Mixing of two wine grape varieties together to form a new wine is what makes a wine blend.
The question arises why to blend wine? There can be plenty of reasons – enhancing aromas, giving flavours, adjust sweetness, increase or decrease the tannin levels, or vary the alcohol content in the wine.
The difference between single varietal wines(made up of single grape variety) and blends is that single varietal wines tend to be more specific in flavours whereas the blends tend to be more rounded and complex.
Blending can differ in accordance to time it is done –
- In Field blending, the grapes varieties that need to be blended are grown, harvested, fermented as well as bottled together.
- Another type of blending is to co-ferment the grapes together.
- There is a third kind of blending which is performed once the fermentation process is completed.
World Famous Blends
One of the most famous blends is from Bordeaux, France. The base grape variety used in this blend is Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot along with Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (comparatively less in percentage)
GSM is another popular blend. Originated in the south of France. It comprises of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre as the major grape varieties.
It will be a little surprising to know that Champagne is also a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Pinot Noir gives the structure whereas the Pinot Meunier the intense bouquet to the wine.
Australian Wine Blends
Maurice O’Shea pioneered wine blending in Australia with his Shiraz and Pinot Noir blends. Another important blend is Cabernet Sauvignon – Shiraz blend made popular by Max Schubert. Max was also responsible for producing two iconic wines of Australia – the Penfolds Grange and Penfolds Bin 389 inspiring some of the very popular wineries such as Hardys, Jacobs Creek, and Yalumba to come up with their own blends.
Introduction of GSM led to wineries experimenting with different grape varieties and began a wave of new blends such as Tempranillo with Touriga Nacional in McLaren Vale region, Sangiovese with Nebbiolo, Cabernet, and Shiraz in King Valley.
Going by the facts, wine has been seen to prevent heart problems. Resveratrol is the key component in the wine that help in preventing certain heart diseases. Moreover, it also help in fighting bad cholesterol.
Wine may not solve all the problems but can become the starting point for becoming more conscious, health-wise.
So, if your heart aches, no need to whine. Have some wine!:-)
The researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered the underlying mechanism on how grapes ‘breathe’.
According to the study, during the stage of ripening, the amount of oxygen present in the berries gets reduced. Oxygen profiles of different varieties of grapes like Chardonnay and Shiraz were considered in the study. This was done with the help of miniature oxygen measuring probe. Scientists blocked the oxygen supply present on the berry stem and they came across an important finding.
The small pores on the berry stem used for the exchange of oxygen were significant for the grape, blocking these pores leads to cell death within the grapes. Shiraz was found to be one grape variety where the surface area of these pores was much smaller – making it much more sensitive to temperature and at a higher risk of cell death.
Scientists now have a better understanding of how grapes ‘breathe’ and that lack of oxygen, especially during the times of ripening, leads to cell death. They also predict in time to come, if global warming continues, the increasing temperatures can affect the quality of grapes in the vineyards around the word and the overall grape production of the region.
In the movie ‘The age of Adaline’, there is a line – ‘Years, lovers and glasses of wine. These are things that should never be counted.’
Cannot agree with it less!!
Instead of counting the wine glasses, one should take into account the blessings in years gone by, the amount of love shared and the good times that came during those glasses of wine.
After reading this some would surely find the question asked beforehand – How many glasses down? – a bit irrelevant…
About Nebbiolo Grape
It is a red wine grape variety most notably found in Piedmont, Italy. Its budding time is among the fastest and takes a long time to ripen compared to other grape varieties.
Upon ageing Nebbiolo wine develops flavours and aromas of cherries, raspberries, tobacco, tar, truffles.
Total vineyard area of Nebbiolo is 5,993 hectares in the world. It is most widely grown in Piedmont region in Italy where it is spread over 457 hectares.
Nebbiolo in Australia
- The King Valley region of Victoria has the most widely grown vineyards of Nebbiolo spreading over 98 ha.
- Climatic conditions of Margaret River of Western Australia and Mornington Peninsula in Victoria such as humidity, rainfall and amount of sunlight is very similar to Langhe region of Piedmont, Italy.
- New South Wales, Clare Valley, Mudgee and Victoria’s Bendigo have good potential to become the future growing regions of Nebbiolo wines in Australia.