- The Art of Blending Wine
- Masters of Blending Wine
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It is very difficult to write about Michel Rolland (Libourne, 1947), the influential oenologist, highly respected and, therefore: controversial. Owner of several properties in Bordeaux and Argentina, he advises dozens of wineries and collaborates on product definition in more than twenty different countries: from the US to India, to also Argentina, Italy or Spain. He is the greatest emblem of the so-called “Flying winemakers”, professionals who are vilified by those who accuse them of globalizing wine taste.
However, Michel Rolland is much more than that; he took out oenologists from the lab and the winery in order to take a step; he founded together with his wife his first business, which still operates today. He went from a conservative oenology ─focused on keeping the wine “health” while quality depended on climate─ to a more modern oenology that intervenes in winegrowing and waits for the perfect grapes’ ripeness, which involves taking undeniable risks. He works on elaborations escaping from recipes and never loses sight of wine’s ultimate destination: its commercialization. He himself says that wines “are elaborated with the humble and crucial purpose of being sold”. But above all, he is a “Master in the Art of Blending”, that is to say in defining wines at the time of final coupage giving them the highest quality; it is on this last side of joiner, where Rolland is well known by his dexterity and seriousness in order to obtain the best results from heterogeneous wines: “I have made wines in twenty countries” ─he explains─ “with prices ranging from two to a thousand dollars, and there are still people who believe that I have the capacity to apply the same formula to all of them”.
Regarding the importance that Rolland confers to blending, one has only to read this article from Decanter, this other from the Napa Valley Register or this great interview in Il sole 24 hore. The sentence: “Blending is 98% art and 2% science. It is very complicated to explain” perfectly defines the spirit of an event such as “The Art of Blending Wine”, and justifies its need.