Musings on Wine
Future Wine Blends
Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre
Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc
Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cao, Touriga Francesa
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier
etc. etc. etc.
Although respnosible for some very fine wines, this list of great blends from around the world is still a relatively short one as many of the truly important wines are still defined by one major grape variety. Rioja is Tempranillo. Red Burgundy is Pinot Noir. Schloss Vollrads is Riesling. Kremstal is Gruner Veltliner. Barolo is Nebbiolo. Tuscany is Sangiovese.
While the Semillon - Chardonnay blend didn't stand the test of time, the Australians turned heads some time ago with their ingenious blend of Cabernet & Shiraz (even though these grapes were already blended together in some Provencal reds) but aside from that, what innovative blends have emerged from other corners of the wine world? Has everything been tried and there simply aren't any good new partnerships possible? Why aren't winemakers trying different combinations and if they are, why aren't we hearing about them? Pinot Noir & Gamay Noir have been blended together for ages in Burgundy as Passetoutgrains and in western Switzerland as Dole in the Valais, however these wines are hardly grabbing the headlines of the Wine Spectator or Decanter magazine. Why not?
What about Riesling - Gewurztraminer, a popular duo here in Niagara? Syrah - Merlot maybe (certainly Merlot needs something to help it become great)! Is the great Spanish white grape Albarino bound to remain the hidden gem of Galicia until we find a more famous dance partner for it? What about Viognier?
I enjoy having multiple bottles of wine open chez moi and will often blend varieties just to see what the resulting concoction will smell and taste like. There's nothing wrong with doing this is there? I recently blended some leftover Lodi Zinfandel with some leftover Douro red wine and the result was really quite nice. A little more jammy fruit and booze, but still the mineral character and structure of the Portuguese red. I'm also a fan of helping some light, sour reds that I find disappointingly mean with a little creme de framboise to give them a little more richness and sweet fruit, but that's entirely different.
Have you tried any innovative blends recently and if not, what grape varieties do you imagine blending well enough together than they could become the next big thing? Try blending some wines at home that you feel might help the overall flavour character, structure, complexity and balance. We aren't professional winemakers, but nothing is stopping us from pretending we are.