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.