There is not a better way to make wine then through the art of blending.
For some purists, it may be frowned upon, but when you break down the facts of making the perfect wine, your odds are better with a blend then a single grape varietal.
A single grape can only give you the components that it offers, whereas the blending of multiple grapes can give you the desired taste that you are looking for.
Take a very popular grape in the U.S., like the cabernet sauvignon. Cabernet, for the most part, has a very aggressive, strong flavor that can leave your mouth dry and may overpower most foods by itself.
But if you blend a softer, more approachable grape varietal with the cabernet sauvignon grape it will soften the taste of the wine. These blending methods have been used since the development of wine.
I really think French wineries are the true masters of the blend as they have been doing it for years. Some of the most expensive wines in the world are from this region and are fetching thousands of dollars per bottle in futures, which are wines that are paid for before the wine is even made. It is almost like playing the stock market. That is what the true art of the blend can bring.
There are different laws and guidelines for what you can call your wine in different parts of the world. In the U.S., we have very few guidelines to follow compared to other countries. When we make Bordeaux-style blends, we call them everything from Red Blend, Claret or Meritage or even fun names like Big House Red.
The Rhone blends from France are very nice as well and are one of the only red wines offered that will have a touch of white in them to help create a more desirable wine. There are more varietals to choose from to make a desired blend, but again, there are strict regulations on how much of one particular varietal you can use in the blend depending on what part of the Rhone Valley it is from.
The Bordeaux and Rhone blends are just a few examples I really wanted to concentrate on. They have inspired other countries and are available to us at our local stores. But there are so many examples in the entire world to choose from.
Remember to give blends a shot. They are a partnership of grapes like a marriage. Wine is alive, and these grapes are going to spend the rest of their lives together to make the world a better place. kc
Wine Niche with Vince Balistreri
• Vince Balistreri is general manager and sommelier at Niche Restaurant in Geneva. He offers his expertise in the wine industry to the Kane County community.