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Varietal wines versus blended wines

20 & 21 November 2017

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HomeMasterclass The Art of Blending WineVarietal wines versus blended wines

Varietal wines versus blended wines

Nov 2018

Within such a rich and varied world of wine, tendencies come and go, the classics return; innovative, technological or “natural” wines emerge, and wines from a singular vineyard appear… And the controversies also arise, which are not always positive but encourage and stimulate producers, influencers and consumers. 

One of the most classical polemics is the comparison between varietal wines and coupages; however, if the different laws permit a certain percentage of diverse varieties other than the primary variety, the controversy could be wrapped up. But better still, many quality “varietal” wines derive from various parcels of land, from various clones; in essence they come from different origins and with a different primary material. It is also understandable that the oenologist applies to such wines diverse ways of winemaking because grapes are not homogeneous and, therefore, the oenologist must lead them towards the maximum quality sought-after.  

Having finished the wines —and being always of the same variety— the selection and ageing preparation process comes. As part of the ageing process, there are different barrels —the type and origin of the oak, the toasting level—, therefore the number of alternatives available when deciding which wine will be bottled can be as extensive as one wants. Nobody thinks about blending wines without knowing what is going to be the final outcome, consequently there are two unavoidable tasks: selection and blending.  

All this is perfectly summed up in the back label of the Marimar State’s Pinot Noir that derives from a singular vineyard: 

“Named after my daughter, Cristina, this wine is a special barrel selection from a unique blend of our Pinot Noir clones that we feel best represent the terroir, or personality, of the Don Miguel Vineyard and show the most potential for aging” 

To conclude: it is a false controversy. Natural wines also need “The Art of Blending Wine”. 

Javier Escobar de la Torre"> Javier Escobar de la Torre
Javier Escobar de la Torre has a degree in Chemistry and winemaking consultant. Since 1987 he has worked in important wineries and groups in Rioja, Navarra, La Mancha ... He is regular collaborator in "El Correo del Vino" and writes in two personal blogs "Gestión Enológica" and "Cata a Sordas". He is also "The Art of Blending Wine” coordinator.
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