It's all about the blend bien sûr!

This past Saturday I took a trip out to wine country with my favourite social wine club in Toronto: iYellow Wine Club. We had such a wonderful day tasting and learning. The common theme for the day was the art of blending and how winemakers are taking this traditional "old world" method and applying it to their wine. Here in the new world (ie. Canada, USA, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Argentina etc), the focus has been more on showcasing the single varietals. Walking through the wine shop, I'm sure you see many bottles with just the grape names on the label such as "Merlot" or "Chardonnay". Throughout the day, people were always refering to the Bordeaux region as a wonderful example of blended wine.

This week is the third in the four part Bordeaux After Work party series. This series is to demonstrate the great diversity of the Bordeaux wine region. This event is a great way to taste various examples of wine coming from the region at excellent price point values. The is a great resource of information. It has everything you need to learn about the region, people and of course, the wine.

Youmna Asseily, vineyard owner from Chateau Biac from Bordeaux Wine on Vimeo.

Bordeaux wine is all about the blend. The philosophy is that the sum is greater than all the parts individually. Kind of like a great night in a club - it's better when there are more people on the dancefloor. Who wants to have a party by themselves? Well, it depends I suppose...on what wine is to be opened!

The last few Vintages publications released by the LCBO talked a lot about Bordeaux. Usually when people say "Bordeaux blend", they're talking about the three major grapes in the finished wine - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc (sometimes Malbec and Petit Verdot are added as more junior partners). For white wine, the blends are mostly made with the Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

So why blend?
Sometimes the single variety on its own is too much one way (too ripe? not ripe enough?). You can add other varieties to round off the wine so it's balanced and/or more interesting. Each year, the percentages of what varieties are used to make up the final blend are different so you don't get the same wine. It's really an art form...and a bit of mad science!

"Cabernet Sauvignon may make a popular full-bodied wine, but needs fresh fruit to round out the whole. Merlot is softwer and lighter, but unlike Cab Sauvignon, it has a full and generous middle. The result is a wine with greater balance and, from top producers, impressive ageing potential" - Vintages (Sept 3 2011 release)

Come out to the next event at Eight Wine Bar on September 20th. There's a new concept where the wines are $5 by the glass (great deal!) and gourmet food platters are $10.

Sign up for the event on Facebook here: