I’m Mari Kane and I’m here to tell you about Wine Blending at Home.
Now before you scoff about heresy, just think of all the wines you’ve drunk that you were not satisfied with. Now, think of how many of those duds you could have improved by mixing them with another wine. You bought that bottle, it’s yours to tamper with.
Becoming a mad scientist with wine is a great way to express your inner winemaker.
So, besides having fun, what are the reasons for blending your wine?
- To enhance aromas
- To add flavors
- To increase body and texture
- To adjust acidity or alcohol or tannins
- To moderate the sweetness of a wine
In simple terms, wine blending is a game of addition, where you just keep adding.
Blending can turn a mediocre wine into a drinkable one. Let’s say you have a merlot that’s hard and dry and tastes like a piece of wood. Just throw in some zippy zinfandel or snazzy sangiovese to fruity it up and make it lively.
Or, if you’ve pulled an old wine out of your cellar and it’s a little over the hill, you can always add a young wine to give it a bit of youth and put a little spring in its sip. Go ahead, mask that oxidization with lively tannins and acidity.
One of my favorite tricks is adding a white wine to a red, like a fruity viognier with a tannic shiraz, which is in the finest tradition of the Hermitage. The white will lift the fruit of the red and make it more approachable.
Wine blending at home can also make a good wine even better. Think of those expensive Meritage wines. You can make your own by blending some cab sauvignon, cab franc, merlot, malbec or petite verdot. You’ll have a Meritage at a fraction of the price!
While you’re at it, create a nice Cote du Rhone by blending some syrah, morvedre, and granache. Why not? Why should winemakers have all the fun? You can too!
Or try creating a Super Tuscan by throwing together some sangiovese, cab sauvignon and merlot. Who’s stopping you? The wine police?
Or how about a nice Alsacian blend of pinot gris, pinot blanc, riesling, gewürtztraminer, or muscat. No wine is an island unto itself, so why not blend ‘em?
Got a tempranillo? Add some garnacha to make yourself a nice Rioja tinto blend. It’s your wine – do what you want with it.
Or if you like rosé, add some red wine to a crisp white. No one will accuse you of cheating.
Wine blending at home is a fun drinking game where you can play with your wine to see what tastes better with the food.
Want to go old school with your zinfandel? Add some petite syrah or carignan to create a rustic California jug wine. When it comes to blending, the only thing stopping you is your imagination.
And if you have short bottles left over from last night’s party, pour them together and save them for another day. Why not? Think of the surprise when you taste them again. Remember: Wines just wanna have fun, so mix ‘em up!
The only wine that I find does not blend so well is chardonnay. Oaky chards, in particular, do not play well with other wines. Unless it’s a steely Chablis, don’t bother. But, almost every other wine is fair game for blending.
When is not a good time or place to blend your wine?
Maybe at a winemaker dinner or in a tasting room it’s not such a good idea to play with the wine. That might really piss someone off.
Or, if your host or guest presents their favorite bottle to you like it’s a gift from god, you just might want to repress your urge to blend it. The least you can do is wait until they’re not looking.
Otherwise, go ahead and be a mad scientist with wine. Have fun, mix it up, because why not? It’s your wine now.
The preceding was an Ignite presentation I gave the Wine Bloggers Conference in Portland, OR, Aug 19. View the video here