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Mar 8, 2011 06:00 PM

Do you ever blend wines for yourself?

I'm asking this question very very sheepishly, but does anyone ever blend their own wines?I've never done it, and I'm sure the thought might offend (disgust?) most wine aficionados, but is there ever a (dignified) way of putting two (or more) wines together? After all, there are drinks like : wine coolers, wine spritzers. sangria, kir royal, may wine, velvet hammer, punch and such that mix alcohol and wine or juice or flavorings and wine. Now , I'm not suggesting a frat house type scenario of throwing anything (and everything) into a bowl and drinking it. I'm talking about a well thought out, almost scientific matching of wines for a desired result. Any takers?

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  1. I have, at trade events. This can be a lot of fun, and can be a bit enlightening.

    Last time that I did so, was with a Beaulieu event, and we had flasks of the five Bordeaux varietals. In this case, each varietal was 100% Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Malbec. Each team was given the same flasks, and had to blend for competition.

    My team won, with a heavier blend of Cab Franc, in this instance.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      I, too, have done that -- both with BV and J. Lohr . . . .

      Normally, however, I only do it if I'm paid to. ;^)

      1. re: zin1953

        Hey, in my situations, there were 6 bottles each of Georges de Latour '85. I think that I still have two left in the cellar! Guess that qualifies as having been "paid?"

        Still, great fun, even in my group did not win.

        We missed the "grand prize" several other years, but then the "grand award" was not up to the '85 de Latour. Still would liked to have won those too.


    2. catspercapita:

      No, no, no, do NOT be sheepish about asking this! It is exactly in this that much of the art and subterfuge of wine coexists.

      A graduated cylinder and some decent bottles of single-varietal wines can be an excellent learning (and party) experience. The combinations and permutations can be a little daunting, but who cares? File it all under the heading of learning what you really like! If you get even the *remotest* hang of it, you can sometimes shock the professionals and dumbfound the cognoscenti with your acumen and insight. "Could've used a little more Petit Verdot" ... [Silence/Everyone Unsure/Knowing Smiles--what's not to like?]

      Bear in mind, though, the bottling rules of the countries of origin. You may get to the point where you think you can taste "condiment" grapes in ostensibly single-variety wines. In some cases you will be absolutely right--the vintner will sneak them in. But YOU, having blended and tasted without sheepishness, may find them out!

      1. I have been known to, in the privacy of my kitchen, to open up some dark Cabernets with a splash of sparkling wine. Not for guests but my own pleasure. This is usually done with left over wine after a dinner party. Now it is a game my husband and I play while cleaning after a party, trying a bit of this and that together. Over-amped Cabs and really dry sparklers work surpringly well together, tho at a 4-1measure tho.

        1. My wife's cousin and her husband do it all the time, usually with partial leftover quantities. I've never tried any of their efforts but they seem to enjoy it. I'm not sure why they do it but I can see mixing a particularly strong wine with something lighter and fruitier. It's not really all that different from what a lot of winemakers do. Besides............. it fits with the 'drink what you like' principle I highly recommend.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Midlife


            I am sure that over time, they have found that some varietals just do not blend well. Pinot Noir is probably the first to come to my mind, but there are others.

            On one hand, a couple thousand years of working with grapes have shown that the "Big Five" do often blend well - but... OTOH, where would be be with Super Tuscans, if everyone had just said, "hey, they are not mixing Cabs, etc., so I won't try it either."

            In all of my cases, this has been a bit of a "parlor game," but a fun, and interesting one.

            Getting nearly "pure" examples of varietals is a bit tough now, but in many of my experiences,the winery supplied the wines, so I have to just trust them...


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Bill, I'm not too sure about their palates and think they just do much of it for fun. They certainly don't approach it with a whole lot of oenological reference, but I'm sure they've developed some 'rules' over time. I'll have to ask about it next time we're together.

          2. Thanks for all the replies. I'm going to do more research and talk with my local wine store about single varietals and mixing. Cheers!

            5 Replies
            1. re: catspercapita

              Just remember what Bill said above, that wines aren't necessarily 100% single varietal unless they state that, and they don't always on the bottle. The law allows a wine to say only "Cabernet Sauvignon" on the label so long as it's 75% Cab. With most New World wines, though, you can Google the winery and look at a tech sheet that will give you the %s if they're not on the label. Old World, not so much.

              Have fun!

              1. re: catspercapita

                I brought this up not too long ago and the lack of response was so deafening I concluded that I'd done the equivalent of proposing to use India's bovine surplus as a source for Quarter pounders.

                Our idea was a little more focused, i.e. create small party atmosphere experiments blending 100% single varietal Rhones. Here in CA (if you can believe the labels) we have a great deal of access to 100% varietals, often single vineyard Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignane, Petit Sirah, and even a couple of Cinsaults. We're thinking of making a challenge of it as a contest competing for bragging rights.

                1. re: catspercapita

                  I've never gotten around to trying one, but the Fusebox kits from Crushpad always looked entertaining to me. They include single-varietal wines, a cylinder, and a little blending guide.


                  I see them offered for sale on occasionally.

                  1. re: bayareabeagle

                    Thanks. That site looks very interesting.

                    1. re: catspercapita

                      I have numerous wines that do not suit my style, bought without due diligence. Instead of pouring them doen the sink, I will take an over oaked wine and blend with a flabby one. The sum is greater than the parts, and a drinkable wine usually results. Now a good premium wine should not need this treatment. I'm talking about wines that are too young and raw or over the hill and have lost their fruit, acid or tannins.