It's one of our favorite times of year again at (c)3-Blending! If you're unfamiliar with how the term pertains to wine, you're not alone & I've been there! Blending is the process of adding different varietals (types of grapes) to one wine to add complexity + depth to the final product. Most wines you taste are a blend; even if it doesn't say 'red blend' on the label. For a wine label to state a particular varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, etc.), only 75% of the grapes in that bottle must be that varietal (More details on this here). This creates a fun opportunity for each winemaker & brand to craft a very unique and individual wine. Hence, a large reason why two neighboring vineyards can create Merlot's that taste completely different. Of course there are many other factors as well, including but not limited to, terrior (soil), harvest time, fermentation, barrel type, time spent aging, and the list goes on! Some blending varietals that (c)3 has used in composing our past vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon include Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, & Malbec. If you want to learn a little more about popular wine varietals click here!
Last Friday, we got together with our winemaker, Patrick, to blend (c)3's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Our CS has been aging for nearly two years! Blending it with other varietals is a trial-&-error method that's used widely in the wine making world. Ultimately, we're looking for the 'right feel' on our palate. Wine can be subjective & there's no perfect formula to duplicate year after year. With Patrick's guidance we can adjust the oaky-ness, finish, shape, acidity, nose/smell, etc. For the 2014 CS we added Petit Verdot to lengthen the finish & help round out the shape. To add interest to the mid-palate, we blend in either Merlot or Malbec; they have similar qualities, but this year we felt Malbec gave us more of what we were looking for! Lastly, I love the smell of our Cabernet Franc varietal, but we use this sparingly as too much would cause our CS to be more mellow than we prefer. Once the wine has been blended it goes back into barrels for several more months to allow the wine to take on the characteristics we want.
Here's how the 2014 CS blended:
94% Cabernet Sauvignon
3.5% Petit Verdot
.5% Cabernet Franc
Post blending celebration at FARM in Carneros