Obviously, the ploy was successful and us American wine lovers have been raised believing that we should drink a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or god forbid, a Merlot!! Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with these individual varietals and I’m not suggesting that varietal specific wines aren’t great. Many are, but so are many blends.
What I’m really trying to say is that most wines can be improved by blending and more than that, your favoriet Cab Sav may have been spiced up with something else. Many varietally specific-labeled wines contain other varietals in them. In the U.S., a wine only needs to have 75% of the varietal in the bottle to be labeled with the varietal name. The other 25% can be whatever the winemaker wants, and they don’t even have to tell you this (even though most usually do…on that back label in small print that most people don’t read).
But this isn’t really the point I’m trying to make either. The fact of the matter is, many great wines are blends, and blends deserve their place in the limelight or on the wine store shelf. The problem is most people don’t know where to put them or how to explore them so they simply ignore them.
The wine industry and thus, wine lovers like their classifications, ratings and labels, and like them to fit neatly in their well-defined box. Rarely do you find a class, judging category or cellar label for a Cab-Syrah blend. Therefore, many people perceive and treat such blends as unplanned – perhaps accidental – misfits. But blended wines – once the red-headed step children of the American wine industry – are coming into vogue. Blended wines are increasing in popularity from both the winery and consumer side, and Paso Robles – thought by some as somewhat of a rogue wine industry – is proudly leading the charge.
If you’re interested in learning more about how and why wines are blended, the history of wine blending or other interesting tidbits about this fun and artistic part of the winemaking process, you would enjoy a First Crush Art of Blending Wine seminar. At these classes, I discuss these things – and more, then let you play winemaker for a few hours. We give you the instruction, tools and opportunity to create your own custom blend using our premium, Paso Robles wine varietals.
So regardless of whether you beg the question “to blend or not to blend,” if you love wine, you would love a First Crush blending workshop. Register online or give us a call at (805) 434-2772 and blend to learn, blend for fun, or blend to create your own custom-labeled wine.