A few months ago I had the opportunity to take part in a wine blending trial at Whitecliff Vineyards. There were 8 of us involved in this experiment. I say experiment because that is what it is. This is how winemaker decides how much of what, to blend together to make a wonderful bottle of wine. Blending is done for both red and white wines, but is more predominant in reds.

When I first entered the room, the amount of wine glasses took me by surprise, but then realized each glass represented a blend. Today we were blending what is going to be Whitecliff’s Sky Island.

We ended up blending 6 different varieties all which make up a Bordeaux Blend. All varieties had the following wine in different proportions.

  • Cabernet Franc
  • Merlot
  • Malbec / Petit Verdot*
  • Cabernet Sauvignon

The Malbec Petit Verdot was a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Petit Verdot that was put in the same barrel together. Below represents the percentage of each grape that is in the glass.

Blend # Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Fran, Malbec/Petit Verdo, Merlot

1 35 18 19 19

2 44 21 8 21

3 50 21 8 32

4 52 8 8 32

5 37 6 35 23

6 52 0 8 40

All blends tasted different and what was very strange is #1 I didn’t like at all at the first try. However, as it opened and was re-tasted, it tasted and smelled like candy to me. Something from my childhood. It was very strange. It is very interesting how the different proportions really affect the taste of the wine. Not only the taste, the bouquet, and the after taste, which are all very important factors in choosing a wine.

My question to all of you is: What blend do you think is the winner and will be bottled later this year?