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Wines are blended for many reasons. To make a more harmonious or complex wine, wines with complementary attributes may be blended. For example, a wine with low acidity may be blended with a high-acid wine or a wine with earthy flavors may be blended with a fruity wine. To create a uniform wine from many small batches is another goal, since grapes from different vineyards, stages of the harvest and pressings are frequently vinified separately and the small batches differ slightly. Red Bordeaux offers a prime example; five different grapes may be used, each contributing its own nuances to the blend.
When a vineyard is planted to several different varieties and the grapes are harvested together to produce a single wine, the wine is called a field blend.
Denotes the smell of cedar wood associated with mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends aged in French or American oak.
Aroma frequently associated with mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends, this descriptor refers to the cedary and tobacco leaf scents associated with cigar boxes.
A blend or special lot of wine.
An invented term, used by California wineries, for Bordeaux-style red and white blended wines. Combines "merit" with "heritage." The term arose out of the need to name wines that didn't meet minimal labeling requirements for varietals (i.e., 75 percent of the named grape variety). For reds, the grapes allowed are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec; for whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Joseph Phelps Insignia and Flora Springs Trilogy are examples of wines whose blends vary each year, with no one grape dominating.
A French wine merchant who buys grapes and vinifies them, or buys wines and blends them, bottles the result under his own label and ships them. Particularly found in Burgundy. Two well-known examples are Joseph Drouhin and Louis Jadot.
A wine blended with grapes grown in more than one vintage. This allows the vintner to keep a house style from year to year. Many Champagnes and sparkling wines are non-vintage. Also, Sherry and the non-vintage Ports, the tawnies and the rubies.
Press Wine (or Pressing):
The juice extracted under pressure after pressing for white wines and after fermentation for reds. Press wine has more flavor and aroma, deeper color and often more tannins than free-run juice. Wineries often blend a portion of press wine back into the main cuvée for added backbone.
French term for blending various lots of wine before bottling, especially in Champagne.
Denotes a wine that has spent a period of time in barrels before bottling. This affects wine in numerous ways—the flavors in newly blended wines knit together, tannins in red wines soften and white wines become richer and more full-bodied. Aging in new oak barrels (barrels used for the first few times) can add aromas and flavors of vanilla, spice and smoke.
Although a standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters, or 25.4 ounces, wine bottles vary in shape, depending on regional, cultural and marketing considerations. The basic shapes identify wines by type in most parts of the world. Bordeaux-style wines (red wines made of blends relying on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc; whites made of Sauvignon Blanc and/or Sémillon) are put in Bordeaux-style bottles with straight sides and high shoulders. Burgundy’s traditional varieties (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) go into slope-shouldered Burgundy-style bottles. Aromatic wines (such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer) usually go into tall, narrow German-style bottles and sparkling wines go into thick, heavy Champagne bottles with deep punts designed to withstand the gas pressure inside.
Lower-quality blends with names like "Mountain White" that are frequently made from inexpensive varieties. New World wines using place names such as Chablis or Burgundy as generic terms have largely disappeared thanks to international trade agreements; understandably, wine producers in those places do not appreciate the use of their name on wines from other areas that may be made from different grape varieties or according to different standards.
A red Burgundy made from Pinot Noir blended with Gamay.
Sherry is a fortified wine made in Jerez, Spain, most often from the Palomino grape but also from the Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel varieties. Following fermentation, the wine is fortified with distilled wine spirit, up to the minimum strength of 15.5 percent alcohol. The fortified wine is then usually aged in oak barrels arranged in a solera system of multiple vintages, and which may include more than a hundred vintages of Sherry blended together. Sherries may be classified by their quality, age, sweetness and or alcohol contents into categories which include fino, manzanilla, amontillado, oloroso, cream, etc.