All in a weekends work we were blending Whitecliff Vineyard & Winery’s 2011 Sky Island Blend.  This is their Bordeaux style blend of red wine.

We tasted each of the varietals on their own before we began the blending process.

Merlot – astringent, high tannins, earth tones and light cherry
Cabernet Sauvignon – a little green, darker in color, tannins a bit flat and hint of black cherry towards finish
Cabernet Franc – very light in color.  Cranberry, lacking a bit of fruit, high acid
50% each blend of Petit Verdot & Malbec – candied, color good, blackberry, best body.

The first blend began with base percentages that were used in the 2010 Sky Island which was 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc 32% Merlot 4% Malbec 4% Petit Verdot. The 2010 growing season was warm and the fruit was low in acid.

Blend # 1 which is the same blend as in 2010 Sky Island was lacking flavor on the front.  Was acidic and lacks body and color. Weak fruit

Blend #2 37.5% Cabernet Sauvignon 37.5% Merlot 25% Petit Verdot/Malbec.  Nose of brown sugar and some bitterness.  Flat fruit profile, tannins in the middle but fade and then come back

Blend #3 44% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Merlot 25% Petit Verdot/Malbec 6% Cabernet Franc – more structure, balanced mouth feel, pepper on the finish.  Tannins on the tip, light red fruit and some tartness.

Blend #4 42% Cabernet Sauvignon 32% Merlot 25% Petit Verdot/Malbec 1% Cabernet Franc – blueberry, cranberry, black current, smoother finish, not as harsh, spice on the finish.  Not a wine to age for a long

Now we revisited all 4 blends and these were the comments from the 9 of us on the tasting panel:

  • Blend #1 – Don’t like that
  • Blend #2 – This is wierd
  • Blend#3 – Like
  • Blend #4 – Liked the best.

So it looks like #4 is the blend.  Remember, this is a drink now wine, don’t cellar it.