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Fusebox blending kit - anyone tried it?

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Has anyone tried the Fusebox wine blending and tasting kit from Crushpad Wine? What did you think? Was it worth the $120?

I'm looking for ideas for my wine-tasting group. This review made it sound like Fusebox could be fun:
http://www.goodgrape.com/index.php/ar...

But it's a bit pricy - it works out to $40 a bottle (750 ml size) - especially since I would need two kits.

Would we be better off getting a bottle each of of 100%-pure Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, and creating our own blending and tasting kit ourselves? (Would I even be able to find 100% Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot on my own?)

Thanks,
Anne

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  1. Anne,

    Let me start by saying I haven't tried it.

    Next let me say that you *can* certainly find 100 percent varieties on their own, but . . . you will need to read back labels carefully, and/or contact various wineries to make sure. Combine this with the fact that you will be confronted with wines from as many of five different wineries, made in five different styles, from five different parts of the world, and you just may be better off with the Fusebox -- and I NEVER recommend things like this!

    Check out http://www.fuseboxwine.com/ and you can download the manual at http://www.fuseboxwine.com/manual.pdf

    At least this way, they will all be from Napa Valley, and (hopefully) made by the same winemaker, and in a similar style -- thereby eliminating as many of the variables as possible.

    1. I'm with Jason on this one. First, I have not tried it. However, I have won a few blending contests, usually done for the trade with the standard 100% Bdx. varietals, BV and Phelps.

      It IS great fun, and I hope to do something like this for the local chapter of the IW&FS. Regardless of whether you come up with the next Ch. Latour, Georges de Latour or Insignia, it's about the fun.

      Whether the mentioned "kit" is a good buy - well, I cannot speak.

      Now, for me, the best blend of a CNdP would be a trick and fun to try, with ALL possible varitals...

      Let us know how it goes with the kit. "Fusebox," odd name, that does not conjure up my ideal of wines, but then I'm probably too old to fit their demographic. Why not name it "iBox?"

      Hunt

      1. My belated thanks for the tips and advice.

        I'm still wavering because of the price (my group is a frugal bunch) and because I'm not sure I can buy this kit locally. (Mail-order is iffy because of my state's laws - MN is a danged prohibition-era hold-over; grrr!). But I'm heading to Chicago next month, so I might pick up two kits down there. Or I might decide to spend my days searching for 100% varietals...

        Thanks,
        Anne

        4 Replies
        1. re: AnneInMpls

          I wouldn't order Fusebox. By the time you'd pay shipping, you could have purchased the single stand-alone varietals.

          I'd buy two bottles of Cab, two bottles Merlot, one bottle Cab Franc, one Malbec, and one bottle OR one half-bottle of Petit Verdot. You'll only need a teeny amount of Malbec and Petit Verdot -- remember it's only 1-3% of the final blend of Bordeaux or Cabernet blends. The Petit Verdot will be the hardest to find.

          but wait...it's at Surdyck's -- it's a Pirramimma. I found PV in Mpls pretty easily with some Google clicks. Othe producers (not vouching for quality): De Bartoli, Wyatt, Tomasello, White Hall Vineyards, Casale Del Giglio -- well, you'll find it.
          And if you can't use it all, it makes lovely sorbet.

          Then, download the Fusebox manual from
          http://www.fuseboxwine.com/manual.pdf
          and the video (from the site or Youtube), or other wine-blending videos.

          Get some notes on blending you can copy and pass out to the fellow blenders, and give them a blank sheet so they can take notes on how much of each wine they add to their blend. Before the guests arrive, borrow or purchase one plastic beaker or cylinder that has graduated markings on it, and measure out the wine using the instructions. You may want to get some eyedroppers but they aren't necessary. Each blender will need 6 glasses, one for each of the five separate varietals and one blending glass.

          Go for it! And have lots of fun! You may or may want to have a contest, like the manual says. But taste each wine first and perhaps discuss, before blending.

          1. re: maria lorraine

            Wow, thanks, Maria - especially for checking the stock at our local wine stores! (I live a few miles from Surdyk's, so I'm there often.)

            If there were fewer of us, and if I had access to a car in Chicago, I'd probably still go for the kit. But I'll travelling by train/cab/foot, and we'd need two or three kits (at $120 each...), so it'd be heavy as well as expensive stuff.

            So I'll try to put together a home-grown kit. But I gotta give Fusebox full props for a great idea!

            Thanks,
            Anne

            1. re: AnneInMpls

              Believe me, it's not Fusebox's idea. That idea has been around a long, long time. They just put it in a box and gave it a catchy name, probably after what the bottles of wine look like when you look down on them from the top of the box (see product visual) -- like round fuses in a, well, you know.

            2. re: maria lorraine

              ML, or should it be ml, I am with you. I seek out producers, like Cline, who do 100% (or nearly so) varietals, and taste these.

              A fun evening is to take the Bdx. varietals, and hand out a btl. per team. Let them blend and then do a taste off (blind) of the results.

              Hunt