ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

Why are the wines from the Bordeaux region typically blended?

—Darlene, Silverhill, Ala.

Dear Darlene,

Will you accept the answer that it’s just simply the way it’s always been done? As far back as we can tell, the region has always specialized in wines made from a blend of grapes. These days the reds are made from a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot grapes, though it’s thought that Syrah from the Rhône was also used in the early days, and Malbec used to be a player. Bordeaux-style whites are blended from Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.

Blending grapes together gives a winemaker an opportunity to create a complex, balanced end product, and with some flexibility in creating it. But there are other expressions of wine, including single-varietal bottlings and single-vineyard expressions. No one way is superior, but in the case of Bordeaux, tradition rules.

—Dr. Vinny


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