Blend of the Week: Malbec/Bonarda/Syrah + Vinho Verde

Last time, here at Blend of the Week, I mentioned a wine I was hoping to blend into drinkability, called Extravaganza. Now, I’m hear to say that success was mine thanks to the cat!

The Wines

Extravaganza 2012 Red Blend is produced by the mostly-reliable Trapiche Winery in Mendoza, Argentina. It’s a blend of Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah and the label calls it an “exuberant combination…displaying fresh aromas of red and black fruits….fruity and juicy with a refreshing finish.”

The only truth there is that it tastes like red and black fruit, which is more burnt than fresh. This wine is anything but exuberant, fresh or refreshing and it is juicy only in a cough syrupy way. I don’t know why I bought it other than it was new to the LBS and I happen to like blends.

But as soon as I opened Extravaganza I knew it was a loser. A textbook example of a fruit bomb. The aforementioned fruit is so sweet it could be considered a dessert wine. The body is gargantuan with broad shoulders and thick flabs around its waistline. Worse, its lack of acidity makes it quite unfriendly to savory food. The only thing this wine pairs with is chocolate, but the time it would take to wash it down with dessert every night would render the bottle oxidized. I spent $15 bucks on this puppy that I didn’t want to be wasted. This red blend begged for more blending.

Enter Gatão, a delicate non-vintage Vinho Verde from Portugal that is so light on its feet as to be feline. Gatão is fresh, zesty, and almost frizzante. It’s full of summery fruit flavors like peaches, lemon, lime and pineapple. Gatão is a natural to pair with seafood, sushi or spicy Asian or Mexican. Best of all, its alcohol is super low, weighing in at just 9%. A perfect white wine for diluting a monster.

The Blend

Adding 1 part Gatão to 2 parts Extravaganza lessened the weight of the red and gave it some acidity to match with real food. In a vulgar way, the Gatão gave the Extravaganza a kind of elegance the winemakers failed to create. It made the final blend more round, approachable and, as the Extravaganza label described, refreshing.

So there you go. Another case of a white wine saving a red wine from going down the drain. Hopefully, future bottlings of Extravaganza will be made with more restraint. The Gatão should not change a thing. Nice kitty.

Extravaganza 2012 Red Blend has 13.5% alcohol and sells at Liquor Board Stores for $15.99.
Gatão contains 9% alcohol and is available at Liquor Board Stores for $10.99

Mari Kane

Mari is a writer, blogger and WordPress consultant, living in Vancouver, BC, the most wine-soaked town north of the 49th Parallel. She also blogs about WordPress web design at Blogsite Studio.com. Follow her on Twitter or Google Plus.