reserva (Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo) 2012 $18
100% Tempranillo: Baron de Ley 2012 $22

Syrah/Shiraz Blend Vs Mono varietal
Blends:  Jaboulet Domaine de Roure (Blend) 2015 $45, Domaine de Montine Cote Du Rhone Villages (Caprices) 2016 $15
100% Syrah/Shiraz: Penfolds Kalimna Shiraz 2015 $30, Guigal Crozes Hermitage 2014 $25, Thomas Goss Shiraz 2016 $15

Sangiovese Blends Vs Mono varietal
Blend: Fattoria di Basciano Chianti Ruffina 2016 $15, Luaino Chianti Classico 2016 $20
100% Sangiovese: Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2012 $50, Castello Dei Rampolla Chianti Classico 2014 $28

Malbec Blends vs Mono varietal
Blend: Clos de Los 7 2015 $20
100 % Malbec:Trivento Malbec Reserve 2017 $11, Familia Zuccardi Q Malbec 2017 $20

So try some of these and let me know your thoughts. Cheers!