Vinomaker has declared this Friday a bottling day in Vinoland. With that in mind, we sat down this afternoon and barrel sampled our '07 vintage, attempting to identify blending possibilities.
Blending can be a very under estimated part of the whole wine process. Most wines are a blend as, generally, a small addition of a different varietal may enhance the finished wine experience. In the United States, any wine need only be 75% of a varietal to call it by that single varietal on the label.
On the flip side, it is common knowledge, and common sense, that you should "never blend a loser." Blending in an inferior wine would bring down the quality of an entire batch, resulting in a finished wine diametrically opposed to your original goal. Of course, I'm not a winemaker...Vinomaker just told me to say that!
We will be bottling two different batches of a Sonoma Valley Syrah, clone 877. The grapes are from a grower who wishes to have wine made from his vineyard, but does not have the wherewithal to make that happen himself.
Vinomaker fermented the Syrah with two different yeasts; ICV-D21 and ICV-D254 (both Saccharomyces cerevisae.) ICV-D21 is a yeast strain isolated from the Languedoc, and ICV-D254 a strain isolated from Rhone Valley Syrah fermentations. The two finished wines were very noticeably different from each other. The D21 exhibited in your face pepper and perfume with an extraordinarily long finish. The D254 showed as big, intense, ripe fruit with a full, mid-palate cherry bomb and slightly higher acidity.
These two very dissimilar batches of Syrah will be bottled without blending, their winning differences too good, and too interesting, to dilute their allure by blending them with anything else, or each other for that matter.
Never blend a loser...words to live, and drink, by.